Where Does Missouri Football Go in 2013?

By Dan Irwin
Missouri Tigers
Dak Dillon – USA Today Sports

It was a lackluster season for the Missouri Tigers‘ football squad in their 2012 campaign. There wasn’t a lot of expectation for the team to win the SEC or to do anything overly spectacular, but Mizzou may have just as easily had a losing season in the Big 12 this year as well.

Offensive production was terrible. Play selection was awful. The quarterback position was inconsistent. The offensive line was destroyed by injuries. Whatever reason you want to choose to explain the downfall of the Tigers in 2012–and maybe not even one on that list–you’re sure to find plenty of others who are willing to go right along with you.

But, as you’ve heard before there’s no crying over spilled milk. Fans need to forget about the past and begin looking forward to the new era of Missouri football, a more established SEC team that may take a new offensive direction.

Offensive coordinator David Yost resigned early in the week after he had informed head coach Gary Pinkel that he wanted to leave the previous week. Pinkel then told him to think about it, Yost did and he’s gone with personal reasons as the explanation.

There’s been an outpouring of support both among current and former players to promote within and have the current wide receivers coach Andy Hill take the play-calling position. The MU Board of Curators wants to examine all possible options, but it’s not unreasonable to think that Hill will be an option, especially if Pinkel has control over this situation–which I’m sure he does.

Another issue that would create, however, is the need for a new wide receivers coach, so Missouri will have to hire from outside before it’s all said and done.

And what about the team? Gone is Mizzou’s leading tackler Sheldon Richardson and hard-hitting players like Brad Madison and Zaviar Gooden. Kip Edwards and Missouri wideout T.J. Moe are also gone.

But here’s a list of guys who are returning in 2013: E.J. Gaines, Henry Josey, Marcus Lucas, Kony Ealy and Andrew Wilson, among others. Not to mention next season quarterback Maty Mauk will be eligible to play. Mauk comes in extremely decorated as a two-time Gatorade High School Player of the Year in Ohio. His career passing yards–18,932–was a new American high school record.

There’s no doubt that there will be some serious quarterback competition this spring. Current quarterback James Franklin will be feeling the heat because he’s underperformed with overthrown passes cited as his main criticism. On top of Mauk and Corbin Berkstresser, there will be incoming true freshmen Trent Hosick and Eddie Printz to compete with as well.

The star of the 2013 class is Chase Abbington. He could be put into the X-slot where Moe was and complement a Dorial Green-Beckham very well on the outside.

Inside, if Mizzou can get all of their offensive linemen healthy for the start of the season, they will be an effective unit. Losing Elvis Fisher will be tough, but the team already dealt with several instances of him being gone in the 2012 season.

The defense will still have some very hard hitters. With Richardson leaving early, it will give someone else a chance to rise. There were tons of questions about the Missouri defense at the beginning of this past season, and the Tigers showed that they were up to the challenge of keeping pace in the SEC.

So as for now, with what we know, things are certainly not gloomy for the future of the team. Here’s the way the 2013 schedule shakes out so far for Mizzou. There are three spots that say “Future game or open date,” but only one of them will be filled with a game. Just remember, it’s not finished yet.

Dan Irwin is a sports writer for Rant Sports.  Follow him on Twitter @ danirwin_rant or on Facebook at “facebook.com/danirwin.sports“.

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