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Story ran on October 15, 1995

LINCOLN, Neb. -- The coronation of Corby Jones took second billing to what
degenerated into a royal flush of the Missouri Tigers yesterday.

As bad as it got -- the Tigers were shut out for the second straight week,
this time 57-0 by second-ranked Nebraska -- and as utterly preposterous as it
sounds, the seeds of success might have put down a root or two amid this
shambles of a football game.

The operative word is root, as in a vital organ that cannot be seen.

No question, an able-minded observer could not have watched the crimes against
football that the Tigers committed yesterday and come away with more than one
or two positive morsels. They caught a couple of passes, made a couple of
first downs. These days, that's what counts as a small victory around the MU

Real victories, the ones that make or break coaches' jobs and feed starving
fans, are a ways off. Who knows how far. It's possible that the Tigers won't
win another game this season.

So we dissect the games even further, looking for some semblance of progress.

Yesterday, progress checked in with 7:07 left in the second quarter, and he
was wearing No. 7.

Jones, who one year ago as the Hickman High quarterback was preparing to play
Rock Bridge, played 23 snaps that gained 22 yards against the defending
national champion. Forgettable numbers. But burning Jones' redshirt signals
coach Larry Smith's insistence to hurry the future, and for now progress is
defined simply as exposing Jones to Big Eight defenses.

The ability is there. Jones just needs experience and knowledge of the

Jones rated his debut as not great. ``I didn't put any points on the board,''
he said.

He only had five series to try. Smith had pasted a handle-with-care label on
Jones' involvement.

As much as the goose eggs eat at Smith, he sees what might be with Jones and
his versatility.

The Tigers broke out substantial use of the option for the first time in seven
years. Jones mostly kept the ball on those plays and kept his first drive
alive for more than six minutes. The coaches didn't feel that Jones was ready
for the passing game. That's in the works, though.

``I think you'll see him playing the rest of the year,'' Smith said. ``I'm not
saying he's going to be the starter.'' Smith said he will ``go into a game
with Corby and one of the other two that are pretty well going to be the

The other two quarterbacks are deposed starter Brandon Corso and yesterday's
starter Kent Skornia, both of whom declined to be interviewed after the game.

Jones was not ready to start his first collegiate game in a cauldron like
Nebraska's Memorial Stadium. But when the team returned to Columbia from a
30-0 pasting at Kansas State last Saturday night, Smith felt Jones was ready
to at least play. With tears in his eyes, Jones thanked his coach for his
faith in him and the opportunity.

Jones' father Curtis, who also is Missouri's running backs coach, had a
heart-to-heart with his son this week. Dad's message: Take advantage of the
opportunity and stiff-arm the distractions.

As he was about to leave the locker room, Jones noticed his father in an empty
room. Corby joined him and took his hand as they prayed together. A hug and an
encouraging word later, Corby was on his way to the field flanked by a
supportive Corso.

``I felt real good. I felt like I was prepared as far as I needed to be
mentally,'' Jones said.

The overriding feeling within the program is that Jones is prepared to ascend.
How quickly is up to him.

``I definitely think Corby can be, has the potential to be the whole entire
offense,'' senior noseguard Steve Martin said. ``He's got the ability. He can
run. He can pass. He can scramble. He's got a good head on his shoulders. The
only thing right now is he's got to get his experience.''

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