Nash anxiously waiting

Many had Damien Nash tabbed as the Tiger newcomer who would have the biggest impact this season. So far, he has only had six carries a game, not exactly impact numbers. With the offense's biggest challenge, Nebraska's Blackshirts, on deck, Nash gets more and more anxious as time goes on.

Damien Nash isn't complaining yet, but you can see the frustration.

In five games, Nash has only had 32 carries, which he has rushed for 153 yards, almost five yards a carry. But it is also only six carries a game, hardly enough for Nash to make a difference, and hardly what Nash expected in his first season at Missouri.

"As far as performance, I think I'm going out there and performing fairly well," Nash said. "But with the amount of carries I'm getting, I don't think I can show too much and contribute enough."

Nash only had two carries in Missouri's biggest game yet, a 35-14 loss to Kansas on Sept. 27. It's a far cry from Nash's high school days, when he was the primary runner at Riverview Gardens and East St. Louis. Nash, maybe Pinkel's most celebrated recruit, has learned to change to backup role.

"It's very different," Nash said. "I guess I just have to wait my turn. Right now, it's not my turn."

He has had to wait his turn because Zack Abron is having another great season, rushing for 480 yards in the first game and looking like he will have his first 1,000-yard season of his career. If he did that, he would also break the Missouri all-time rushing record.

Abron was about the only thing Missouri's offense had working for it against Kansas. He rushed for 112 yards on 17 carries. Even with Abron's success, though, Pinkel said he has seen progress from Nash that could turn into more carries.

"I expect Damien to play more," Pinkel said. "He's getting better all the time. Zack obviously was playing well last week. I thought he played really well against Kansas, but I think Damien gets better each and every week. And as a total, the other thing is the blocking and all the other things he has to do.

"I'm pleased with his progress. I know he's anxious, and we expect to play him more and run him more."

Nash, though, couldn't help but change his mood to positive when he talked about the sellout for Missouri's home game against Nebraska on Saturday.

"Yeah, and it's on TBS," he said. "Everybody has TBS if you have cable. It's going to be a very exciting moment for me, just to see everyone out there. I still gotta go out there and not worry about the people out there."


Black & Gold Illustrated Top Stories