Thoughts Of Spring: Running Back

Injuries plagued the running back position for Mizzou this spring.

This spring, Missouri senior tailback Russell Hansbrough continued to show the same form that carried him to over a thousand yards rushing in 2014. During the spring scrimmages, behind what can best be described as a somewhat makeshift offensive line, Hansbrough averaged over 7 yards/carry. And most importantly, he emerged from Spring Football in good health. Mission accomplished.

Hansbrough’s spring was in sharp contrast to that of the rest of the Missouri corps of running backs.

The projected number two tailback, junior Morgan Steward, missed all of last season with a hip injury that required post-season surgery, and he also missed the entirety of Spring Football. According to Coach Pinkel, he’s expected to make a full recovery and be ready in time for fall camp.

The Tigers number three TB is sophomore Ish Witter, the only other experienced running back on the Missouri roster. He remained healthy throughout the spring, but during the spring scrimmages, he struggled to get across the line of scrimmage, and he finished the spring averaging less than a yard per carry during the scrimmages.

With Steward out, red-shirt freshman Trevon Walters began the spring as the number three tailback. But early in the spring, Walters tore an ACL, and he missed the rest of the spring. He could be back in September, but he’ll miss fall camp, as well.

Tyler Hunt took advantage of the injury situation, and he demonstrated his ability to hit the hole and run hard. This spring, he was the Tigers second-best running back.

At the conclusion of the spring, it was Hansbrough, and then all hands on deck. It’s my opinion that the Tigers need at least three running backs ready to play in a tailback rotation. After Hansbrough, the position is wide open, and it sets up some serious competition for a couple of spots this fall from among any and all healthy backs.

Post-Spring TB Depth

32 Russell Hansbrough 5’9” 190 (S) 21 Ish Witter 5’8” 195 (So) 35 Tyler Hunt 5’11” 215 (S) 24 Miles Drummond 5’11” 215 (J) 40 Andrew Stevens 5’9” 195 (J) 46 Stephen Blakely 5’11” 225 (So) 36 Morgan Steward 6’0” 210 (J) (injured) 20 Trevon Walters 5’10” 210 (F) (injured)

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