I’ll rip the band-aid off immediately and then we can move forward to Saturday’s game. What exactly went wrong for Mizzou in Laramie?
It’s ok, I’m a life-long Missouri fan, sports can’t hurt me anymore. The biggest issue was our three turnovers: Kelly Bryant threw the dumbest interception in the world as we were in field goal range but the bigger two was a fumble returned for a touchdown and ANOTHER fumble that we had at the Wyoming 1 yard line that was returned to our 6-yard line that they turned into a field goal right before the half ended. That right there was enough, but we also couldn’t get any open running lanes and Wyoming landed two explosive gains on the ground for touchdowns. All of that occurred, and we still almost had a go-ahead score in the waning seconds. It was a nightmare loss but it wasn’t a huge indicator that our team is secretly garbage.
Off that, what kind of adjustments do you look for Coach Odom and his staff to make going into this game, whether it be scheme or playing time?
Well they didn’t make any changes to the depth chart so they clearly believe the guys they’re starting are the ones that give us the best chance to win. Schematically I’d like to see some more zone-power/read with Kelly Bryant and our star running back Larry Rountree, as well as some more deep passing. We were super efficient in both the run and passing game but had very few big plays and only threw downfield for 15+ yards twice
What type of leader has Kelly Bryant been amidst the dumbest bowl ban in NCAA history?
Kelly has been tremendous. He has been a unifying presence in the locker room, whether it be impromptu karaoke at lunch or the acting drum major in the goofiest marching band demonstration I’ve seen in a while (it’s worth a google). Dabo and the Clemson boys always speak highly of him and the entire Missouri team and staff have echoed those sentiments. He’s certainly been a big reason why we had only 2 defections from last year’s roster (one of those was a transfer due to playing time, the other was a retirement).
Who are two under the radar players on both sides of the ball that WVU fans should be on the lookout for?
On offense its Tyler Badie. He’s our change-of-pace back to Larry Rountree and typically plays more on third downs and passing downs. He’s excellent in pass defense and a more elusive, speedy back but also a great check-down option in the passing game. In my opinion he was our best player last week, not only getting the most yards on the ground but also our second-most-targeted receiver. On defense keep an eye on Nick Bolton, our weakside linebacker. He was high energy on special teams last year and has impressed the staff enough to earn the starting spot as a sophomore against some pretty awesome linebacking talent we’ve acquired over the past few years.
Is there anything outside of beating Kansas that Tigers fans miss about the Big 12?
That might be the only thing. It sucks being in a conference with Texas and they find a way to remind you of that nearly every week. I grew up in the Big 8/12 and I do miss the familiarity of the opponents and the lengthy series we had built up. But I can wax nostalgic all I want as I lay in our bed of SEC money, staring at our SEC East division titles.
How does this one shake out?
Barry Odom teams have shown to be the slowest of starters, only playing our best ball once we get to November, so you have us right where you want us. However, he is pretty good at circling the wagons once panic starts setting in and most Tiger-faithful are freaking the hell out. I know you all are in a bit of a rebuild with a new coach so I’m assuming the first road trip of this regime will be tough. You ruined our coach’s debut in 2016 so I’ll say we ruin Coach Brown’s first road game. But hey, I’m a little biased.