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  • Brad Smith back, better than ever

    Brad back, better than ever

    By JOE WALLJASPER Tribune sports editor
    Published Sunday, September 4, 2005
    KANSAS CITY - There were many reasons to avoid yesterday’s Missouri football season opener. There was the location, the gag-reflex-inducing price of gasoline, the alarm clock that didn’t go off, the opponent, the lingering disappointment about last season, the $20 parking fee, the lawn that needed mowing. For all those reasons and more, the empty red, yellow and orange seats easily outnumbered fans at Arrowhead Stadium.

    For those who did attend, though, there was a reward: Brad Smith, in all his glory. Operating Missouri’s new offense and looking like his old self, Smith guided the Tigers to a 44-17 victory over Arkansas State. For those fans who stuck around until the end, there was even an encore, as Smith re-entered the game after ASU narrowed the deficit to 20 points in the fourth quarter. On cue, Smith marched MU to its final score, a lob to freshman tight end Chase Coffman in the end zone.

    A smattering of applause sprang from what remained of an original crowd of 32,906. The struggles and frustrations of last season seemed distant.

    "Since the day the Iowa State game was over, he’s been waiting for this football game," Missouri Coach Gary Pinkel said, referring to last season’s finale. "He’s worked very hard. He’s on a mission. That kid’s on a mission."

    Last year is Smith’s motivation but not his favorite topic. His Heisman Trophy campaign and the team’s national ranking didn’t survive September. As his junior season went south, he spent an inordinate amount of time vainly chucking passes from the pocket. His running instincts often kicked in a split second too late while he sought out receivers.

    "I don’t even remember last year," Smith deadpanned.

    To refresh his memory, there weren’t any days like this. Smith completed 29 of 37 passes for 317 yards and four touchdowns - his most productive passing day since he threw for 334 yards against Bowling Green as a freshman. He rushed 12 times for 95 yards - only once last year did he exceed that rushing total. He piled up those stats despite yielding the stage to freshman Chase Daniel for five possessions.

    Smith looked and sounded like a decisive player yesterday.

    "I’m making decisions I want to make and going with them," Smith declared.

    "I’m going to play football the way I want to play," he added.

    It helps that his offensive line has grown up. It helps when the defense is as bad as Arkansas State’s. And it helps when an offensive scheme spreads receivers and offensive linemen across the field, creating seams for Smith and shifty running backs Marcus Woods and Tony Temple.

    Despite working exclusively out of the shotgun - often with an empty backfield - the Tigers piled up 317 rushing yards. Woods averaged 10 yards per carry, Temple averaged 8.9 and Smith averaged 7.9. A healthy chunk of the passing yards came on option plays in which Smith shoveled the ball forward to wide receiver William Franklin rather than pitching it backward to a running back. Franklin racked up 116 receiving yards, and almost all of them came after the catch.

    Arkansas State Coach Steve Roberts said he was surprised by Missouri’s wide line splits and use of the empty backfield, although both trends had been mentioned in media reports during the spring and preseason. Regardless, the poorly kept secret is all the way out now.

    Not many fans saw yesterday’s display, but next week’s opponent, New Mexico, certainly did. The Lobos have seen plenty of this offense, which was borrowed from Utah, because they play in the Mountain West Conference with the Utes.

    The element of surprise is gone, but the old Brad Smith is back. I’d call that a pretty good trade.
    Dude. Can. Fly.

  • #2
    I hope that he is back, because he's an exciting player to watch. But I wouldn't use yesterday's game as a barometer of anything. Arkie St. is a bad football team.

    BTW, anyone find it ironic that Arkie St., which must give up its nickname under the NCAA mandate, opened its season at Arrowhead Stadium?
    June 9, 1973 - The day athletic perfection was defined.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-Kva...eature=related

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by tallahassee blues fan@Sep 4 2005, 10:26 AM
      I hope that he is back, because he's an exciting player to watch. But I wouldn't use yesterday's game as a barometer of anything. Arkie St. is a bad football team.

      He's played patsies like that before and not put up those numbers.

      But I know what you mean.
      Dude. Can. Fly.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by tallahassee blues fan@Sep 4 2005, 10:26 AM
        But I wouldn't use yesterday's game as a barometer of anything. Arkie St. is a bad football team.
        ++
        You're being fucking dramatic. You own a TV and an air mattress. That's not exactly what I'd call "a lot to lose."

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        • #5
          SW Mo. State must be a bad one too. The Hogs put up over 500 rushing yards on them and had three 100 yard rushers, two of which were freshmen.
          June 9, 1973 - The day athletic perfection was defined.

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-Kva...eature=related

          Comment


          • #6
            Yes, but can he do this in the big games, like Troy?

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by backstop@Sep 4 2005, 10:51 AM
              Yes, but can he do this in the big games, like Troy?

              Not sure - will that game be on TV at the bars in Wrigleyville? If so, I can let you know.
              Dude. Can. Fly.

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              • #8
                I'm taking this as a good sign.

                Even better was the play from Franklin, Temple and Woods.
                Go Cards ...12 in 13.


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                • #9
                  I am pumped for this year!

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                  • #10
                    Well, this isn't new thread worthy, but Attiyah Ellison was cut by the Panthers yesterday, making him the highest drafted player cut this year.

                    Mosely and Nash made their respective teams however.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Here is a comparison to last years stats against Arkansas St.

                      2005: 29-37 (78%) 317 yards and 4 TDs/0 INT. Ran for 95 yds on 12 carries.

                      2004: 14-22 (64%) 233 yards and 2 TDs/1 INT. Ran for 63 yds on 6 carries.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by pgrote@Sep 4 2005, 12:20 PM
                        I am pumped for this year!

                        I was pumped last season. This its the Show Me approach.

                        That the 2nd team didn't do very well is the only downer in this game.
                        Go Cards ...12 in 13.


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                        • #13
                          New Mexico 24, UNLV 22: Kole McKamey threw two touchdown passes Monday, and Gabriel Fulbright's interception in the final minute preserved host New Mexico's win. The Lobos (1-0) will play Saturday night at Missouri (1-0).
                          Dude. Can. Fly.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Just watched The Gary Pinkel Show with highlights from Saturday.

                            Holy shit is Will Franklin fast.

                            Brad Smith looked really good. He had tons of time to throw and did something with it - he was putting it right in there.
                            Dude. Can. Fly.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I don't think the problem has ever been Smith's talent, even in throwing the ball. Maybe Pinkel really has gotten his head removed from his rectum. If so, you guys could win the North.

                              Of course, that's kind of like leading the Gay Pride Parade at a Hooters Convention.
                              On my mind: How can I shut up the singing English graduate student? How many more lossess will KU's basketball team have than its football team? How will the Rams front office screw up this year?


                              Official lounge sponsor of Will Witherspoon, Russell Robinson, and all other things Jayhawk at the lounge (which ain't much).

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