On Thursday, the Missouri Tigers continued Spring Football 2014 with two-and-a-half-hour practice on Faurot Field. Again, enthusiasm ran high. Everyone is looking forward to practicing in pads on Friday.
Following practice, Offensive Coordinator Josh Henson talked about the very early stages of putting together the offensive line. He said that junior center Evan Boehm is the one offensive lineman who is not moving around this spring. Everyone else is subject to moving around, although Coach Henson said that he's comfortable with making Mitch Morse's move to left tackle permanent.
"I'm real comfortable with Mitch Morse playing left tackle," explained Coach Henson. "He played left tackle in high school, and sometimes guys are just more comfortable on one side than they are on the other. He's gotten better, too. But, I think he's just more comfortable on the left side."
Coach Henson wasn't sure whether or not he wants to leave Connor McGovern at right tackle or move him back to guard.
"I don't know," admitted Coach Henson. "We're going to see how that goes."
However, he did say that he likes what he's seen so far across the offensive front. It sounds like he thinks he has his center and left tackle. The other three spots are yet to be determined, although certainly McGovern will man one of those spots. Coach Henson said that he thinks they have the pieces to put together a quality offensive line.
"We've just got to continue to build depth," said Coach Henson, talking about the offensive line. "But, I think we're going to have enough there. And I think we've just got to continue to build depth there."
Coach Henson went on to talk about some of those "pieces".
"I think Jordan Williams is really doing well," explained Coach Henson. "I think his strength has really improved, and I think he's really dedicated himself to getting better in his technique."
"Alec Abeln is still developing his strength," said Coach Henson, who said that there's been some discussion of possibly playing Abeln at guard, in addition to center. "I think he's still getting there, but athletically, I think he's got a lot of potential. I think he can be a really good football player."
"I think that maybe after the summer, Clay Rhodes might be there," said Coach Henson, referring to Rhodes having the physical strength necessary to play in the SEC. "I think he's getting there. I think you can probably categorize all of those young guys like that. They're athletic. They've got a lot of potential. They've got to develop the strength and physicality."
Coach Henson didn't mention the two other current first team offensive linemen, Anthony Gatti and Mitch Hall, but that was because the discussion was quickly directed toward talking about the younger guys and building depth. Undoubtedly, their inclusion with the first team offense to begin the spring places them right in the middle of the competition for a starting job.
Coach Henson also said of freshman offensive lineman Michael Fairchild, "for a true freshman, he's looking pretty good".
Coach Henson emphasized that it's early, but he certainly conveyed the sense that he's confident that they have the personnel in place to rebuild Missouri's offensive line. In fact, his focus seemed to be more in the direction of building depth.