COLUMBIA, Mo. — The big news from the first University of Missouri football practice of the season on Thursday afternoon was the loss of a key offensive lineman.
Nate Crawford, a junior offensive lineman who started eight games a year ago, will not play this season because of back issues.
“Nate went through a couple of different back procedures as everybody is aware of that,” Missouri coach Barry Odom said, “and here in the last few days sit down with the medical staff again and decided it was best probably at this time — he had made some progress but to get back — for him long term best that he’s medically retired.”
Crawford was the Tigers’ most experienced offensive lineman. He started games at left guard and right tackle last season.
ODOM ADDRESSES DISMISSALS
Brady was dismissed because of a violation of team rules, while Brantley will not be with the team because of academic issues.
“I feel that I want everybody in our program I want to have an opportunity to provide them the chance to be successful,” Odom said. “I’m excited about the guys we’ve got out here today and I wish Harold and Walter nothing but the best. They’ve done a good job with their time at Missouri and I wish them nothing but the best.”
Odom said the departures will give other guys a chance to step up.
“When you have a change in your roster you look at the other guys, the importance of them stepping up,” he said. “I think it’s naive of me to go in and say we’re set at this position or that position because you can walk out here and turn an ankle period one and be out for a while.
“So it’s up to us as coaches on getting our guys ready to go play, the urgency for those guys to step up that maybe weren’t being mentioned all the time. What a great opportunity for them.”
OL OWEN OUT, HARRIS LIMITED
Another offensive lineman, Tanner Owen, was out of practice.
“Tanner’s going through a couple things,” Odom said. “I’ll get a medical report here after we get finished finishing up some things. He’s got a couple things going on with Rex (Sharp, the team’s head athletic trainer) from that side of it. I don’t have a timetable on it yet. I’ll know more tonight.”
Owen, a 6-foot-5, 280-pound redshirt freshman, was expected to compete with junior college transfer Tyler Howell for the left tackle spot.
A.J. Harris, a 6-4, 285-pound redshirt freshman, was wearing a red jersey in practice on Thursday as a sign he was limited in what he was able to do.
“Harris had a procedure on his wrist a couple weeks ago and so was limited on some of the things he can do,” Odom said. “We don’t want to rush it, but for him to get back out today and do some work was great and I think it will continue to do a little bit more as we go.”
The roster distributed on Thursday included a new name, which was good news for the Tigers’ injury-depleted offensive line.
Michael Stannard, a 6-foot-2, 290-pound offensive lineman, attended Rock Bridge High School in Columbia and then played 35 games in three seasons at the University of Memphis.
“He graduated from Memphis,” Odom said. “We’re waiting on a transcript with him to get finished up, so he’s not with our program yet. But hopefully we’ll do so quickly. He finished up all the academic things that he needed to get finished up there and we’re waiting on the transcript to be processed.”
Stannard started one game at left guard for Memphis last season.
“He’s joining the program and he’s gonna do a great job in his role,” Odom said.
Redshirt freshman Tyrell Jacobs moved from defensive end to offensive line for spring practices after injuries and attrition depleted the depth for the Tigers up front.
Now Jacobs has moved back to the defense for this season.
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