A few words with… Dave Christensen

Several criticisms were aimed at the coaching staff after the Tigers' 24-14 loss at Troy. One of the more lasting barbs was hurled at coach Gary Pinkel and offensive coordinator Dave Christensen, who some felt were too rigid when Missouri fell behind. Check inside for Christensen's thoughts on the offense and what he expects to see against Ball State.

When you have a talent like junior QB Brad Smith on your side, any offense you run can look golden.

Struggles will come from time to time, of course, particularly against talented defenses and athletic linebackers able to put the clamps on Smith's running ability. Troy did not fit either description but still turned the trick against the Tigers, upsetting them 24-14 last Thursday and knocking the Tigers out of the national spotlight.

Trailing the entire second half, Missouri became heavily pass-oriented, usually a necessity when trailing. Still, Missouri's best weapon is the running game, which was mostly ineffective against Troy. Read on for offensive coordinator Dave Christensen's thoughts on his team fared against the Trojans, including what he expects the Tigers to take out of the loss.

On becoming more pass-oriented in the second half against Troy: "When you're down, you gotta throw to move the ball quicker and score. Certainly, we didn't abandon the run game. When you get some penalties, you're not gonna run the ball in those situations. If we didn't put ourselves in bad situations, the play calling is a little different. But when you're first-and-15, the playbook narrows down a little bit."

If missed opportunities against Troy affected the offense: "No question. We had the ball down inside the 25 off the one turnover and in three plays failed to move the ball. It was devastating."

If a change in the Trojan defense brought about the offense's struggle: "No. Absolutely not. The difference in that game was not what Troy did. The difference in that game was our lack of execution and the mistakes that we made."

On issues on the offensive line: "We had some young guys that struggled. It's tough enough to make 10 yards in three downs; when you gotta make 15, it makes it even that much more difficult. We just didn't execute…Those young kids, like I said, they struggled somewhat. I think they're gonna be as good an offensive line as we've had at Missouri. We just gotta coach them hard every single game."

On frustration affecting the offense: "Any time you run three plays and out, you're frustrated. Hell, I'm frustrated every time we don't get a first down. But that's my job, to get it straightened out."

On remembering mistakes from the Troy game: "I don't know if it's important to remember, but it's important to learn from them. We correct every single play. Every mistake that is made has been corrected. The bottom line to me is we need to score more points than our opponents. We didn't get that done."

On moving on and focusing on Ball State: "That's the great thing about football: a week later, you gotta play again. You can't focus or dwell on the past; you gotta focus on the future because that's what everything is riding on."


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