Enough of the bye weeks, let's play football!

The Tigers had two long weeks to lick their wounds after the Bowling Green loss. The question remains: Was the bye week an opportunity for Mizzou to regroup and focus on the rest of the season, or was it just a Saturday without a game?

There are certainly differing schools of thought on bye weeks and whether they are advantageous or not.  If your team is hot, they almost certainly can be a momentum killer.  If your team is cold, it can give a mid-season opportunity to work on fundamentals instead of drilling on the next gameplan.

With the up-and-down season the Missouri Tigers have had so far, this bye week probably came at just the right time.

Mizzou returned from the surreal roadtrip to Bowling Green realizing that they weren't prepared at some level for the no-huddle employed by the Falcons, nor the spread offense.  The Tigers defense looked out of synch all day, not knowing whether they should be attacking or laying back.

Taking some time to learn some lessons from the Bowling Green game will pay dividends when road games against Iowa State and Texas Tech roll around.

However, the Tigers must shift gears and prepare for a Troy State team that gave Nebraska all it wanted earlier in the year up in Lincoln.

Troy State loves to run the ball, and will try to power the ball right at Missouri.  Remember the first half of the Ball State game?  I look for a similar type of attack from Troy State.

How Missouri responds to this attack will be telling.  The typical method for stopping power running attacks is to put eight men in the box and bring your corners up on their wide receivers. 

The 4-4 gives Missouri options in their stunt and blitz package that Troy State hasn't seen this season.  For Missouri to be effective defensively, Antoine Duncan, R.J. Jones and the other cornerbacks will have to play flawlessly on the outside and let the eight interior defenders force plenty of third-and-longs.

On offense, Missouri needs to establish Abron early and the offensive line needs to set the tone.  An effective Tiger rushing attack will open up Justin Gage and Thompson Omboga, as well as MU's other receivers, and it will give Brad Smith room to breath and create.

Perhaps most important this saturday is what attitude will Mizzou bring to the party?  Will this be the rough-and-tumble aggressive, passionate Missouri team that beat up Illinois in St. Louis, or will it be the lifeless, dispassionate team from the first half of the Ball State game?

Make no mistake about it, Troy State is good enough to be Missouri in Columbia.  However, if Mizzou comes ready to play and executes at a reasonable level, the Tigers should emerge 3-1.


Black & Gold Illustrated Top Stories