Tag Archives: Evan Boehm

Tiger fall teams show encouraging signs in early action

Mizzou football, volleyball and soccer all start with winning records

Missouri's Aarion Penton, left, celebrates with teammate Anthony Sherrils after Penton scored a touchdown during the third quarter of Saturday's game against Southeast Missouri State. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)

Missouri’s Aarion Penton, left, celebrates with teammate Anthony Sherrils after Penton scored a touchdown during the third quarter of Saturday’s game against Southeast Missouri State. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)

A few notes as Mizzou sports begin in earnest for the 2015-2016 season.

Missouri football started with a solid if not spectacular win over Southeast Missouri State. Yes, Missouri should be expected to dominate SEMO, but I was actually pretty impressed with what I saw. The offense sputtered at times, but some of the reason for that lies in injuries.  Ask me to name the most irreplaceable players on this team, and I’d have named two: Evan Boehm and Russell Hansbrough, both of whom missed significant time against the Redhawks. Missouri’s offense depends on these two senior captains and hopefully their ankle injuries won’t prove to be serious.

The Tigers receivers had a couple of drops but also made some fine catches. Rather than having one great WR, the team can put three or four capable guys on the field at one time and this part of the game will continue to improve. The more this team plays the better communication and telepathy between quarterback Maty Mauk and his young batch of receivers will trend upward.

Missouri quarterback Drew Lock looks for a receiver during the second quarter. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)

Missouri quarterback Drew Lock looks for a receiver during the second quarter. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)

I fully expect to start hearing the drumbeat for more of freshman QB Drew Lock, but that’s way premature. Mauk is 15-4 as a starter and has been through the gauntlet of SEC play. Until we’ve seen how Lock responds to receiving a Malachi Crunch between two sides of beef from the Georgia defensive line, or from hearing boos when he throws a pick in the fourth quarter of a tight game, we still don’t know how he’ll handle the responsibility. But we’ve seen enough in scrimmages and the SEMO game to be very excited about the future and to understand how it is Lock jumped more experienced QBs to earn the No. 2 spot in Gary Pinkel’s depth chart. The day will come, gentle reader, when Lock is this team’s quarterback. Patience.

While the offense will be under construction for a bit, the defense can be described as very good, on the pathway to stellar. The key here is the secondary. You’ll not find a better set of corners in the SEC than Mizzou has with Kenya Dennis and Aarion Penton. Experienced safeties who can cover receivers and come up and deliver a hard tackle in the run game, and plenty of quality depth at all four spots make this the strongest area of the team. That secondary and talented group of linebackers means less pressure on the defensive line. That front has to recover from losing Marcus Golden and Shane Ray to the NFL, Matt Hoch and Lucas Vincent to graduation, Marcus Loud to discipline problems and Harold Brantley to an ugly car crash on Father’s Day. What’s left is testament to how well this position has been recruited, as the guys who step in like Charles Harris and Rickey Hatley continue to play very well. But one of this year’s biggest stories will be to watch Terry Beckner, Jr., the biggest recruiting “get” in Boone County since Dorial Green-Beckham came to town. Beckner’s already showing flashes of brilliance, and I suspect it’s just a matter of time before he’s part of the starting team.

Special teams were also a real strength for this team—mostly. Freshman punter Corey Fatony is the real deal, with excellent punting and (with one exception) kickoffs. Andrew Baggett was steady, making all six attempts, and the coverage units did a fine job of preventing big plays. The concern? The return game. You’ll never replace Marcus Murphy, but there were some awkward moments catching the ball (or not) for Penton, and Anthony Sherrils ran a kickoff out of the end zone which he probably should have just downed for a touchback. But these are minor and correctable concerns.

There were some very bright spots—the biggest of course being the excellent play of senior linebacker Kentrell Brothers. The most underrated defender in the SEC carried a bit of a chip on his shoulder into this season because of a lack of recognition and Tiger opponents will pay the price. After 16 tackles and a blocked punt, it’ll be a sham if he’s not named the SEC’s Defensive Player of the Week. But even if he doesn’t get the personal recognition he’s earned, one thing’s clear. Brothers will continue to contribute to Tiger victories. My guess is that’s a trade-off Brothers will accept.

There were several other bright spots, but perhaps the brightest is just the overall preparedness of this team. I watched a lot of football this weekend and saw some teams that didn’t look ready to play. There was some real sloppiness in South Carolina’s offensive scheme, Vanderbilt looked very shaky, and Texas A&M had to play some quarterback bingo before finally getting their offense going against Arizona State.

