The beginning of preseason camp at Missouri (Aug. 5) is still a little more than a week away, but the unofficial start to the Tigers’ 2010 season will begin in mere hours. Head coach Gary Pinkel will assume the podium Tuesday morning (9:00 a.m. CT) at the Big 12’s Media Days, where he’ll be joined by quarterback Blaine Gabbert, running back Derrick Washington, and cornerback Kevin Rutland to field questions from conference media.
And the probing figures to be extensive.
Will Gabbert emerge to become not only a star in the Big 12 but a darkhorse Heisman candidate? How effectively will an inexperienced corps of receivers plug the holes left behind by Danario Alexander?
For that matter, who assumes the roles left vacant by all-conference linebacker and undisputed vocal team leader Sean Weatherspoon?
Does this team have a living, breathing pass defense? And, if so, is that enough to propel Missouri past Nebraska, the preseason favorite in the North, and into the program’s third Big 12 title game in four years?
A program still on the rise, Missouri endured growing pains last season as one of the youngest teams in the country. With valuable experience now saturating numerous areas of the two-deep roster, the mission for the next six-plus months will be assuring a certain sustainability of success, proving that the setbacks of 2009 were but building blocks in the natural progression of Pinkel’s program.
Prospects look bright for Missouri in 2010, but for the Tigers to leap from eight-win Texas Bowl participant to BCS invitee, the following questions need to be addressed with favorable answers.
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