Posted: 6:12 a.m. Thursday, April 4, 2013
By Bill C.
I'm just not worried about the Mizzou secondary, and I cannot really explain why. A lot of people blamed the DBs for the Syracuse game in particular, but in re-watching all of the big Syracuse plays, I thought the biggest problem by far was the lack of D-line push.
PowerMizzou: Tiger Mailbag
This spring, John Gibson and David Johnson take turns at cornerback when Gaines slides to nickelback. While White, Simon and Ponder are experienced, Johnson and Gibson aren't. But both players are vying for more playing time, and Pinkel pointed out that sometimes, youth trumps experience.
"Every situation plays itself out different," Pinkel said. "You can go in there with a young player who's never played before and he can have a great year. Certainly if you have experienced players and they can win the job and they're good enough to compete at this level, you can compete for a championship in the SEC. That works in your favor."
For now, with the depth chart still in flux, Missouri's secondary is focused on correcting mistakes that led to a poor end to the 2012 season.
"They made plays for us last year," Gaines said. "But now they have to make more plays if they're going to be starters, and they know that."
After studying Franklin's delivery, Whitfield didn't have to rebuild his throwing motion from scratch. But there were areas to polish.
"We really just tweaked and modified some things," Whitfield said. "He's a natural thrower, and he's got a big arm. For us, it was a matter of him getting a chance to get it all coordinated and flowing together, off the ground, through his hips and through his arm."
Whitfield said Franklin's regimen focused on footwork, upper body movement and transferring his weight during his delivery. One of the first things Franklin said he hoped to carry over to the practice fields was holding the ball with both hands up near his collarbone while outside the pocket. Too often, he said, he scrambles with only one hand on the ball. That throws off his passing accuracy on the run.
"I'd like to say I got a little better," he said after yesterday's practice on Faurot Field. "Now it's just trying to make it natural and not having to think about it as much."
Asked about Franklin working with Whitfield, Missouri Coach Gary Pinkel said he was aware of the coach's reputation.
"That was fine with us," he said. "The guy is very well respected."
So ... this makes it Mizzou 102, Opponent 6 in the last 10 games then?