Mizzou, on the other hand, looked like they knew this game was for real. There was a time-out called when personnel problems blew up a punt early. There was a truly dumb unsportsmanlike conduct call after Nate Brown’s touchdown. Mauk threw an ill-advised pass into double coverage off his back foot that was, of course, intercepted. But there were a lot fewer of these type of mistakes than from most of the teams I watched in Week One.  Looking at the stat sheet, the number that impressed me the most was 6-54. Six penalties for 54 yards.  Most of those came from two plays, the unsportsmanlike conduct call and a 15-yard facemask flagged against Sherrils. There was only one false start all day and only one holding call. In spite of losing Boehm for the second half, the Tigers’ O-Line showed a lot of discipline and only gave up three sacks to a SEMO team that lead their conference in sacks last year.

In spite of there being a lot of young players, this is a sign that this team has come into the 2015 season prepared to play. Yes, the schedule gets tougher from here. Of course, the running game must improve. And the guys who have to catch punts need to, you know, actually catch them.

But overall, just a week into this season I see a lot of reasons for optimism among Missouri football fans. I’ll be in Jonesboro, Arkansas, Saturday, we’ll see if there’s continued progress for this Tiger team.

 MU Volleyball

Elsewhere in Missouri sports, I’ve used the same line over and over regarding this 2015 MU volleyball team, “They’ll improve quickly as the year goes along.” They have three transfers starting and are giving substantial playing time to new freshman Alyssa Munlyn. One could reasonably expect some early bumps while the newbies learn Wayne Kreklow’s system and adjust to new teammates, and in Munlyn’s case, to the college game as a whole.

Instead, the team has started with six straight wins. All three transfers are looking sharp but special notice goes to Kira Larson. A North Dakota kid who played for the tradition-laden Nebraska program (as did new defensive specialist Alexa Ethridge) Larson’s been a quick study to pick up the “Mizzou Way” and promises to be a big part of this team.

Returning All-American Carly Kan continues to be outstanding, and in the last few matches there’s been a big jump in the play of senior Regan Peltier and junior Julia Towler. Kan, Larson and Towler all made the All-Tournament team last weekend at the South Florida Invitational. With freshman middle blocker Hao Jin getting more playing time, and Sydney Deeken (hopefully) returning from injury soon, there’s a lot of depth on the front line, and Ethridge is settling into the libero position nicely.

We won’t see the Tigers play in Hearnes until SEC play starts on September 30, but keep an eye on this team, which could be on the way to a fine run in the conference.

MU Soccer

Meanwhile, Bryan Blitz’s soccer club has been through a bit of a scoring drought. Since beating TCU 2-0 in their opener, the team scored more than one goal just once in five matches and has since played to consecutive 0-0 ties. Mizzou may well have the best back line in the SEC, and freshman Kelsey Dossey is doing a terrific job at goalkeeper. Missouri’s getting chances to score off the traditional Blitz attacking style, but the finishes aren’t coming.

It doesn’t make for a pretty game to watch, but packing the defense and hoping for a 1-0 win is smart tactics against this Missouri team. Until they can break out and score some goals early, forcing opponents to open up and attack more, we may see a lot of very low scoring soccer from the Tigers. Getting Allie Hess back from injury would be a major addition for Mizzou, meanwhile freshmen Amanda Shaw and Bethany Coons are getting significant minutes up front. The Tigers will be home for the first SEC event of the school year, taking on Auburn at Walton Stadium. Auburn and Missouri were both picked around the middle of the pack in preseason SEC polling, so this will be a biggie for both sets of Tigers. If Mizzou can get a goal or two early and force opponents’ tactics to change, this team’s capable of making a real run in conference play.

Because nobody’s going to score a lot against this Tiger team.

~•~

Shop talk —Thanks to Karen Mitchell and Nathan Lawrence, the KBIA Sports website should be back to fully operational soon. Believe me, when that happens, you’ll hear about it. You can continue to follow @kbiahellwege on Twitter for my thoughts, and again, I will be in Jonesboro on Saturday for Mizzou football. I’ll also be in Memphis Friday evening for ribs. Watch this space for my reporting on both these vital subjects.

 

 

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Mizzou defense dominates in 20-10 win over Kentucky

Story by Christian Clark, KBIA Sports
Photos by Brandon Kiley, KBIA Sports

Missouri defensive end Shane Ray (56) jumps to knock down Kentucky quarterback Patrick Towles’ (14) pass at the line of scrimmage. Missouri defensive end Markus Golden (33) applies pressure to the quarterback after beating Kentucky offensive tackle Jordan Swindle (70) around the edge.

