Scouting the Missouri Tigers: Five Questions Answered by Mizzou Sports Talk
The Auburn Tigers host the Missouri Tigers for the SEC opener this Saturday at Jordan Hare Stadium.
After a hectic week on the Plains, we’re finally finding our way back to football after Auburn looked terrible at home for a Penn State Nittany Lions team a week ago.
Missouri is certainly a beatable opponent, but Auburn is dealing with even more questions at the quarterback position after reports TJ Finley will be absent at least this week and Zach Calzada is likely to miss the rest of the season after opting out for a procedure decided and pursued a medical red shirt.
We spoke to Matt Galatzan, editor of Mizzou Sports Talk, about Saturday’s competition.
What’s the biggest story for Mizzou in her game against Auburn?
Missouri must prove they can compete against a Power 5 team. They looked good, albeit very flawed, in their games against Abilene Christian and Louisiana Tech. But against Kansas State, they seemed absolutely lost on both sides of the ball and got blown out as a result. So in the first SEC matchup of the season, fans will want to see the adjustments that have been made since that embarrassment. If they do the same thing against Auburn, it’s going to be a long season for Eli Drinkwitz.
Auburn’s pass rush took a step back against Penn State. Who do you see the Mizzou offensive line performing against them?
Missouri’s offensive line was hit or miss very well, and they won’t present the same challenge that Penn State had for Auburn. I expect Auburn can put pressure on Brady Cook in the passing game and keep Mizzou’s running game in check. Missouri needs to find a way to get the ball quickly into the hands of their playmakers at the receiver to avoid negative plays.
How do you think QB Brady Cook has been so far this season?
Brady Cook was… well? He knows the system and was efficient in week 1 and week 3. In Week 2 against a Power 5 opponent, he wasn’t. That had a lot to do with the pressure Kansas State was putting on him, but he also struggled a bit with the speed of the Wildcats defense. Personally, I think it’s inevitable that true freshman Sam Horn will get a chance sometime this season. He has the best arm talent on the team and is the future of the program. Given the facts of the case, there is no reason not to give him a chance.
How do you think Auburn will proceed for Luther Burden?
Luther Burden is an enormous talent. Luckily for Auburn, Missouri seems to have no idea how to get him the ball. He has 10 catches in three games – six of them against Abilene Christian. He had one catch against Kansas State and three for just 17 yards against Louisiana Tech. Yes, they included him in the running game a bit (seven rushes for 40 yards in three games). He’s also been getting involved in the punt return game since last week, although that’s been near disaster with fear of injury. None of this is Burden’s fault either, he’s just playing his part in an ill-named offence. Anyway, I think all Auburn has to do is run after Brady Cook and be physical with Burden at the line of scrimmage to throw their timing. If they do it like Kansas State did, they should be fine.
How should Auburn best attack Missouri’s defenses?
I think Auburn should use their strengths and run straight at the Mizzou defense with Tank Bigsby. That’s what Kansas State did with Deuce Vaughan and Adrian Martinez, and it worked brilliantly. Auburn has the same kind of staff to thrive against Missouri. Bryan Harsin doesn’t have to put up with it.
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