Gabe DeArmond, publisher of PowerMizzou.com, has been a regular contributor for us at Bulldawg Illustrated. He does an excellent job covering the Tigers and has great insights on the Cardinals, Royals and Chiefs. Enjoy his take on Saturday’s game in Columbia.
How big would this be for Barry Odom and Missouri to pull off this win?
You can’t overstate how big it would be. It would be a season maker and a program changer. A top-five team? Would easily be Missouri’s biggest win in the last four or five years if not longer. It would also give Drew Lock a legitimate shot to enter the Heisman Trophy conversation.
What does Mizzou need to do to win?
Score. A bunch. I don’t think you’re going to win a 21-17 game with Georgia. Missouri’s strength is the offense.The Tigers put up some points against UGA last year, but it was never a game in the second half. The offense needs the same kind of effort and the defense needs to be better. And this game is less about Missouri than about Georgia. Missouri obviously needs its best effort to win … but even if it happens, UGA still has to make some mistakes. If the Bulldogs play an A game, Missouri can’t beat them.
Talk about the turnaround of last year, that really began with giving Georgia a good game in Athens?
I thought it started the week before. They hung with Kentucky until the final seconds and really might have won the game except for some curious clock management (by the officials, not the coaches). But they showed life in that game. The Georgia game showed them they were good enough to score on anybody … but saying they gave Georgia a good game overstates it in my opinion. That one was over early in the third quarter. Then they won six straight after that, but you also have to acknowledge the part scheduling played there. Missouri didn’t beat a team with a winning record in that run.
There is obviously interest from Athens in Mizzou’s new offensive coordinator, how do the Tiger faithful feel about Derek Dooley?
To say they were excited about the hire at the time wouldn’t be right. Most were caught very off guard by it and didn’t understand it. That said, the offense has put up 91 points in two games and Drew Lock looks great and for now, everybody likes Dooley just fine. We all know how quickly that can change. He was handed as good a situation as a first-year OC could ask for. A senior quarterback who could be one of the best in the country, 10 returning starters on offense, a potential all-American at tight end. I mean, if this Missouri offense isn’t good, Dooley doesn’t know what he’s doing.
So many great Tiger QBs in the 2000s: Brad Smith, Blaine Gabbert, Chase Daniel, etc., where does Drew Lock rank in the eyes of the Missouri fan base?
Clearly below Daniel and Gabbert. Also, for now, probably below James Franklin, who won Missouri’s first SEC East title. He put up numbers last year, but he’s still never won more than seven games. That’s not all his fault but that’s how quarterbacks are judged. Right now his legacy is, really good player who put up video game numbers and one time he went to the Texas Bowl. He’s got a chance to re-write that legacy this year. Ultimately, what he does this season is what most will remember … and what he does in the NFL. Lock seems certain to be a first round pick and some believe he could be the first quarterback taken or maybe even the first pick overall.
What is your take on Georgia?
Really good team. In the mix for a playoff spot. No obvious weaknesses. Recruiting at a ridiculous level. I said all offseason the gap between Georgia and the rest of the SEC East is bigger than the gap in any other division in college football. If they’re not playing in the SEC Championship Game, something went significantly wrong.
What are some changes you would like to see in the SEC or college football as a whole?
I’d like to see everybody have to play ten Power Five teams. Some of these games are dreadful. I’d like to see some way to legislate intent on some of the tackling rules. I understand player safety and I’m all for it, but I think there should be a difference between intentional targeting and a helmet to helmet hit that happens just because of some accident. But more than anything, find a way to speed games up. These four-hour marathons are getting out of hand. Don’t stop the clock after first downs, shorten halftime and keep the band on the sidelines. Those two things right there will save 15-20 minutes every week.