In a move that was rumored to go down within the last week, the Missouri Tigers dealt swift punishment to senior running back Derrick Washington by dismissing him from the team. Washington had been accused of deviate sexual assault, which is a Class C Felony. Washington was officially charged on Monday.
Head coach Gary Pinkel called the charges “a very serious matter” on Monday, but did not comment further. He did say, when asked about the impact of losing Washington on the field, “I don’t think that’s real important. We move ‘em over, move ‘em up. That’s what we do and there’s no excuses.”
Moving up and over is sophomore Kendial Lawrence who will start in Washington’s place against the Illini on Saturday.
Tigers Open 2010 Season Against The Illini: So what can we expect out of the Tigers this season? Let’s lay it on the table. They are clearly no longer the favorites in the Big 12 North, but with a little luck they could finish 5-3 in the conference and a 9-3 record. The non-conference schedule features the usual cupcakes before opening Big 12 play at home against Colorado. The next three-game stretch is where it gets tricky with road games against Texas A&M and Nebraska sandwiched around homecoming against Oklahoma (who scheduled that one for homecoming???). It is this stretch that will tell the tale of the 2010 Tigers season. I see 3 major keys to this season:
1) Gabberts‘ Growth and Health: If quarterback Blaine Gabbert stays healthy all season long he will put up MONSTER numbers. I love this kid and he clearly is the key to this team being able to make something happen. While Derrick Washington’s loss will hurt them, he never really seemed to get it going as much as we expected him to in his 3-year career. Adding a hungry Kendial Lawrence will benefit this team.
2) The Depth at Defensive End Helps the Defense Turn the Corner: Aldon Smith and Jacquies Smith lead one of the most talented groups of ends in the Gary Pinkel era. Coach Pinkel gushes about the depth they have at the end position as well he should. Much like the Cover 2 defense, if you get a pass rush it helps everyone else in coverage. I believe they can step up and make this happen. If not this team could slip to 7-5.
3) High Risk = High Reward: Memo to Coach Pinkel – ‘Let er rip this season’. The Tigers need to be a high risk, high reward team this season. Take some gambles, throw in some trick plays – BE UNPREDICTABLE!!!!! If they can throw a little caution to the wind we just might be surprised at where this team finishes.
As for Illinois it is team that features many new faces at the skill positions. Gone are Juice Williams, Vontae Davis, and company. Their running game is lead by sophomores Mikel LeShoure and Jason Ford. They are going to need to do some damage to keep Mizzou’s offense on the sidelines and protect first-year freshman quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase. If ever there was a time to show just how good that depth at defensive end is…the Tigers need to throw the kitchen sink at the kid on third and long and load up the box on running downs. Let’s see how the kid handles the pressure.
Blaine Gabbert should have a field day spreading the ball all over the field whenever and wherever he wants to. The Illini secondary is already hurting bad losing key personnel to injuries and having to move players from the offensive side of the ball to the secondary. This screams of big plays for the Tigers. Too much Mizzou offense sends the Illini home on the bus feeling about as bad as they did after last year’s game. Mizzou 38 Illini 17
I will review the Illinois game early next week. Enjoy the game in whatever capacity and have a safe holiday weekend!
About the Author
Written by Joe Zydlo
I have broadcast, covered and worked in sports for over 12 years. Being on both sides of the media (working for a team and working as a reporter covering a team) gives you a unique perspective. I continue to handle freelance PR projects, and college football and basketball broadcasts. I have a passion for writing/blogging, and LOVE college sports.