Picking up the pace: Hurry up, Mizzou’s offense isn’t waiting

The easiest way to say it is this …

If you spend 10 minutes reading this notebook, the Mizzou offense could make that effort look lazy by running 36-plus plays.

“Our players are tired,” Mizzou coach Gary Pinkel said with a chuckle after the Tigers beat Murray State on Saturday.

The clip (3.67 plays per minute) is how fast the Tigers cruised in the first half this weekend, their first game under new offensive coordinator Josh Henson.

“The tempo is something we want to continue to work on, and really get good at,” Pinkel said.

The pace didn’t seem to fluster senior quarterback James Franklin. He completed 26 of 38 passes for 318 yards, three touchdowns and zero picks. It was his third-highest passing yard total in his career, and his fifth-highest passer rating (164.8).

Mizzou cooled the jets after its defense started making stops and the game got out of hand, but the blend of spend and efficiency was impressive.


Dorial Green-Beckham said heading into the season he felt more comfortable as an X-receiver, the outside spot to which he shifted after working from the slot as a freshman.

It showed Saturday.

Green-Beckham caught four passes for 83 yards — an average of 20.8 per grab. He averaged just 14.1 yards per catch as a freshman.

His best catch didn’t count, however. He pulled in a one-handed snag on the sideline that drew a gasp from the crowd before it realized the receiver landed just a tad bit out of bounds.


Is a kicking competition looming?

According to Pinkel, redshirt sophomore kicker Andrew Baggett is responsible for leaving four points on the field Saturday.

Baggett missed a 30-yard field goal when the Tigers trailed Murray State 14-13 with a little more than 12 minutes to play in the second quarter. The score was 14-13 because Baggett kicked an extra-point attempt low enough to be blocked on a previous touchdown.

“That wasn’t protection at all. It was just a low extra point,” Pinkel said. “So there’s four points you give away.”

Baggett helped his case by netting a 43-yarder to end the first half. He also sent eight of his nine kickoffs into the end zone for touchbacks.


Henry Josey stole the headlines, but even the senior back from a left knee injury took some time to credit the work of Russell Hansbrough, a backfield companion who had quite a game.

“I was loving it, man,” Josey said. “Seeing him plow over people, running fast. I was like, ‘Man, it looks like me a long time ago.’ I was really excited for him. I’m happy for him. We have a great tandem, me and him. And it’s going to be crazy as the year goes on.”

Hansbrough’s biggest highlight was a 51-yard touchdown run. He averaged 13 yards per carry, finishing with eight runs for 104 yards.


Follow Ben Frederickson on Twitter (@Ben_Fred), or contact him at frederickson.ben@gmail.com.