MU's new offense is old stuff for Lobos

Friday, September 9, 2005

The Tigers' spread offense will undergo a stiffer test on Saturday.

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- While Missouri's offense thrived in its season opener, the Tigers may find it difficult to achieve similar results in Saturday night's game against New Mexico.

The Tigers have a new spread offense, but it isn't so new to New Mexico. The Lobos play against teams like Utah and UNLV, both teams that run a spread offense similar to Missouri.

Missouri coach Gary Pinkel even sought advice from the Utah coaching staff in the offseason, and said the Lobos have done a good job against spread offenses.

"Were not going to surprise them with anything," Pinkel said.

That'll be a switch from Saturday, when quarterback Brad Smith threw four touchdown passes in the 44-17 victory over Arkansas State.

With 657 total offensive yards, the team was just eight yards shy of the school record.

Pinkel said the team did good things against Arkansas State, but the competition is going to get greater. He noted New Mexico is "a real good football team that's been to three bowls in a row."

The Lobos have to contend with Missouri's big wide receivers. Most are 6-foot-2 or taller and weigh more than 200 pounds. New Mexicos biggest cornerback is Jerrell Malone at 6-1 and 189 pounds.

However, Missouri could be without its biggest wide receiver threat, Sean Coffey.

Coffey had four catches for 82 yards against Arkansas State but injured his shoulder in the second quarter. An MRI on Tuesday revealed no structural damage, but he is considered doubtful for Saturday's game.

Meanwhile, the Tigers hope to take advantage of the Lobos' quick turnaround. New Mexico is playing on four days rest after beating UNLV 24-22 on Monday.

New Mexico coach Rocky Long practiced on the team's day off and ran shorter practices with less hitting as a result.

"I really believe if we took them out there and practiced like we normally do, we wouldnt have a chance because we would be dead-legged," Long said. "[Missouri] would be so much quicker and faster than us, and we wouldnt have a chance to compete."

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