Football coaches tend to subscribe to the theory that game film never lies. And for the most part, that’s true.
By TEREZ A. PAYLOR
The Kansas City Star
But if you ask Missouri defensive coordinator Dave Steckel what he thinks of Toledo’s offense, it’s clear he has a tremendous amount of respect for what the Rockets are capable of, despite a feeble showing in a 24-6 loss at Florida last Saturday.
“They are highly explosive, and their quarterback has got a lot of snaps,” Steckel said. “I think he’s very athletic and their O-line is a physical type of a bunch. I think they’re a nasty bunch and their tailback, No. 22 (David Fluellen), is special. Their receiver skill is pretty darn good.”
The Rockets return nine starters from an up-tempo offense that was quite formidable last season. Toledo averaged 31.5 points per game, good for 44th in the nation, and figured to be even better this year.
Star senior running back David Fluellen, who rushed for 1,498 yards and 13 touchdown last season, is back, as is senior quarterback Terrance Owens, who accounted for more than 3,000 total yards and 19 touchdowns last season. What’s more, Owens returns his top five receiving targets, including senior Bernard Reedy, who caught 89 passes for 1,105 yards and six touchdowns last season.
None of that experience seemed to help the Rockets against the Gators last week, however, as Toledo gained only 205 yards and converted just one of 13 third-down opportunities.
It marked the first time the Rockets had failed to score a touchdown in a game since 2010, but Steckel — whose defense gave up 14 points to FCS opponent Murray State last week — knows better than to assume the Tigers will have an easy time keeping Toledo off the scoreboard.
“They’re a more athletic, more nasty and more physical bunch (than Murray State),” Steckel said. “I’ve got a lot of respect for them.”
To reach Terez A. Paylor, call 816-234-4489 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at twitter.com/TerezPaylor.