The Missouri Tigers have looked solid on the field. QB Blaine Gabbert has the early signs of a first round quarterback, young receivers are starting to step up and there are reasons for optimism moving forward in the Big 12 North.
The offseason, though, is making it very hard on Mizzou.
Mizzou's assistant coach, Bruce Walker, was coming back from the Lake of the Ozarks on the first weekend of August. The full details have yet to come out but the story we're putting together is that Walker had called a taxi to pick him up and was loading coolers into the back of his car. When police came up, he was "behind the wheel of a running car," they say, and arrested him for DWI. It's one thing for young, stupid players to be arrested for driving under the influence. But to have a coach do it puts Gary Pinkel in a very, very difficult situation. If Walker is convicted, he needs to come down hard on him.
Walker has yet to be charged with a crime.
Mizzou's reserve linebacker Will Ebner kept MU in the headlines for the wrong reasons a couple weeks later when he was arrested for DWI early on a Sunday morning.
Ebner’s eyes were bloodshot and glassy and his speech was incoherent, according to the arrest report. He admitted he had been drinking and was cooperative, O’Sullivan said.
His status for the season opener against Illinois will be determined this week. He has not been charged with a crime at this point.
Then there's Derrick Washington. Last week he was shockingly suspended "indefinitely" by head coach Gary Pinkel. There was no official explanation given by the team but it was later revealed Washington was being accused of sexual assault. Again, with no official word from Mizzou we don't know how they're going to react to this.
But here we sit a week from Mizzou's home opener and Washington's situation is far from settled so we have to assume he won't be available week one.
That's just all the off the field problems.
The day the Washington suspension was announced, Mizzou senior CB Munir Prince was carted off the field with a neck injury. It looked serious (as all neck injuries do) but the most recent news is very positive. Still, a scary moment there for Mizzou.
Mizzou's injury situation continues. LB Donovan Bonner tore his ACL and is done for the year. WR Jerrell Jackson was injured during camp and is questionable for the season opener. Safety Jarrell Harrison also suffered an injury that makes him questionable for week one.