Questions For The 2022 Missouri Tigers

The Missouri Tigers were the first SEC team to conclude spring when they wrapped up on March 19th with their spring game. In their annual game for the fans, Team Mizzou defeated Team Tigers 35-34 in an enjoyable scrimmage. The upcoming season will be year three for Eli Drinkwitz at Missouri. In his first two years, he is 11-12 overall with an 8-10 SEC record. They have received bowl invites in both of those seasons. What are the questions for the 2022 Missouri Tigers?

Questions for the 2022 Missouri Tigers

Who Will Be the Quarterback?

After the 2021 season, second-year starter Connor Bazelak left the program and entered the transfer portal. It was a disappointing season for Bazelak, as he did not show much improvement from his first season. He improved his touchdowns from seven to sixteen, but his interceptions also went up from six to eleven. Also, his completion percentage saw a drop from 67% to 65%. Those struggles saw him benched in games as well. He will now look to improve as a passer as an Indiana Hoosier.

Who will replace him? In the Spring game, Brady Cook and Tyler Macon took the bulk of the snaps. Both quarterbacks are very different in styles. Cook is more of a traditional pocket passer, and Macon brings more of a running element to the offense. The two have seen very little time in games. Cook passed for 345 yards and two touchdowns, plus got the start in the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl. Despite the 24-22 loss to Army, he passed for 238 yards and one touchdown. Macon only threw 17 passes on the season for 143 and one touchdown. Another possibility is one that was at the spring game but did not play. Former Georgia quarterback J.T. Daniels was there on a visit. Other schools in play for Daniels are West Virginia and Oregon State. If he does choose Missouri, it should be assumed he would be the starter.

Who Replaces Tyler Badie?

While much will be made of the quarterbacks, the offense in 2021 focus was the running of Tyler Badie. He led the SEC in rushing with 1,604 yards and tied for first with 14 touchdowns. In his previous three seasons, he rushed for 1,136 yards and nine touchdowns. Badie rushed for over 200 yards five times against the likes of Central Michigan, North Texas, Vanderbilt, South Carolina, and Arkansas. Putting up those numbers against the Razorbacks is no small feat. It is a big ask for one running back to replace him.

Stanford transfer Nathaniel Peat could be a name that helps in the backfield. Peat led the Cardinal in rushing with 404 yards and three touchdowns. He also had a solid 5.1 yards per carry. His best game of 2021 came against USC, where he rushed for 115 yards on just six carries and a touchdown. This is a homecoming for him due to being from Columbia, Missouri. He will have to earn the spot though, with Elijah Young looking to be the feature back after sitting behind Badie. Last season Young rushed for 162 yards and one touchdown.

What about the defense?

No one in the SEC gave up more rushing yards than the Tigers in 2021. They gave up on average 229.3 yards per game on average. A team will not win many games in the SEC giving up yards like that on the ground. Last season defensive coordinator Steve Wilks headed back to the NFL, and the group will now be led by Blake Baker. He was promoted from safeties coach but has coordinator experience with past stops at Miami and Louisiana Tech.

Baker will have several experienced players returning on defense in hopes of turning around the terrible 2021 season. Upfront three of four return in Isaiah McGuire, Trajan Jeffcoat, and Darius Robinson. McGuire led the team with six sacks and had a big game with 13 tackles in the bowl loss to Army. In the secondary, the Tigers return a pair of safeties in Martez Manuel and Jaylen Carlies. Manuel is the leading returning tackler with 77 and added four and a half sacks. Carlies led the team in 2021 with four interceptions. A big loss on the defense was freshman defensive lineman Mehki Wingo, who transferred to LSU.