Missouri Tigers Position Preview: Offensive Line
In case you missed it, check out my tight end article about the upcoming Mizzou team. The position returns stud starter Chase Coffman, so you should definitely give it a look.
The offensive line often doesn't get very much pub in Columbia, despite often giving Chase Daniel loads of time and getting upfield to make blocks for big plays.
Although the Tigers lost two crucial seniors in Tyler Luellen and Adam Spieker, the voids should be filled by trustworthy, if not spectacular replacements.
The rest of the line returns, paving the way for another big year for Daniel.
Coming back for another season are seniors Colin Brown (right tackle) and Ryan Madison (right guard). Both are returning starters and have been productive blockers for years.
Brown, a former walk-on, is actually the biggest player in Mizzou history, standing at 6'8'', 325 lbs. Although Madison is a bit smaller at 6'5'', 305 lbs., he will definitely keep opposing players out of the backfield. Basically, both of these spots are locked down by dependable linemen for the year.
At right guard, junior Kurtis Gregory returns to hold down his spot. He's definitely the least-known member of the unit, but that's usually a good thing for the line. He rarely makes mistakes and is responsible for a lot of holes in the running game.
At left tackle, it should be a battle down to the first game. Junior Dain Wise has been getting into games for years now and is campaigning to finally start. However, redshirt freshman Elvis Fisher is a player that coaches love. He's known for his mean streak and intelligent play.
Regardless of who plays LT this year, they should be more then capable of guarding Chase Daniel's blindside. Wise has experience, and Fisher is a good young talent.
I clearly have avoided center until now. Some people are worried about this spot because Spieker started four years and was one of the best linemen in the conference.
I'm not one of those people.
Redshirt sophomore Tim Barnes is a beast. With an NFL-type build (6'5'', 305 lbs.) and two years watching Spieker and the offense, I have every confidence that he will be able to take over the position with little problems. It's rumored that he might even be better then Spieker already, with great coordination, speed, and technique.
As far as youngsters go, I'm not sure many will contribute this year. True freshman Dan Hoch might crack the two-deep, but frankly I'd rather have him watch this year from the sideline than burn a redshirt just to get some garbage time.
The line definitely has a lot of young talent waiting in the wings. Redshirt freshmen J.T. Beasley, Elvis Fisher, Jayson Palmgren, and Austin Wuebbels are all on the two-deep for future years.
The spread offense requires fast linemen with good blocking technique, and this year's Mizzou team should be able to field a unit that has all of that. Barring disaster or an unseen change, the offensive line should be a solid part to a great offense.
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