Thanks to Wyatt Wheeler with the Springfield News-Leader for taking the time to help us get to know the Missouri State Bears.
Quarterback Jason Shelley will be making the start for the Bears on Saturday. What can you tell us about that QB room/situation and why do you think Shelley was able to earn his spot as starter?
Shelley is further along in being able to read defenses while the other quarterbacks in the room are a little younger. Jaden Johnson started some games last season as a redshirt freshman and had some struggles taking care of the ball and getting the ball out quickly. Shelley came in Day 1 and took control of the offense. He’s a good athlete with a good enough arm. He’s able to run what Petrino wants to run and can allow the other quarterbacks to develop behind him.
2. Oklahoma State brings a lot to the table from a defensive stand point. Are there any weapons the Bears have offensively that may give the Cowboy’s fit?
Missouri State’s offense is going to be a bit different than it was in the spring. The Bears completely revamped their receivers group and are going to give some new looks that they haven’t shown since Petrino arrived when the spring offense was more run-oriented and conservative while playing to the strength of the team which is the defense. Going into the fall, we’re going to see the Bears take more shots down the field and likely see an offense more similar to the one he ran at Louisville instead of the one we saw just a few months back.
3. Bobby Petrino is in his second year as head coach for Missouri State. How are fans feeling about the hire and is there anything that’s stood out to you as far as changes in the program since he took over.
There’s an excitement around the football program for the first time since I’ve been here. He led the Bears to the postseason for the first time since 1990 back in the spring. The Bears went from a 1-10 team to a playoff team with a lot of the same players. We’re now seeing a higher level of recruiting than ever before. There’s a new-found hope that even better days than those are ahead.
4. The Bears are 0-8 against the Cowboys in this series. What do you think the Bears will have to do to get their first win?
They’re going to have to win the turnover margin by a few. Bears would have to keep it to a low-scoring game and hope the Cowboys make a few mistakes while the Bears have to limit theirs as well.
5. What are some names on this Missouri State team they OSU fans need to know.
- Kevin Ellis, DE — Ellis is the top pass-rusher on the Bears’ defense that improved from nine sacks in 2019 to 27 in 2020-21. Ellis has the potential to be one of the better defenders in the Missouri Valley Football Conference this season.
- Montrae Braswell, CB — Braswell was the Bears’ lone representative as a First Team All-MVFC player a season ago. The Central Michigan transfer was a lockdown corner who is also a threat to take a ball to the house in the return game.
- Damoriea Vick, WR — The Bears overhauled their wide receiver room going into the 2021 season, but their top target from a year ago will continue to be the quarterback’s best friend going into this season. He’s a good route runner, he’s got good hands and he’s capable of breaking tackles to create some extra yards after the catch.
6.) score prediction
Oklahoma State 45-10