Missouri defensive end Shane Ray (56) jumps to knock down Kentucky quarterback Patrick Towles’ (14) pass at the line of scrimmage. Missouri defensive end Markus Golden (33) applies pressure to the quarterback after beating Kentucky offensive tackle Jordan Swindle (70) around the edge.

COLUMBIA — Darrian Miller didn’t stand a chance.

With less than a minute remaining in the game and his team facing fourth-and-7, the Kentucky Wildcats left tackle found himself lined up against Missouri defensive end Shane Ray.

The ball was snapped, and Ray did to Miller what he’s done to so many offensive linemen this year: use his blazing Read more of this post

Coaches and teammates appear confident that Mauk will rise to the challenge

By Brandon Kiley, KBIA Sports

COLUMBIA — Sophomore quarterback Maty Mauk was the center of attention at Monday’s media day.

The Missouri Tigers football team begins their season Saturday against South Dakota State. Mauk, who went 3-1 in the four games he started in 2013, said he is anxious to show fans what he can do as Missouri’s full-time starter.

“I think it’s a little bit different because I’m coming in knowing it’s my time to play,” Mauk said. “I’ve had all year. It’s been killing me to just go out there and practice. I’m ready to go. I’ve been ready. Saturday night, when we start, I’ll be ready to go.”

Mauk’s teammates and coaches said they have noticed a subtle change in the way he carries himself on and off the field. Coach Gary Pinkel says the most notable change is that Mauk has become a leader.

“I think he’s done a good job,” Pinkel said. “He’s a very natural, unthreatening leader. Players like him. He’s got a great work ethic. He works really hard; I think that’s what’s most important in a leader.”

Pinkel said he believes in his sophomore quarterback. But he said he wants Mauk to understand that the players around him can help Mauk reach his potential.

Mauk’s first play from scrimmage as a starter in 2013 was a 41-yard pass against Florida down the right sideline to wide receiver L’Damian Washington. Mauk said he’s willing to take chances if he perceives the reward to be worth more than the risk.

“If it’s there, I’m going to take it,” Mauk said. “I know where my guys are going to be, and I’m going to get them the ball and we’re going to score. We’re going to come into this game like it’s anybody else. We’re not going to take them light, and we’re going to come out ready to go.”

Junior offensive lineman Evan Boehm said Mauk’s playing style will not impact the way the offensive line plays.

“Maty is going to be Maty,” Boehm said. “We know that. All we have to do is sit back and protect. That’s our job. Our job is to protect Maty and to let him get the ball in the playmakers hands and to make calls for the running backs. If Maty decides to roll out, we’ll roll out. If he decides to stay in the pocket, he’ll have a pocket there.”

Mauk completed 28 of his 55 attempts for 322 yards along with one touchdown and one interception in the team’s three intra-squad fall scrimmages.

“I’m not worried about any of that,” Mauk said. “That’s a scrimmage. We’re going out there against our own defense. When we go out there and we go up against unscripted stuff, it’s going to be different. We’re going to be ready Saturday and we’re going to come out firing.”

“I am going to be comfortable. I can’t wait for it to be Saturday,” Mauk said. “It’ll be here before I know it.”

Mauk more comfortable as Missouri QB 


By The Associated Press

COLUMBIA — Walking to practice one day this spring, Maty Mauk let his mind wander.

The Missouri quarterback thought about the “little things” that have changed in the first few practices of his second season playing with the Tigers, such as throwing a pass before a receiver cuts across the field, rather than after.

“The speed of the game went way down for me and now I can just go out there and be me,” Mauk said.

Even if he wasn’t quite himself last fall, Mauk impressed nearly everyone during his freshman season. He started four Read more of this post

Injury knocks out another Missouri lineman

By the Associated Press

Missouri’s Britt out with knee injury

Missouri right tackle Justin Britt will miss the remainder of the season after injuring his right knee against Florida.

The junior starter left the Tigers’ loss at No. 7 Florida in the second quarter Saturday. After the game, coach Gary Pinkel speculated that Britt tore the anterior cruciate ligament in the knee. Pinkel said Monday that the extent of the injury will be known when Britt has surgery Oct. 16.

Backup center Brad McNulty is projected to make his third career start this week at Tennessee while Mitch Morse will shift to right tackle.

Britt and freshman left guard Evan Boehm have been the only offensive linemen to start every game for Missouri (4-5, 1-5 Southeastern Conference).

