After a 1-5 start to the season, the Missouri Tigers were fortunate to be in the Texas Bowl. That good fortune was created in large part to an offense that found its top-gear during the second-half of the season. Bowl games are fickle beasts though. So when Texas beat Missouri 33-16, it wasn’t a complete surprise. The attention that players give these non-championship level bowl games is always questionable and, at times, the focus of the coaching staff can be questioned. And that’s just what Missouri’s Marcell Frazier did. He questioned coaching loyalty.
Frazier’s defensive squad played well enough to win this game. If anyone had room to call anyone out, it was a member of the Missouri defense. But Frazier was out of line when calling out now-departed offensive coordinator Josh Heupel, offensive line coach Glen Elarbee and, when we get right down to it, the entire offensive side of the ball under the leadership of interim offensive coordinator Joe Jon Finley.
Back in June, Frazier announced that he wouldn’t grant interviews to the local Missouri media this season over treatment that he perceived to be harsh and unfair. We not only heard nothing from Frazier via local beats but heard very little from him nationally. That all changed once Texas beat Frazier’s Tigers.
For Frazier to have placed a self-imposed gag order on himself over critical members of the media only to throw former coaches, current coaches, and teammates under the bus is classless. I know, in his own words, he’s just a teenage boy (but not really), but he positioned himself to be as mature, if not more mature than many of the adults in his life. Not so.
As a fan, I don’t like Heupel and Elarbee leaving the program when they did. But I get it. Just as Frazier said, college football is a business and coaches move around looking for new opportunities that will further their careers. We all know the nature of the business and that includes the players. Heupel and Elarbee left at the worst possible time. Get over it. The timing of their departures was no excuse for Frazier to lob his verbal grenades at Joe Jon Finley and the offense.
All year Missouri fans heard about the toxic locker room atmosphere that Barry Odom had inherited from Gary Pinkel. We heard about a few bad apples who didn’t have the best interests of the team at heart. When Odom kicked players off of the team or had players transfer out, Missouri fans were sold on the idea that the culture was being cleaned up. Maybe these guys were toxic, maybe they weren’t. But this is what we were sold on.
I’ll say this. As good as Frazier was on the field, his attitude should be called into question. If he was willing to publicly say what he said about everyone associated with Missouri’s offense, then I have to wonder what he was saying behind closed doors. Maybe we’d have a hint of Frazier’s attitude if he wouldn’t have been hiding from the media all year. That is until he was ready to attempt to publicly humiliate teammates and coaches.
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E-mail Seth at seth [dot] merenbloom [at] campuspressbox [dot] com
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