The Missouri Tigers took the field for their annual spring game on Saturday, and it was the start of a new era for coach Barry Odom’s team.

Out was QB Drew Lock, who is preparing for the 2019 NFL Draft. In is Clemson transfer Kelly Bryant, who looked good in his debut for the Tigers.

The black team won 21-3 over the gold team, but scores aren’t important during spring games. Here are three things I liked about Mizzou’s spring game:

1. Kelly Bryant

Not only was Bryant having more fun than anyone on the field, having laughs with the ESPN broadcast crew, he was also magnificent as a quarterback. He finished with 150 passing yards on 12-for-17 passing before giving way to the backups:

This is Bryant’s team now, and he looks comfortable with his teammates. There’s still work to be done, but he is doing everything he can to become a leader for the Tigers.

If he carries this momentum into the summer, he could be a star for the Tiger offense this fall.

2. The first-team defense

The first-team defense only allowed three points all day. Yes, there were some missed kicks, but overall, it was a good effort for the Tigers. No, they weren’t facing the first-team offense, but it’s still an encouraging sign for the spring.

The special-teams effort needs to improve a lot, but other than that, you can’t fault the first-team defense for anything from Saturday.

3. The fun atmosphere

Last year’s spring game sucked. There, I said it. It was boring and useless and should have never been played. That’s basically what Barry Odom thought, too, though.

This year, everyone was having fun, from Kelly Bryant to Larry Rountree III to the coaches to the defenders and even the fans. That’s what needs to happen to get people excited about Missouri football, and Odom and his players did it well on Saturday.

With a guy like Bryant leading the way, fun should come in bunches this year, and that’s a good thing for fans in Columbia. Now, if only they could get the postseason ban lifted…