A chat with a college football coach is usually a one-stop-shop for upbeat cliches and praise for his team, even in the grimmest of circumstances. Troy coach Larry Blakeney isn’t one of those coaches. He is quite candid about the state of his team.
James Joyce once called mistakes the portals of discovery. One must wonder, then, what Joyce would have thought had he joined the throng of 50,701 fans at Faurot Field last Saturday, to watch the Missouri football team continually err, often at the most inopportune times, on its way to a 45-35 loss to New Mexico.
They have their hardware: 90-plus individually tailored rings and a team trophy. They have their tributes: A banner hangs in the gym, and a team poster greets visitors at the entrance to the school commons.
After his team allowed an average of 325 yards in its four losses last season, Rock Bridge football coach A.J. Ofodile said the Bruins have made stopping the run a priority this season. In their first two games against Class 4 teams this season, they have shown great improvement, allowing an average of 108 rushing yards.
Jessie Strother didn’t care about the pain. After sitting out Wednesday night’s loss to defending state champion Incarnate Word Academy, Strother, a freshman setter, played through her ongoing back pain to lead Hickman past rival Rock Bridge 25-20, 25-20.
When Rock Bridge boys’ soccer fans watched the Bruins play the last couple of weeks, they might not have recognized every player on the field. The Bruins have been battling some sprains, strains and pulls while trying to survive the early part of their schedule. They hope to return all of their players by the time the Catholic Youth Council tournament begins Monday in St. Louis. The stacked field features several top-flight teams from the St. Louis area, including top-ranked Christian Brothers College.
In the first five years of Missouri football coach Gary Pinkel’s tenure, the Tigers have played three nonconference games against teams from Bowl Championship Series conferences. That number will at least double in the next two seasons. The Tigers announced Thursday they will play Mississippi, a team from the Southeastern Conference, in each of the next two seasons. The Rebels will come to Columbia on Sept. 9, 2006, and will host the Tigers in Oxford, Miss., on Sept. 8, 2007.
Missouri football fans have their Brad back. Smith welcomed Columbia fans to the spread offense, a fast-paced, no-huddle mix of spreading defenders out with the pass and using the subsequent holes to execute an option running game. He rushed for 165 yards while throwing for 248 on Saturday in the Tigers’ home opener against New Mexico on Saturday.
Abbie Booth had a hot serving hand Wednesday in Missouri’s 30-20, 30-24, 30-16 win against Iowa State in both team’s Big 12 Conference season openers at the Hearnes Center. “I don’t really know what was going on,” Booth, a junior defensive specialist, said. “I was concerned because I had errors toward the beginning. I had two service errors in a row. I was just focusing on my toss. I wasn’t really thinking about serving it tough, more focusing on how to serve.”
The Rock Bridge Bruins offense has multiple personalities. There is the one that returned a talented crop of juniors with a year more experience ready to become one of the most explosive offenses in the state. On the other side though, is one that looks nervous and inexperienced and seems to struggle at the beginning of games.
Whether they tailgate, all football fans have one thing in common: finding a parking spot. One option is the newly converted parking lot at Reactor Field on Research Park Drive. The commuter lot was open to the public during Missouri’s first home game Saturday. But with more than 900 parking spaces, the former intramural field, was a little more than half full.
The Rock Bridge girls’ volleyball team nearly had an accident during warmups, but players narrowly averted the pregame collision. It didn’t get much better than that for the Bruins, who lost to the Hermann Bearcats 25-15, 25-17.
Sure, he had a bad day. Terrible, even, but Missouri junior punter Matt Hoenes didn’t expect this. Missouri’s updated depth chart, released Monday, showed that sophomore Adam Crossett moved ahead of Hoenes and will handle the punting duties.
Hickman softball pitcher Taylor Cowan and Helias pitcher Lauren Delany had to wait half an hour before facing off because of lightning. But that didn’t slow either pitcher down.
Mo Redmond, a freshman midfielder for the MU women’s soccer team, was named Big 12 Conference Newcomer of the Week on Tuesday. She recorded five points in victories this weekend against Arkansas State and Iowa.
Senior Tim Ross won his first Big 12 Conference Runner of the Week award Tuesday. Ross won the Missouri Cross Country Challenge on Saturday for the second straight year and third time in his career.
The Bruins beat Jefferson City 8-1 Tuesday. Jefferson City’s only win came at No. 1 singles, where Shelby Penno defeated Karla Kruse 6-3, 3-6 (11-9). The other five singles matches all ended in the Bruins’ favor. Kruse bounced back in doubles for the Bruins, as she teamed up with Ashley Miles to beat Penno and Rachel Hazelwood 8-1. Rock Bridge swept the doubles matches.
Missouri volleyball seniors Lisa Boyd, Shen Danru, and Lindsey Hunter have been climbing the Missouri record book for the past three seasons. This season they will likely reach the top. Shen, Hunter, and Boyd have led the team to three consecutive NCAA tournaments, a No. 10 national ranking, and could break as many as eight career records.
The Missouri women’s golf team finished third at the Badger Invitational at the University Ridge Golf Course in Madison, Wis. on Monday, shooting a three-round total of 898.
Ben Loeb saw the future play out before his eyes on Monday. He was impressed with what he saw.