Throughout the Chase Daniel era at Mizzou, the Tigers' running game has been overlooked for the most part.
This season, Gary Pinkel will be counting on the talent at running back to help the young offense be as productive as they have been in the past.
The returning starter is junior Derrick Washington. He rushed for over 1,000 yards last year as a sophomore and also contributed in the passing game with 29 receptions, all with a hobbled leg.
Strengths: Has great hands out of the backfield and in the slot. He could be an every down back on this team, but this year it looks like he will have some help which will keep his very quick legs fresh. Timed speed is a 4.5 40-yard dash, but he plays even quicker on the field. He is great at making defenders miss.
Weaknesses: He has improved on running between the tackles and lowering his shoulders, but it is still an area of concern.
Because of Derrick Washington's injury that kept him out of the early part of spring practice, De'Vion Moore has had every opportunity to show what he can bring to the table while running with the first team.
Moore has seized this opportunity and been one of the breakout players this spring.
Strengths: Moore is a very shifty runner that gives the defense fits when they are trying to wrap him up. He has good field vision and has been using that to break off some long runs this season. He runs behind his blockers very well.
Once he gets in the open field you can say good-bye because of his superb quickness.
Weaknesses: One thing that is working against Moore is his height. Even though it has been proven time and time again that you don't have to be tall to contribute to a football team, don't expect Moore to be taking a lot of snaps from Derrick Washington.
Shawn Scott is the senior of this group.
Good: This senior back has been seeing a lot of time in the slot during spring practice and he has looked very comfortable there. He is quick to the outside and can make plays once he gets there.
Bad: You wont see Scott running anybody over, but he won't need to do that as Missouri's 3rd string back.
Gilbert Moye was a 4-star athlete recruit coming out of high school who decided to play safety as a freshman.
This season, a spot at running back opened up when Drew Temple quit the team and Moye eagerly took up the coaches offer to become a running back. Now he will try to learn the ins and outs of being a running back during spring and summer practice.
Good: Moye is very athletic and can make plays at any position on the field. He is a physical specimen (6-2, 215) and will put fear in defenders once he learns how to be a running back. If he has a good spring, he will be a nice change of pace back for the Tigers.
Bad: Coach Pinkel told the media that Moye has been hampered by a minor injury that is pretty visible while watching practice. Also, Moye is obviously not a true RB yet, but that will come with time.
Overall Analysis: This position has a lot of depth and experience. All of the running backs listed have the ability to break off a 50 yard run at any point in the game. The key for this units' success is how well the offensive line will open up gaps because these guys can run. Once 2009 recruit Kendial Lawrence steps on campus, this unit is going to be one of the deepest on the offense.
"Every year is different and every team is different year in and year out," running backs coach Brian Jones said. "I'm really happy with what we have this year.