Fall Report: MissouriAnalysis
It won’t be easy, but Missouri hopes new head coach Steve Bieser can bring back that winning feeling sooner rather than later.
For the final few years in the Big 12 Conference, the Tigers had established themselves as one of the better programs in the conference. And most importantly, a postseason mainstay. Mizzou made the NCAA tournament in eight of its final 10 seasons in the league. But their situation has been vastly different since joining the rugged Southeastern Conference.
Not only has Missouri been a total non-factor in the SEC standings, it also hasn’t been back to the postseason. As a matter of fact, the Tigers won just 16 games their first two years in the conference, while not doing much better the past two seasons.
That’s partly why the Tigers have a new direction in Bieser. While the Tigers struggled up the road in Columbia, the heralded mid-major head coach was building an Ohio Valley Conference monster with back-to-back-to-back conference crowns, along with prolific offenses, something Missouri lacked oh so much during the same time span.
“Overall, I didn’t enter the fall with very many expectations for this club. I didn’t want to put may limitations on this club based on just how the team look on paper,” Bieser said. “To me, it was very concerning that we were one of the worst offensive and defensive teams in the league. There were a few things this team did well – we threw strikes and didn’t give up may walks, but that’s about it.
“I think the biggest thing for this team is defining who we are as an offense and what our approach needs to be,” he continued. “If we expect to bring the slugging mentality we had at SEMO, we’d be making a huge mistake in this league. Those things don’t happen much in the SEC and we need to tailor our approach to what the league typically entails.”
From an offensive perspective, the Tigers hope to improve their team batting average and overall production without many of their leading hitters from last year’s club, though, returnees such as Trey Harris have taken big steps forward this fall.
There’s some hope for Mizzou from a pitching perspective. Righthander Tanner Houck gives them a true front-line ace capable of shutting anyone out, while imposing righty Bryce Montes de Oca showed some promise with his power arm this fall and others also shined at times.
“The lack of depth kind of scares me with this club, but we’re pretty healthy right now, and if we can stay that way, I think we’ve got a chance to do some things,” he said. “We’re making some good strides, but in the end, I don’t want to put any expectations or limitations on these guys.”
Here’s our inside scoop on Missouri after fall workouts.
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