Mizzou’s young offensive line steps up in Fisher’s absence

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Darren Hellwege, Sports Commentator

There was one moment in Missouri’s loss to Georgia that had to break the hearts of Tiger fans. In the second quarter, senior offensive lineman Elvis Fisher collapsed to the turf and had to be helped off. After a long career at Mizzou, Fisher appeared to be done for when he lost last season to a knee injury. However a hardship ruling from the NCAA granted him an extra season. It was a special thing, seeing him get the chance he richly deserved to have a senior season. It has been great for the young offensive linemen to have him around. He was more than just the captain of the linemen, he was almost a father figure, a true coach on the field. Max Copeland, the Tigers outspoken guard, looked to be on the verge of tears as he talked about how awful he felt for Elvis. “Seeing my brother on the ground like that, it was worse than losing the game.” And believe me, this is a guy who hates to lose.

We learned later this week that Fisher might not be lost for the season, after all. But the injury will cost him several weeks, and robs him of the senior season of which he’d dreamed. But the importance of Fisher goes beyond his play on the field on Saturday. The bunch that will line up in front of quarterback James Franklin against Arizona State this weekend is awfully young and inexperienced. Mitch Morse is a sophomore with two starts. Justin Britt is now the old vet, starting all of last season at left tackle and now starting on the right side. The Max Copeland story of walk-on to starter is an inspiration, but he’s still very inexperienced. Brad McNulty is a redshirt freshman and will get his first start this Saturday. And of course, Evan Boehm is the true rarity on a Gary Pinkel team — a true freshman starting on the offensive line.

Those five youngsters are, unless there’s a miracle healing and and senior offensive lineman Jack Meiners comes back quicker than expected, your Missouri Tigers offensive line. But we learned last weekend that there’s more to these guys than youth. Copeland once explained to me how a lineman has to know what all four of his linemates are doing on each play. It makes sense, you don’t want guys crashing into one another, but it means an awful lot of knowledge, almost having to know five times as much as you might think for every play in a fairly complicated offense. So, when Fisher went down, they were ready. McNulty came off the bench to play center, and after starting at center, Morse moved out to tackle. Britt went from right tackle to the left side, where Fisher had been playing.

But everyone made the move and played their new positions without a hitch, against one of the best defensive lines in all of college football. There’s a toughness, a dedication to purpose, in this bunch of linemen. Some is just personal character. A lot of it is great coaching, and the way they’ve handled one injury after another and kept right on doing their jobs is a major tribute to Bruce Walker and Josh Henson, the offensive line coaches in a staff of assistants under Pinkel that frankly are to coaching what Georgia is to defensive line play — among the elite few in the nation.

But that character, that drive, that dedication, also comes from their time with Fisher. Talking with guys like McNulty and Britt about Fisher is like talking with a small child about Santa, There’s a level of respect, admiration, and yes love they all hold for their leader that cannot be shaken, and it’s well-earned. Every player on the Missouri offensive line is a better football player for having spent time learning from and with Fisher. And more than that, they’re better men. I don’t know what career path Fisher has in mind, but there is a “stuff” that the very best coaches are made of, and Fisher has it in spades. Copeland said it best — small wonder, there’s little he can’t say best — when he said “I’d ride into battle with him anytime.”

When you say “intelligent football player” some might snicker. Others might assume we’re talking about a quarterback, or free safety. The brutes who line up in the trenches, the guys who can bench press a Volvo and spend their days beating the daylights out of one another, you don’t expect to find a lot of functioning brain cells down that way.

You’d be surprised. If you thought linemen were just big tough guys who went out and hit the guy across from them, you couldn’t be more wrong. These are intelligent guys. Copeland’s a physics major, McNulty’s studying psychology. Britt was on the Academic All-Big 12 second team last season, and Morse was first team Academic All-Conference.

So, when someone refers to the brains behind the Mizzou Tigers football team, don’t limit it to the guy calling the plays. There’s a lot of smarts in the offensive line, too.

National Signing Day: Besides DGB, who’s in, who’s out for Mizzou

By Alex Silverman

Missouri fans applaud as Dorial Green-Beckham, in black hoodie, enters Mizzou Arena on January 28. DGB as he is widely known, is being recruited by Mizzou for the football team.

With just three days remaining before college football’s National Signing Day, Alex Silverman of KBIA Sports Extra sat down with Trevor Kraus to preview what might be in store for the Tigers come Wednesday.  Look no further than this jam-packed segment for the answers to all of your Missouri recruiting questions:

  • What would landing Dorial Green-Beckham, the nation’s top recruit, mean for the Missouri football program?
  • How will Missouri’s move to the SEC impact its recruiting in the coming years?
  • Have the Tigers locked down the top high school players from the state of Missouri?
  • Has Missouri found a new border rival in Arkansas?
  • Who has committed to the Tigers and who are they still targeting?