June 29, 2006

Powered Up: Wideouts need a chance

Over the last two weeks, we've told you what we think Missouri needs to get from its quarterback and running backs. As we go to wide receiver, it's a little different twist. Instead of what they can get from their wideouts, this season is more about what the Tigers can give to the receivers.

In the interest of full disclosure, if you're one of those that thinks it is out of the question to even consider saying Brad Smith ever did anything wrong, do yourself a favor and stop reading.

Still with me? Here we go.

The Missouri Tigers haven't had a receiver you would consider a go-to-guy since Justin Gage left school. Sean Coffey tried, but he couldn't stay healthy. Since Gage set the school record for receptions (in three years), no Tiger wideout has caught as many as 50 passes. That includes one season in which Mizzou played 13 games.

A lack of production? Yes. Do the receivers deserve some blame for that? You bet. But so does the system in which they played.

After the Black and Gold game, I had a couple of players tell me, in so many words, that there were times receivers gave up on routes because they simply knew the ball wasn't coming their way. Smith was such a gifted runner that he usually took off before a receiver had a chance to really work his way open down the field.

But that wasn't the only problem. Smith just flat out missed a ton of open receivers. The Tigers got guys open a lot. They hit them very rarely.

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