Missouri releases depth chart for South Dakota State game
This afternoon, Missouri released an official depth chart for Saturday’s season opener against South Dakota State.
— Mizzou Football (@MizzouFootball) August 25, 2014
Here’s a position-by-position overview.
Though the two put up nearly identical numbers in fall scrimmages, and Corbin Berkstresser entered as the No. 2 man, Missouri apparently has tapped redshirt freshman Eddie Printz as Maty Mauk’s backup.
A few thoughts here:
1. Printz almost certainly will play against South Dakota State, given the 29.5-point spread.
2. This could spell the end of Berkstresser’s career at Missouri, at least in terms of taking any meaningful college snaps at quarterback. If Gary Pinkel and the staff prefer Printz over Berkstresser now, it’s tough to imagine a situation where Berkstresser jumps him. The junior’s advantage was that he’s played before. With on-fire recruit Drew Lock on the way and the Mauk-Printz combo expected back next season, if would take more than one injury for Berkstresser to find his way into a meaningful game situation.
3. I won’t draw any outsized conclusions, but college football coaches normally are risk-averse. As even as the Printz-Berkstresser competition seemed from an outside perspective, Pinkel must think Printz is the better option, here and now, and isn’t giving much credence or thought to the “known vs. unknown” factor. You like that if you’re a Missouri fan.
Marcus Murphy is listed as the co-starter along with Russell Hansbrough. It’s an interesting development, considering all the resources Missouri has invested into developing Murphy as a pass-catching option in the slot. Trying to predict Murphy’s involvement in the 2014 offense has been a bit like a game of “Pin The Tail On The Live Hummingbird.”
Murphy also remains the team’s punt returner, but is second-team kickoff returner. He’s also not listed at receiver. Has the team ended the experiment with Murphy in the slot? Is the break from kickoff returns merely to compensate for the expectation of more offensive touches? Did the coaching staff just stick Murphy as the co-starter at running back because they needed some place to stash him?
It appears that Morgan Steward (hip) will miss the season opener. Also, freshman Ish Witter pushed past freshman Trevon Walters at the end of fall camp and is the third running back behind Hansbrough and Murphy with Steward doubtful. Walters is in line to redshirt with former walk-on Tyler Hunt also on the depth chart.
Lawrence Lee and Nate Brown, both true freshmen, are third team in the slot and out wide behind Jimmie Sasser and Darius White, respectively. Expect Gavin Otte and Wesley Leftwich to be the top two backups, if you discount Murphy as a receiver.
The only surprise here may be if you’ve been in Barbados sipping rum for the last two months, you turn on the TV on Saturday and you watch Missouri throw the ball to — gasp — a tight end.
Despite his attempt to commandeer the starting center job by injuring Evan Boehm’s — well, watch for yourself — Brad McNulty remains the backup at center.
Taylor Chappell is the swing tackle after the team briefly flirted with having him compete with Mitch Hall at right guard.
The only real news here is that Harold Brantley has re-entered the team’s good graces and is listed as a co-starter with Matt Hoch, who dealt with an injury for a good portion of fall camp.
Overall, this part of the depth chart should leave Missouri fans salivating.
Darvin Ruise has worked his way back to the No. 2 slot at weakside linebacker after dropping some weight. That’s good news for a unit heavy on athleticism and
light empty on experience.
The team doesn’t list nickleback, but the presumption is that Duron Singleton, a junior college transfer in 2013, will get the job ahead of Kenya Dennis, a junior college transfer in 2014. Both should play significant roles behind the starting corners.
As I alluded to previously, free safety Ian Simon is listed as the kickoff returner ahead of Murphy. With Murphy making some lists as an All-SEC performer as a kick returner, holding the job most of the last two years, this is a curiosity.