With the 2008 Missouri football season in the books, InsideMizzou will take the next few weeks to break down what Missouri fans have to look forward to in 2009. Today we start with the quarterback position:
Three years ago Chase Daniel took over the reigns of the Mizzou offense from one of the most electrifying quarterbacks in Missouri history. He promptly went out and raised the bar. Daniel rewrote the Missouri record books en route to leading the Tigers to 30 wins, two Big XII North titles and a number four ranking to end the 2007 season. Daniel will not be an easy act to follow, but there will be three anxious competitors vying for that opportunity.
Heading into spring ball, Sophomore Blaine Gabbert would seem to have the upper hand given the experience he gained this year. Gabbert also drew rave reviews from coaches and players alike as he showcased his abilities and knowledge of the offense during practices leading up to the Alamo Bowl.
While the starter's role seems Gabbert's to lose, the more interesting battle might be for number-two on the depth chart. Dalton comes to Missouri with a lot of fanfare being the local product who led Blue Springs South to two state championship games and one state title. Dalton also endeared himself to Mizzou fans by ending his recruitment before it ever really began.
During his senior season, Dalton and a stout defense carried Blue Springs South High School to its second state championship game in three years. Throughout the season, Dalton did not put up the passing numbers many expected, but he took over numerous games with his legs. It was because of those great efforts that Dalton was awarded the Simone Award as Kansas City's best football player.
Glaser on the other hand is a bit of an unknown to many Missouri fans. Glaser had a terrific career at Springdale High School where he ran an offense very similar to the attack Missouri employs. He has a strong arm and is a better runner than many give him credit for.
While it is near blasphemous to say, Glaser reminds me a bit of Chase Daniel when he came out of high school. He lacks the ideal height many programs look for and therefore was not highly recruited despite late interest from Auburn. Glaser has also spent years in an offense almost identical to Missouri's, much the same way Daniel did. Finally, Glaser makes quick decisions and is deceptively mobile when he breaks the pocket.
Then there is the wild card in the whole quarterback situation, Jimmy Costello. Coach Pinkel recently mentioned that the walk-on had played well enough to possibly earn a scholarship heading into the 2009 season. If Costello can show enough to earn the back-up spot, that would allow Coach Pinkel's staff to red-shirt both of the incoming freshman and separate them by two years from Gabbert.
InsideMizzou's Prediction: Gabbert earns the starter's role and the back-up spot comes down to a battle between Costello and Glaser with Dalton taking a bit more time to adapt to his new offense. With Pinkel's credo that the best player will play, I think there's a bit of a surprise and Glaser earns the number-two slot.
Publisher Note: These predictions and opinions are those of the author of the story. We will do an in-depth post spring camp analysis of all the positions at a later date. This is an early look at the possibilities.