Pre-Spring Offseason Forecast: Missouri

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With the offseason officially underway, SDS will examine what’s next for spring football for all 14 teams. Next up, Missouri.

What’s changing

It’s debatable whether the loss of offensive coordinator David Yost is good or bad, and time can only answer that question. But Yost bailed on the Tigers after a forgettable and frustrating 2012, and Gary Pinkel promoted Josh Henson to be the next coordinator. Henson has a stronger background, having coached under Les Miles in more of a power-run scheme as opposed to Yost’s spread. No matter the offense the Tigers decide to ultimately run, Henson’s job this spring is getting the 2011 James Franklin back. Along with getting Franklin healthy, he needs a healthy offensive line and Henry Josey. Missouri has the receivers in place for a quarterback who can sling the rock, but Franklin left doubts in everyone’s mind about his senior season. Could the Maty Mauk era be close to getting underway?

Position of concern

There’s no question that all eyes are on the offensive line. After such a rough and devastating season, the linemen are of utmost importance. Obviously, the struggles were mostly attributed to injuries, but it exposed Missouri’s lack of depth and impact players at the position. Not every team has three or four solid reserve offensive linemen sitting around either, and the injuries suffered in ‘12 will make the line better and more experienced this year. The Tigers get back Travis Ruth and Taylor Chappell, who both suffered season ending injuries. Inexperienced Evan Boehm and Brad McNulty were thrown into the fire as a result of the attrition, but they return more experienced because of it. This position stands to have a better 2013, and the cohesiveness as a unit starts this spring.

Emerging spring player prediction

I’m going to keep it cliché, but receiver Dorial Green-Beckham looked to be blossoming in the later portion of last year. And he’s set for not only a breakout spring, but an impact fall, too. The biggest thing that will hold back DGB’s development will be a Tigers’ offense like 2012 that can’t get him the ball. DGB will be the focus of the spring for the Tigers from a personnel point.

Three signees to be excited about

1. Chase Abbington, RB: Abbington is listed as an athlete or a safety, but he’ll likely become the Tigers’ big running back of the future. Listed at 6-2, 190 pounds, Abbington’s size bodes well for Josh Henson to install a more downhill rushing attack.

2. Josh Augusta, DT: SEC games are won in the trenches, and Missouri picked up a very good prospect from Illinois in Augusta. Gary Pinkel has a history of developing defensive linemen, and Augusta could be the next great one.

3. Eddie Printz, QB: I know Missouri’s roster is a stacked house at quarterback, and Printz isn’t even the top-rated incoming quarterback in his own recruiting class. But this kid can ball, and he has an electric arm. Watch out for Printz in the future as a passer.

Needs Improving

Missouri’s offense in 2012 was downright putrid. After finishing as the 12th best offense in the country in ‘11, they finished just 98th for an encore. Injuries played a part, and I’m not buying that “SEC defenses” had everything to do with it. The whole offense was out of sync. The only weapon was Kendial Lawrence, and James Franklin never looked healthy or confident. Likewise, Corbin Berkstresser looked ill prepared, and that reflects coaching. David Yost’s depature isn’t such a bad thing, and Josh Henson stands to do more with less. Getting a healthy offensive line, quarterback and Henry Josey back is massive in terms of development and progress for Henson this spring.

Previous Offseason Forecasts:

Photo Credit: Dak Dillon-USA TODAY Sports

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