Missouri's freshmen class includes four quality, very intelligent, offensive linemen. Recently, ShowMeMizzou.com spoke with one of them, Taylor Chappell 6'5" 285, who has been seeing some action at right tackle with the second-team offense. Chappell talked about fall camp, and getting started at Missouri.
"It's been an experience," said Chappell. "Just getting out here, working hard every day. Going against guys who are just another level stronger and faster than they were back in high school. Just getting adjusted to the speed of the game, and the physicality of the game. So far, it's been going pretty good."
Chappell said that adapting to the physical size and speed is about half of the battle.
"That's probably 50% of it," explained Chappell. "The other half is learning a completely new playbook, and all of the fundamentals we go through. Just working technique. So, it's about 50-50 on that."
I asked Chappell how he's done with the daily grind of camp.
"For me, just the grind isn't that bad," replied Chappell. "Because, I'm only going one way now. Back in high school, I was playing both ways, so I never really got a break. So, it's not too bad."
Chappell ran a 5.1 second forty in high school, but said that he thinks he's faster now. He posted a 29" vertical jump this summer. And, he put up 16 reps at 225 pounds in the bench press.
"I definitely need to get stronger," said the former basketball player, who cited his athleticism and his intelligence as his major assets on the football field.
"There's a long list of stuff that I need to keep working on," laughed Chappell, in reply to my question about what he needs to do to get better. "I've just got to keep working on my fundamentals. Just like coach says every day, fundamentals are what's going to get us there. Everything else will come along the way."
With the injuries that Missouri incurred along the offensive line, Chappell has taken advantage of the opportunity to get additional work. He's worked with the third and fourth team, at right tackle and left tackle, and late in camp was splitting reps at right tackle on the second unit. He's comfortable playing on either the left side or the right side.
"You've just got to be able to play on both sides," said Chappell. "You've just got to be able to be versatile, and know every spot on the line. Because you never know when you're going to have to step in there. I'll play wherever the coaches want me to."
Chappell is very athletic, and appears to h
ave a very solid perspective, work ethic, and attitude.
"I just need to keep working on my fundamentals," concluded Chappell. "Just keep drilling them until they're just instinct. You know, just keep getting stronger, keep getting used to the playbook; know all of the calls. Just try and help out however I can."