Mizzou Needs To Fix The Little Things

Eric HobbsCorrespondent IOctober 14, 2009

This Saturday, the Missouri Tigers will travel to Stillwater, Oklahoma to face the Oklahoma State Cowboys.

Oddly enough, the home team has had trouble winning this matchup. OSU won last year's game while Missouri hasn't lost in Stillwater since 1992.

If Mizzou wants to leave Boone Pickens Stadium with a win, they simply must improve in some key aspects of the game.

First, the offensive line needs to get their act together. The Cowboys' defensive line is good, but not great. The offensive line has more talent, but it has shown weakness against lesser competition.

Part of the problem could be the same thing that happened with the secondary in 2008. Coaches tried to get cute and play with formations and schemes, and it failed miserably last year. Coach Pinkel said that the line has been going with new schemes, including closer splits, but so far, the changes have not paid off.

If the offensive line can play at the level they are capable of, they can protect Blaine Gabbert and give running back Derrick Washington some holes to run through.

Speaking of Washington, what happened to him?

I think the answer to this question is twofold—worse blocking and Washington not hitting the hole as quickly as last year. It seems like Washington is running horizontally more and not getting upfield. With the speed of linebackers and defensive ends in the Big 12, that simply will not work.

Defensively, it's tough to say whether the team has improved or if the rain was the culprit in slowing Nebraska's offense. Either way, a similar performance will be needed, as Oklahoma State running back Kendall Hunter will be back from injury.

Even without receiver Dez Bryant, quarterback Zac Robinson has plenty of options, meaning the Missouri secondary will need to make sure there aren't any blown assignments, like the one that gave Nebraska its first touchdown last Thursday.

Missouri is capable of spoiling the Oklahoma State homecoming game—just like they did at Nebraska in 2008—and walking out of the stadium with a 5-1 record, but they must improve fundamentally to pull the upset.