Advertisement

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

MU ready to move past disappointments

Kansas receiver Kerry Meier flashes a smile as he runs in what proved to be the winning touchdown against Missouri late in the fourth quarter Saturday, Nov. 29, 2008 at Arrowhead Stadium.

Kansas receiver Kerry Meier flashes a smile as he runs in what proved to be the winning touchdown against Missouri late in the fourth quarter Saturday, Nov. 29, 2008 at Arrowhead Stadium.

Advertisement

Videos

2009 Big 12 Media Days

video thumbnail

2009 Big 12 Media Days

— Missouri offensive lineman Kurtis Gregory flipped through some television channels this summer while relaxing at his home.

It's fair to say he wasn't fond of what he was watching.

The opponent: Kansas University, the Tigers' biggest rival. The date: Nov. 29, 2008. The location: Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. The result: Kansas 40, Missouri 37, thanks in large part to an improvisational gem of a pass from Todd Reesing to Kerry Meier on 4th-and-7 with 27 seconds left.

“You talk about just being frustrated for the last two weeks just having to watch that over and over,” Gregory said on Tuesday at Big 12 Media Days.

It could be said Missouri underachieved last season. The Tigers were ranked No. 6 in the country to start the season, but finished the year at 10-4 (5-3 Big 12) with an ugly victory in the Alamo Bowl. The Tigers lost two of their last three games.

“Props to Kansas because they came out, were on top of everything and played a great game,” Gregory, a senior right guard, said. “We didn't come out and get the job done and I think that's the most disappointing thing. It's like, ‘Man, we could have done so much better.’”

Was the loss more frustrating because it came against KU?

“Oh, definitely,” Gregory said, laughing. “Oh yeah.”

The Tigers have reason for optimism this year, despite having six players selected in April's NFL Draft, more than any other Big 12 team.

• Derrick Washington returns at 100 percent after a sophomore season of rushing for 1,036 yards and 17 scores on a hurt left knee. Sophomore back De’Vion Moore is also ready to make immediate impact.

“I think it's probably the best one-two punch we've had at the running back position since we've been here,” ninth-year coach Gary Pinkel said. “That will be significant.”

• Sophomore quarterback Blaine Gabbert isn't nearly as experienced as the departed Chase Daniel. But at 6-foot-5 and 235 pounds, Gabbert's more physically gifted and possesses a laser-beam of an arm. Working against Gabbert will be the losses of Jeremy Maclin and Chase Coffman, who accounted for 192 of the Tigers’ 404 catches (47.5 percent) last year.

• On defense, the Tigers return preseason All-Big 12 linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, who finished with 155 tackles last year, good for second most in Missouri single-season history. He intercepted three passes and returned two for touchdowns.

“I think Sean Weatherspoon without question, I think if he's not the best linebacker in the country, show me someone who’s better,” Pinkel said.

And, well, he can hit. Hard.

“They put a device in his helmet (last year) so when he hits, it records how hard he's hitting,” MU defensive lineman Jaron Baston said. “He hits very hard. He doesn't care who you are. I remember it was maybe a year, maybe two years ago, his best friend, Kevin Rutland, was on the scout team offense (at quarterback). He knocked him out and messed his hip up for like a week.”

• And finally, there's no clear-cut favorite in the North this season. Nebraska and Kansas are expected to battle for the rights to play for the Big 12 Championship in Arlington, Texas, but Missouri has represented the North the past two years.

If the Tigers are going to make it three years in a row, they will likely have to beat the Jayhawks on Nov. 28 at Arrowhead Stadium. That may also be the only way to erase the bitter taste from last year’s loss.

“The Texas game was embarrassing (56-31 loss in Austin last season), but the KU game hurts the worst because you know you should have won, and you know if you did one extra thing that you would win,” Baston said. “It hurts and at the end of the day, that's what happens and you have to move on and get ready for the next season.”

Comments

Joe Ross 10 years, 6 months ago

MU will lose two years in a row. The Jayhawks will be fired up for that game in Arrowhead.

truefan 10 years, 6 months ago

Sorry MU, KU will not come into that game satisfied after beating you last year. I hope we completely smash MU this year.

Scott Bonnet 10 years, 6 months ago

“The Texas game was embarrassing (56-31 loss in Austin last season), but the KU game hurts the worst because you know you should have won, and you know if you did one extra thing that you would win,” Baston said. “It hurts and at the end of the day, that's what happens and you have to move on and get ready for the next season.”

They should have won? Don't think so. All was right in the universe that day.

Jfanallways 10 years, 6 months ago

every time that game comes up i think about how all the mizzou fans took the loss and the rest of the day is roses.

Dirk Medema 10 years, 6 months ago

Gotta at least give the guy some respect for his honesty vs. the tigger droppings that try to say that the game didn't matter b/c they had already "won" the division, they were just taking it easy on us, blah, bablah, bablah.

All was right in the universe that day. It is also nice to know they are still squirming.

bad_dog 10 years, 6 months ago

As they used to say on ABC's Wide World of Sports: "the thrill of victory… and the agony of defeat…"

Another great photo by Nick Krug.

hdhntr 10 years, 5 months ago

KU got very lucky on 4th and 27 and you guys are crowing? about what? the season long problem of letting receivers behind the safeties that had the coordinator job seeking and moving on? Wow, glad you guys can get happy with so little. Idiotic eberflubber blitzed, which didn't work all year, leaving a suspect secondary undermanned and a very good KM caught a pass. Bad news department, MU still managed to win North, forget silly cochamp nonsense when you get beat hd to hd nuff said about that, again and had the privilege of being the designated loser to OU, again.

we can get happy about beating each other up or beating the big dead and be the best of the rest but untill one of us can be competitive and actually beat the big south bullies, what does it truly matter? I root for the superior Tigers but also pull for KU as well as both programs had foundered around in football forever and have upgraded facilities and their fortunes. good luck till KC anyway. Always root against the Big Dead and in the buff's tho, just don't like their pompous fans.

KU has best proven Offense in North and this is a offensive league, should win north. MU has more talent and speed but very young, beakers will be surprised at how good the D will be. With your very young, inexperienced Oline and especially at LT, could be a lot of fun.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.