How long will it take Missouri to become competitive in the SEC? That has been the question the Tigers have had to face all season long. The good thing is that it won't take long to find out an answer, as fall camp is finally underway, with the season set to begin in just three weeks.
Missouri returns 13 starters from a year ago, including seven on defense and many playmakers on the offensive side of the ball. Although the Tigers will have to overcome many injuries already, this team could surprise some people in the SEC this season.
As we inch closer to the college football regular season, here are the latest updates, news, injuries and more involving your Missouri Tigers.
James Franklin appears to be completely recovered from the shoulder surgery he had during the spring, as he looked sharp in the most recent scrimmage the Tigers held. He completed 16 of 25 passes for 177 yards and a touchdown.
Franklin seems to be the key to the Tigers success this season, but he has certainly had his fair share of injury issues throughout his career. (Via Joe Walljasper of the Columbia Tribune)
At Texas A&M I busted a bursa sac in my knee. He began. Against Texas Tech, it was my ankle. My hamstring was from two-a-days. My hip and ribs were from Baylor. My chest and thumb were from Texas. My two fingers — you can see are a little off — were from Oklahoma State. I got a stinger from Texas in the back of my neck, had to come out for a play.
The Tigers lost many offensive linemen from a year ago and have a couple of key players banged up on the unit as well. But offensive coordinator David Yost says (Via Scout.com) that the unit is coming together throughout the spring, and Missouri already has a good idea of who four of the starting five is going to be.
Hopefully, that unit will be able to do a good job of keeping Franklin upright.
Redshirt sophomore nose tackle Lucas Vincent was on only his second day of practice after recovering from a torn pectoral, but went down with an apparent ankle injury during a recent practice. He was helped off the field by trainers and the severity of the injury is not known at this time.
Green-Beckham moving on up
Green-Beckham began the fall practicing at the "Y" position on offense, but with the recent return of Eric Waters, who is recovering from a knee injury, Green-Beckham is now receiving reps at the "Z" position. He also received a few plays working with the first-team offense as well.
It appears that quarterback James Franklin is just fine after having shoulder surgery during the spring. In the Tigers first scrimmage during fall practice, he completed 18 of his 22 passes for over 200 yards. His first nine passes were also completed, before throwing his first incompletion on his 10th pass of the day.
Sophomore wide receiver Jimmie Hunt led the offense with six receptions for 68 yards. While running back Kendial Lawrence rushed for 37 yards on 11 carries and scored the only touchdown of the entire scrimmage.
For more on the Tigers first scrimmage, click here.
Dorial Green-Beckham is expected to make a huge impact on the offense this season, but I'm not sure anybody expected him to start out at the "Y" position (Inside receiver or tight end). But due to the recent injuries on the offensive side of the ball, that is exactly where the true-freshman is lining up.
Wide receivers coach Andy Hill says it is just an experiment for now, but may be something you see more of in the regular season. (Via themaneater.com)
“We’ll see,” Hill said. “The way things are going right now with a couple tight ends that are hurt, it’s an opportunity for a guy to be able to see if he can learn that spot, but we’ll see how it goes.”
James Franklin is OK
Many of the questions throughout camp are going to be about quarterback James Franklin, who suffered a shoulder injury in the spring. And although he was held out of practice today, there should be no worries about his health, according to head coach Gary Pinkel.
“Yesterday he told me he felt as good as he has all year,” Pinkel said of Franklin. (Via Terez A. Paylor of The Kansas City Star)
Tigers Lose a Couple Offensive Linemen
The worst way to start camp is to suffer injuries, especially to players who are expected to play a big role in the upcoming season. Missouri has lost redshirt freshman Taylor Chappell with a torn ACL and Travis Ruth with a torn left triceps tendon. Ruth was projected to be the starting left guard in the upcoming season.
What makes things worse is that this team is already without right tackle Justin Britt, who broke his leg just a few weeks ago.
Sheldon Richardson is Healthy and an Improved Player
Richardson was a key reserve last season, but was never 100 percent due to shoulder issues. Still, he finished the year with 37 tackles and two sacks.
After spending the spring recovering from shoulder surgery, Richardson is quickly earning respect from the coaching staff in the fall.
If you look at Sheldon Richardson today from this same time last year. Said defensive line coach Craig Kuligowski, it's almost night and day. And last year he looked good, trust me. He looked real good. You're seeing a much improved guy, a more mature player, a more mature competitor. He's playing with more discipline and he's got a great attitude. (Via Tom Timmermann of Stltoday.com)
Green-Beckham Remains Humble
Wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham was considered by many to be the top recruit from the 2012 class. He has already received the nickname "DGB" and is expected to play a major role in the Tigers offense this season.
Even with all of the hype and expectations surrounding the young man, he knows that it will be a grind to become successful in this league.
"There's a lot I have to work on," he said. "Every day at practice, we go through the fundamentals, all the little things that count the most. It's a big challenge. It's a lot different than it was in high school." (Via Stu Durando of Stltoday.com)
This article will be updated throughout fall camp to provide you with the latest news, injuries and everything else that involves your Missouri Tigers.