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The Countdown

A bottom-to-top assessment of the F.B.S. landscape heading into the 2012 season.

Three Things

Who, What, When: Missouri

Want a Missouri player to watch? A theme key to this team’s success? One game to circle in red ink? Let’s take a look.

Who: linebacker Andrew Gachkar

Andrew Gachkar, the team’s leading returning tackler, will move from the strong side to the weak side as Missouri attempts to replace Sean Weatherspoon. I don’t envy Gachkar: he is stepping into some immense shoes. My only concern with the senior is whether he has the athleticism to make plays in space — a necessity for the weak side. However, Gachkar is undoubtedly due to make a significant improvement upon his 2009 numbers: just don’t expect him to duplicate Weatherspoon’s production. Still, much like Weatherspoon, Gachkar will be key to this defense’s success.

What: Blaine Gabbert’s progression

Danario Alexander’s departure won’t be too big of problem, despite Alexander’s wonderful senior season. The Tigers can go about replacing the 2009 all-American in one of of two ways: one, by inserting a returning receiver into his spot; or two, by asking Blaine Gabbert to begin spreading the ball more effectively. There’s no question that the offense would be better served with the junior looking towards secondary targets — especially without Alexander to serve as his safety net. Better yet, Missouri has a deep receiver corps. An offense is always better when utilizing multiple targets, with the Tigers hoping Gabbert does a better job of sharing the wealth in 2010.

When: Oct. 30 at Nebraska

For one last time, the Big 12 North will come down to Missouri and Nebraska. The Tigers will have their work cut out for them: Nebraska will be very strong — especially if the quarterback situation resolves itself — and land Missouri at home, where the Tigers have struggled historically, regardless of the 2008 win. Given the rest of Missouri’s conference schedule, it’s doubtful that this team could take the North without winning the head-to-head tiebreaker against the Cornhuskers.

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  1. rhansom says:


    By recruiting a fullback.

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