Tony Palmer is the lone returning starter from last season's offensive line, a unit that paved the way for Missouri backs to gain 3,087 yards on the ground.
Still, Palmer is anything but distraught. He is now the anchor of a line that includes two seniors and two redshirt freshmen. The latter pair has the difficult job of replacing A.J. Ricker and Rob Droege, stalwarts of the offensive line for several seasons. The rapid development of Adam Spieker and Tyler Luellen has the coaching staff excited and the offensive line confident.
Palmer spoke about the development of the freshmen and the retooled offense at Monday's media session. Here is a sampling of his comments.
On the development of the offensive line: "The offensive line is coming along very well, especially Tyler Luellen and Adam Spieker. They've done great stepping into the roles of A.J. Ricker and Rob Droege. I'm just really impressed with them and how far they've come along so far in the process."
On Brad Smith: "He makes something happen out of nothing. It's amazing, just watching him do the things like that. You never know what he's going to do."
On the depth of the backfield: "It's good. I mean…it's great. You have great tailbacks back there. You even have a freshman, Tony Temple, who looked really good. I don't know how the depth goes; I'm just blocking. Whoever's running past me, I'm happy for them."
On Temple's play in practice: "He's doing great. I've been impressed with him."
On the camaraderie of the offensive line: "It's great. It's a great atmosphere. We've got a great bond between us right now. Tyler Luellen and Adam Spieker, I'm just really impressed with them and how they stepped up into those roles. The line's looking great right now. It's real impressive."
On the play of Spieker and Luellen: "They don't play like freshmen at all. They're real strong, fast, physical players. That's just telling you how the coaches are recruiting. They're doing a great job."
On the expectations for Spieker and Luellen: "We just expect them to continue to get better. That's all we can do."