One losing season should not overshadow Yost’s impact at Mizzou

Assistant coach and offensive coordinator David Yost. August 11, 2012 on Faurot Field. Photo by Karen Mitchell

Assistant coach and offensive coordinator David Yost during practice on August 11, 2012, on Faurot Field. Photo by Karen Mitchell

I shouldn’t write at times like this. Really, it’s a bad idea. But, dammit, the opportunity presents itself, so it’s time for a little spleen venting.

I’d already thought I needed to discuss the reaction of some within the MU fan community to the past season — in particular those who seemed to think it was the fault of the Tigers’ excellent coaching and staff and not the fact that the team had no healthy quarterback or offensive linemen and played the second-toughest schedule in the entire country.

Then, this week, we get the news that offensive coordinator David Yost has resigned. I knew better than to go to the sewer of online message boards to see reaction there, but even on my Facebook page and conversation around a few people I know, I’ve seen this celebrated as good news. I’ll say this just as I said it on my Facebook—if you think this is good news, either you don’t know much about football, or you must have enjoyed what Tiger football was prior to the 2000 season.

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Darren Hellwege, Sports Commentator

Missouri hasn’t just had a few good seasons since 2000, it has been one of the most consistent winners in the nation, and David Yost is a big reason why.  His recruiting excellence cannot be overstated. Missouri recruited far better since Pinkel came to town with Yost serving in the position of recruiting coordinator.

Before this staff arrived in Columbia the top football talent in St. Louis rarely came to Mizzou. There was a bad situation here, with high school coaches in the region not trusting the people who came from MU and athletes not viewing it as a place they wanted to be.

Getting this turned around wasn’t a small task, or an unimportant one.

Pinkel and company brought in names that helped make a winning football program here. From the early days and guys like Zach Abron and Damien Nash to the days of Jeremy Maclin and Blaine Gabbert to today’s Sheldon Richardson and future stars like Donavin Newsom and Marcus Golden. It’s hard to imagine Missouri football’s restoration without getting the relationship between Mizzou and St. Louis mended. Each assistant coach is assigned a specific geographic area upon which to focus.

Yost’s? Eastern Missouri and the St. Louis region.

Add to that the area in which Yost is most recognized — his ability to develop quarterbacks. When the name “Brad Smith” was first heard around Mizzou, there couldn’t have been many who thought they were looking at the greatest dual-threat QB in college football history. But that’s what Smith became. Smith was the first QB in NCAA football history to throw for more than 8,000 yards and pass for more than 4,000.

Then he turned Chase Daniel into one of the greats of the game, and a Heisman finalist. By the time he finished at MU Daniel held most of the passing records in school history. The teams he led in 2007 and 2008 won more games than teams in consecutive years at any point in Mizzou history, and nationally trailed only Oklahoma and Southern California in wins during that period.

Yost then turned to Blaine Gabbert in just two years as a starter into the NFL’s No. 10 draft pick. Small surprise that all three of these quarterback prodigies of Yost’s are still wearing NFL uniforms: Smith in Buffalo, Daniel in New Orleans and Gabbert in Jacksonville. Yost is also largely responsible for a good season from James Franklin in 2011 and flashes of strong play, in spite of a number of injury problems, this season.

It’ll be a loss for James, and for the quarterbacks of the near future—whether it’s Corbin Berkstresser, Maty Mauk, Trent Hosick or Eddie Printz—that Yost won’t be coaching them. There are differences between the SEC and the Big 12, but one thing is true about football in any conference and at any level from peewee to the NFL— it’s real hard to win without a good quarterback. And it’s hard to name any coach in college ball who’s developed quarterbacks better than Yost has over his years at Mizzou.

Yost’s ability as offensive coordinator has been questioned by some this season, but this is the same guy whose offenses were among the most explosive in the nation the three previous seasons. Some say the spread offense he helped perfect at Missouri wouldn’t work in the SEC, forgetting that Auburn won the SEC and a National Championship just two seasons ago running a very similar type offense. Some may think Missouri’s success offensively was just about passing, but the Tigers had the top rushing attack in the Big 12 in 2011.

And there’s another part of Yost’s game that some may not be aware of. He’s also coached the Tiger kickers over the years. Jeff Wolfert set an NCAA accuracy record, and Grant Resell was an All-American, first team.

I agree with the words of Gary Pinkel last week, when he said he was glad expectations are so high and that he was glad Tiger fans were upset and frustrated with the lack of success the Tigers found in 2012. But that it turned into bashing coaches is foolish.

Missouri used to have some pretty poor teams. Then, under Larry Smith, they had a couple of pretty good teams. There was a point during the first few years under Pinkel that I started telling people, “This is no longer about having good teams, this is about having a good program.” I think we can all understand the difference.

And a big reason for that has been the excellence and remarkable consistency among the coaching staff, including Yost. Missouri suffered through seven frustrating losses in 2012, and this week the program suffered another loss. This program is not as strong as it was 24 hours ago, and David Yost’s loss is a big one for Tiger football.

It’s a pity that in frustration about those games the Tigers lost some fans are mistakenly calling for change, any change, and celebrating Yost’s resignation as good news. This is anything but good news. Anyone who cares about Missouri football owes David Yost a debt of gratitude, and respect to stop the snotty comments celebrating his resignation.

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