COLUMBIA — For the second straight week, Blaine Gabbert and the Missouri football team's passing attack struggled. But sophomore receiver T.J. Moe said the Tigers’ quarterback was not to blame.
“There’s three things that’s got to happen on each play,” Moe said. “The line's got to get their job done. Blaine’s got to deliver the ball, but we got to be open. A lot of times it’s two out of three, and the receivers aren’t getting it done.”
Last week against Texas Tech, Gabbert completed just 12 of 30 passes for 95 yards in Missouri’s 24-17 loss. Coming into the week, the Red Raiders’ passing defense was ranked second to last in the nation.
“We only completed 12 passes; that’s ridiculous,” Moe said. “In the spread offense you throw 30 times, and you should be completing a whole lot more than 12 passes. That’s something we have to work out. We got to work on our timing. We got to work on our trust. We got to work on our routes. We got to work on getting open, and we got to work on confidence.”
Moe said giving Gabbert a clear target to hit with his passes is the receivers' job.
“It doesn’t matter who you’re playing," Moe said. "You could be playing Oklahoma. You could be playing Tennessee. You could be playing Florida or the Green Bay Packers. It doesn’t matter. You’ve got to find a way to get open. We haven’t done a very good job of that the last two weeks.”
At many points throughout Saturday’s game, Gabbert appeared to miss his target by several yards, but Moe explained that the incomplete passes were not just because of bad throws. On many of Missouri’s plays, the receivers have several options as to which route they will run. If the receiver and Gabbert both don’t read the defense the same way, the ball typically misses by a lot.
“If we’re trying to sprint out of coverage ... and Blaine’s trying to sit us down right there, the ball’s going to be 3 yards behind us and it makes him look bad. But really, it’s our fault,” he said.
Despite Moe putting the weight of the loss on the receivers’ shoulders, he said just about everyone on the team made themselves accountable.
“You certainly want to have a lot of guys that are putting it on themselves,” he said. “The coaches come back, and they’re all saying it’s their fault. The offense is all saying it’s their fault, and the defense is all saying it’s their fault. That’s a good thing. That means everybody’s fixing something.”
Moe said he thinks the Tigers have the right attitude about fixing things in time for Saturday's game against Kansas State.
“You always have to have confidence in yourself,” he said. “I don’t think this team has any type of confidence issues. The only thing that’s frustrating is that you feel like you’re letting your team down. I didn’t get open enough, and we didn’t move the football and we lost. That’s what it comes down to.”