During the early part of spring practice, sophomore OT Chris Freeman 6'8" 323 has been lining up at right tackle with the second-team offense, and has been getting quite a bit of work with the first team. He took a few minutes after practice to visit with ShowMeMizzou.com and he updated us on how things are going for him.
Freeman said that he's working hard to get ready to play, when he is needed.
"They're giving me a chance to see what I've got, throwing me in there, to make sure that I know the plays and everything, just to get it under my belt, just to get some reps with the ones," explained Freeman. "I've been working hard. I'm ready. Hopefully, I'm going to play. I'm just here to do whatever they want me to do, wherever they need me."
Freeman talked about how the veteran offensive linemen are constantly working with him and the other young guys to make sure that they're ready to play.
"They're trying to get me and Taylor (Chappell) ready to play," explained Freeman. "They say, "you've got to be ready to go!". They just make sure that you know what you're doing……………………………………….. It's kind of like you've got no choice but to be ready,"
I reminded Freeman of his first fall camp at Missouri, in August of 2010. He let out a big sigh, and shook his head as he remembered those afternoons in the heat and humidity.
"Oh man! Hurtin'! Hurtin, man! Hurtin'," said Freeman, shaking his head as he remembered, the pain momentarily revisiting his face in the memory.
It's a different Chris Freeman that stood on the field in front of me. I asked him what went into that transformation.
"The main thing was a lot of sacrifice," admitted Freeman. "One of the things that Coach Pinkel says about this team is that you've got to sacrifice, and you've got to be accountable for the team. That goes to eating right, doing things on my own in the weight room, extra conditioning and things like that. Our strength coach, Coach Ivey is one of the best in the country! He knows what he's doing! And he did a great job with me, as you can see. I came in at 389 pounds. Now, I'm at 323 pounds."
Freeman reported some testing numbers from this spring, although he claimed to have tested on a bad ankle. His test results included a 5.4 forty, a 32" vertical jump, and an 8'10" broad jump.
It's a much more confident Chris Freeman that I talked to this spring. He went on to talk about playing on an offensive line that paved the way in 2011 for an outstanding rushing attack.
"It is a big responsibility, because our offensive line last year gave Henry Josey and Kendial Lawrence time to run," said Freeman. "They gave them holes, and the opportunity to make big plays. We're basically just trying to fill in right where they left off, and keep it going from there."