On Thursday, the Missouri Tigers took to Faurot Field in shells for what amounted to a dress rehearsal in preparation for Saturday's Black & Gold Spring Game.
Minus a few injured players who will miss Saturday's spring finale, the full squad went through an organized pre-game ritual as they continued to prepare for Saturday's gala. For many first-year players, Saturday will be their first game-type experience since high school, which for nearly one-fourth of the squad was almost a year-and-a-half ago.
Again, minus a few injured players, the Depth Chart appears to be set for the Spring Game and heading into the summer.
On Saturday, in the absence of potential starting LBs Kentrell Brothers and Donavin Newsom, it looks like Michael Scherer and Clarence Green will man the starting LB positions, as Missouri will likely open up with their nickel personnel package.
If you're watching the Spring Game, a couple of guys to watch are DT Josh Augusta and DE Charles Harris. A little more than two weeks after he switched positions from corner to safety, Anthony Sherrils has quickly advanced, and he is working with the second-team defense.
The first-team offense has shown the ability to run the football very effectively, despite having their top two TBs banged up. Morgan Steward has taken advantage of the opportunity to demonstrate his abilities, and he'll undoubtedly see a lot of action on Saturday. The first-team offensive line is big and physical.
Coach Pinkel indicated that Missouri will probably utilize the tight end position in the passing game a little more this year. He named Sean Culkin and Jason Reese as capable receivers at that position.
"Sean Culkin is playing with a club on his hand right now," explained Coach Pinkel. "And, he's done a pretty good job through all of that. And you know, I think Jason Reese is a really good, young, athletic tight end. So, that's kind of exciting! And we've got something coming in. You know, there was a time that we played two tight ends and two wide receivers across the field. The neat thing about our offense is we can make adjustments. There's a lot things we're talking about looking at. We'll see how that works out. We've got a pretty creative staff."
There's a lot to like about this year's accumulation of players. Missouri Head Coach Gary Pinkel has previously identified the goal for this spring of getting as many players as possible ready to play this year. This week, he talked about the progress his team has made toward reaching that goal.
"I think we have a lot of guys, maybe that haven't made it, but they are a lot closer," said Coach Pinkel. "You know, we talked about that in a meeting. We're still evaluating guys to see if they are ready to play. Are you showing your teammates and are you showing your coaches, all the coaches, that I'm almost ready to play, or I am ready to play at this level? Or maybe with a great summer, I've got a chance to get up to that level."
Coach Pinkel said that "so far" he feels pretty good about the development of depth from this spring.
"That's always our challenge to do that," said Coach Pinkel.