- Edward Aschoff, ESPN Staff Writer
- 0 Shares
Our "One good reason" series continues with one of the SEC's new members -- the Missouri Tigers.
Let's see what might be in store for the Tigers in their first year in the SEC:
Missouri will have the SEC's East's best offense: The Tigers have solid balance, talent and experience.
Sure, the Tigers are coming into the SEC sporting one of those flashy spread offenses. It's an offense that had been quite successful in the Big 12, but these defenses are a different breed in SEC country. Well, Missouri isn't too worried about all of that talk. The Tigers aren't bringing their offense over without some experience to go with it. Quarterback James Franklin might be the league's best dual-theat quarterback and the coaching staff is very excited about the weapons he'll be throwing to, starting with reliable senior T.J. Moe and junior deep threats Marcus Lucas and L'Damian Washington. Oh, and there's that true freshman Dorial Green-Beckham, who should be pretty decent as well. So Missouri's offensive line might be a little undersized for the SEC's liking and three starters from last year are gone. To the Tigers those two things mean very little because they technically return an entire line that has starting experience and they are very comfortable with the weight their linemen are at. This line wasn't much bigger last year, and Missouri was still first in the Big 12 in rushing and 12th nationally in total offense. Running back Henry Josey might not be back this season, but Kendial Lawrence and Marcus Murphy appear more than ready to fill in.
Missouri is facing new defenses, yes, but the SEC East will have to adjust to the Tigers as well. The spread has worked before in the SEC, just look at Florida under Urban Meyer -- minus 2010. And the other offenses in the SEC still have questions. Georgia's running game is filled with questions now that Isaiah Crowell is gone. Florida's is loaded with unproven players, and South Carolina still has to see if Connor Shaw will truly be a pass-first quarterback and if running back Marcus Lattimore will be 100 percent. Tennessee will likely have the division's best passing game, but what about the running game? It was awful last year.
The Tigers insist they know what they're getting out of their offense because there is good experience across the board and the talent isn't too shabby.
Why it won't: There are some pretty good defenses in the East.
While the Tigers are very confident about their offense, they'll have to tangle with some pretty good defenses this fall. South Carolina, Georgia and Florida all ranked in the top 10 nationally in total defense last year, while Vanderbilt ranked 18th and Tennessee ranked 27th. Vandy might have the toughest time duplicating last year's production, as the Commodores are replacing some key defensive starters, but the other units are expected to be better this fall, and that has to be a little of a concerning for the Tigers.
For all of the speed that Missouri says it has on offense, the defenses the Tigers will face in the East might be just as fast. Georgia and Florida both return 10 defensive starters, Tennessee returns nine, Vanderbilt returns seven, and South Carolina returns six. Missouri coach Gary Pinkel says he doesn't want to change much about his offense, but it wouldn't be a surprise if the Tigers have to go under center more or attach one of those tight ends to the line in order to give Franklin and that backfield more time.
1dESPN Stats & Information
1dSam Khan Jr.