What we learned during Missouri’s spring practice

NCAA Football: Missouri-Spring Game

SDS will be taking a tour around the conference and looking at each team’s progress – or lack thereof – made during spring camp. Next up, Missouri.

Here’s what we learned during Missouri spring practice:

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Mauktober starts in August: Gary Pinkel hoped Maty Mauk took the quarterback job and ran with it. That’s exactly what he did. Mauk is the unscathed and unquestioned signal caller for Mizzou. He threw for 1,071 yards, 11 touchdowns and two INTs last year filling in for the then-injured James Franklin. Although he doesn’t have many proven receivers around him, Mauk will be the unquestioned offensive leader and will enter the season on the SEC Player of the Year watch list. The backup situations also became a little less crowded with Trent Hosick transferring out, and Eddie Printz and Corbin Berkstresser will continue to battle. Something tells me Printz is the guy if something happens to Mauk.

From the inside out: Mizzou’s strength will lie again on the line of scrimmage. The offensive line loses two starters including left tackle Justin Britt, but it returns an experienced and talented group led by center Evan Boehm. The defensive line loses bookend starters Kony Ealy and Michael Sam, but Markus Golden and Shane Ray are more than ready and capable. Watch out for Charles Harris being a factor in some facet on the defensive line, mostly at defensive end, as well as a big year expected out of Josh Augusta. Golden looks to be a monster this season.

Receivers should emerge…later: With the dismissal of Dorial Green-Beckham, Mizzou has few proven pass catchers. It’s not to say they aren’t loaded with depth or talent, but few are proven. With DGB, L’Damian Washington and Marcus Lucas, 27 of the team’s 31 touchdown receptions are gone. Jimmie Hunt and Bud Sasser will benefit the most, and the Tigers are looking for senior Darius White to become a big-time player in 2014.

Valuable defender: Sophomore linebacker Michael Scherer is a key cog in Mizzou’s rotation because he’s so versatile. He can play Sam and Mike, and his football IQ is very high. He can read offenses and breakdown offensive plays like a veteran. Linebacker is a concern, but with the proven Kentrell Brothers and the veteran Darvin Ruise, Scherer could be a nice addition to the rotation.

Let’s break down the biggest takeaways of every spring practice:

Photo Credit: Dak Dillon-USA TODAY Sports

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