University of Missouri

Mizzou football coaches look for solution to offensive struggles

Missouri quarterback Drew Lock is forced out of the pocket by Purdue’s Keiwan Jones during the third quarter of the Boilermakers’ 35-3 win Saturday.
Missouri quarterback Drew Lock is forced out of the pocket by Purdue’s Keiwan Jones during the third quarter of the Boilermakers’ 35-3 win Saturday. AP

After three weeks of the college football season, Missouri has the same 1-2 overall and 0-1 Southeastern Conference record it held the same time a year ago.

But this year, the Tigers have only scored one touchdown in the last two weeks. Offensive coordinator Josh Heupel believes the source of their struggles is different than the team’s trouble in finding an identity a year ago.

“More than anything it’s really about execution,” Heupel said during his Monday teleconference. “A week ago we moved the football, didn’t have any three-and-outs against South Carolina. We just didn’t execute in the red zone. A year ago those same things couldn’t have been said.”

While the Tigers attempt to repair their limping offense, they must rely on the ground game that has been their biggest offensive strength since the beginning of last season.

Mizzou ran for just 70 yards in Saturday’s 35-3 loss to Purdue, averaging 2.9 yards per carry.

“We’ve got to be able to run the football,” MU coach Barry Odom said Monday during his teleconference. “We were not able to do that the other day. That’s a whole level of frustration because if we can’t run the ball then that’s going to make it very difficult.”

Tigers running back Damarea Crockett did not start on Saturday, a move planned by Heupel because of Crockett’s limited practice during the week while recovering from a bruised tailbone sustained in the 31-13 Week 2 loss to South Carolina. He netted only 19 yards on 10 carries, failing to make his typical impact on the running game.

“Running the football has to be something that we’ve got to lean on,” Heupel said. “Obviously, we weren’t consistent or successful at it this past week.”

One positive for the offense is that they appear to be more healthy.

Wide receiver Emanuel Hall was cleared to return to practice on Tuesday after exiting in the first half against Purdue because of an injured shoulder.

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