The Crimson Quarry had an opportunity to swap questions with Rock M Nation's Adam Cribbs to discuss the upcoming Showdown in B-Town. These are those questions and answers.
1. The Missouri offense is very well rounded this year, but their biggest threat comes on the ground. Is there enough in just the run game for Missouri to put up points or are they going to have get their numbers from the air as well?
Honestly, I believe this run game is good enough to control a game. The issue isn't the talent of the running backs, it's relying on the offensive line to control the line of scrimmage for four quarters. Between Henry Josey, Russell Hansbrough, and Marcus Murphy you have a stable of running backs who are all capable of taking it to the house on every play. Henry Josey is probably the back you guys are most familiar with, and he's generally our go to guy this season. Hansbrough has found himself as the second back in the lineup, and made a name for himself not only with his speed and elusiveness but his power as well. Murphy is just a weapon in every aspect of the game, and uses his skills not only running the ball but returning kicks as well. The good news is that if for some reason the running game stalls, we have a passing game with a LOT of potential as well. James Franklin is finally healthy again and if he can be anything close to what he was in 2011, he will be a star this year. We're extremely deep at wide receiver with Dorial Green-Beckham, Marcus Lucas, and L'Damian Washington being our playmakers on the outside.
2. You've got one of the top recruits in the nation from a year ago in Doral Green-Beckham. Some say that he had a disappointing freshman season, but should come around this year. You've watched him through two games, is he a legit contender for breakout player of the year or does he need one more season?
I expect him to make himself a household name this year. A lot of that is because of his quarterback, but it's also because he has apparently really matured this year. Coach Pinkel was quoted as saying "He’s a lot different player than he was coming straight out of high school. There’s not too many athletes that are running in the 4.3s (in the 40-yard dash) that are 6-6 and weigh 225 (pounds). And he’s a good kid with a good work ethic and he’s humble. You add those other ingredients with (him being) a great athlete … those kind of guys can achieve greatness."
3. To continue on the unharnessed talent topic, does Henry Josey ever come back from his bevy of injuries? Who is the biggest threat at RB this Saturday?
Josey is back. He showed Mizzou fans everywhere that his hard work to come back from the most devastating knee injury most of us have ever seen has truly paid off, and he showed it with breakaway speed, cuts to both sides of the field, and being able to take hits like any other RB. To go along with that, I think he will be our biggest threat. He will most likely get the most carries, and he has the kind of speed to break a secondary down. If he gets to the second level, it's over.
4. Let's turn to the defense, you guys have lost LB Andrew Wilson to the new targeting penalty/suspension. Was it a legit penalty and how much is it going to make a difference not having him in the first half?
This was a huge topic of disagreement among the Missouri fan base. I'll just share my personal opinion. It was not worthy of a suspension. It may have been of the 15 yard penalty variety, but because the ejection can be reviewed after the penalty is given, I think they should have revoked the ejection. Watching the play, he in no way launched himself into the defenseless player, he was just kind of in the wrong place at the wrong time and happened to hit him high. I don't think this will affect us a ton on defense this Saturday as I think our defense will spend most of the game in the nickel package to account for Indiana's passing attack.
5. Can this secondary stop the Indiana passing attack?
Stop? No way. Absolutely not. Our secondary is what I like to call "opportunistic". Aside from E.J. Gaines, who is a true shutdown corner, everything else in the defensive backfield is questionable at best. There are good athletes back there who are capable of finding their ways to the ball and may force a turnover here and there, but they will allow big plays and struggle to cover four and five receiver sets. Should make for an interesting game.
6. Let's have a little fun, what makes the state of Missouri better than Indiana? Well I don't want to bag on Indiana too much, but the only time I've been through it was during my move to Cincinnati. It was only slightly less boring than driving through Kansas, which is saying something. Missouri has quite a bit of variety from the beautiful Ozark Mountains to Kansas City/barbecue to St. Louis, and from what I saw Indiana had Indianapolis. I heard Gary is pleasant. (Ok I didn't hear that.)
7. Do you guys really give a crap about whether you have a big drum or not? If you ask me big drums are lame.
BIG MO IS A LEGEND. Ok, it's just a big drum. It's only cool because it helps lead our M-I-Z cheer and because it's hilarious to watch people try to wheel it around. I guess it's a "tradition", but I don't think our fans would lose too much sleep over losing Big MO. Maybe I'm wrong.
8. Have you bought into the whole SEC conference unity garbage or with your previous experience in the PAC 12 do your fans realize that conference opponents are supposed to revel in each other's failures?
I think Mizzou fans have embraced the SEC unity thing quite a bit actually. There were Georgia fans who said Mizzou fans were too nice when the Dawgs came to Columbia last season. Our previous experience in the BIG 12 kind of made our fans crave some sort of acceptance from our conference mates, as the hate came at us from all sides. It was OUR fault that the conferences realigned (even though Colorado and Nebraska jumped ship first, and OU, UT, Tech, and OSU were in talks with the PAC 10), kU fans are insufferable in every single way, and we just kind of felt unappreciated in every way. That being said, I think most of our fans are beginning to resent quite a few of the fan bases in the SEC the more they interact. We'll still chant "SEC! SEC" after we win a non-conference game though.
9. Finally, give me your prediction. Who wins and by how much?
This game scares me for a variety of reasons, but ultimately I think the Tigers' running game will be the saving grace. Ball control should play a huge role in a game that could be a shootout, and if Mizzou can keep it on the ground and own the clock, they should be able to walk out of Memorial Stadium with a W. I'm going to say 35-31 Mizzou, but if we struggle to run the ball, it could very easily go the other way.