It was apparent watching the Oklahoma State game that the Cougar linebacking corps was a problem. Losing middle linebacker Louis Bland -- probably the surest tackler on the team -- hurts this team more than any other injury has this year. Our middle linebackers were pushed around and it created a gaping hole in the middle of the defense. In a defense that relies on the play of its linebackers, that simply cannot happen.
All hope isn't lost, however. C.J. Mizell was a bright spot and showed exactly why the coaching staff was high on him in the short amount of time he was on the field Saturday. He's not assignment-sound --nor did we expect him to be -- but he has the raw talent to make plays.
At one point duing the game, Mizell threw an Oklahoma State running back down -- literally grabbed him with one arm and tossed him to the ground -- and stood over him as if to say "that's all you got?" Later, Mizell missed a tackle, got up, recovered and made the tackle five yards down the field. These are the kind of things we need to see out of the Cougar linebackers.
Start Mizell. In fact, start him this week and just let him go. Let him get his feet wet and work out the kinks at game-speed against Montana State and see what happens. Getting reps in practice will only go so far for him right now and letting him run around in a game may be exactly what he needs.
The coaching staff has always said they want to get the most talented players on the field. Mizell is one of those talented players. If understanding of the scheme is the only thing holding him back, he can overcome that with his size and speed until his brain catches up.
During the game, Jeff remarked that Mizell looked like a guy that hadn't played football in a year and just wanted to hit people. The Cougars need someone like that right now and adding him to the mix can only help a defense that got lit up by the Cowboys. It's time for Mizell to start.