Missouri Tigers Looking to "Re-Load" Not "Re-Build"

Shane PattonCorrespondent ISeptember 1, 2010

KANSAS CITY, MO - NOVEMBER 28:  Quarterback Blaine Gabbert #11 of the Missouri Tigers runs to his right for yardage during their game against the Kansas Jayhawks during the game at Arrowhead Stadium on November 28, 2009 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Every year about this time, Mizzou fan's try to sort thru the hype and attempt to get a grasp on the Tiger's current squad.

Let's start off with the big fear: The loss of Blaine Gabbert's main target in 2009, Wideout Danario Alexander.

Alexander led the NCAA in receiving yards with 1781. His 113 receptions and 14 touchdowns will most certainly be missed.

There are no shortages of candidates waiting to emerge as MU's next offensive star. Receiver, Jerrell Jackson has shown his game breaking ability this spring and looks to be Missouri's most dangerous threat. Wes Kemp and TJ Moe look assist Gabbert this season as well...

Next obstacle to overcome is the loss of co-captain and starting tailback, Derrick Washington. Washington was recently charged with a felony and will not be available in the near future, if at all...

Losing Washington and his 1,000+ yards will hurt, but sophomore Kendial Lawrence appears ready to step in and take over the starting tailback spot. Lawrence is a 5'9" 190 lbs speedster who can catch out of the backfield. Missouri will also use junior De'Vion Moore to spell Lawrence when needed.

Coach Pinkel is also excited about freshmen runningbacks, Henry Josey and Marcus Murphy (Pinkel will most likely lift the redshirt of each player this season).

Missouri's greatest concern will be on defense. Losing senior linebacker and first round NFL draft pick, Sean Witherspoon is a big blow to a defense that continued to give up the big play in 2009.

The Tigers were 104th in the nation in passing yards allowed. Returning defensive end, Aldon Smith will be one of Missouri's bright spots on defense this year. Smith had a record breaking year for Missouri with 11.5 sacks and he will again help the Tigers defensive backfield by continuing to put the pressure on opposing qb's.

Mizzou is altering some of it's coverage schemes and plans to play more man-to-man coverage in 2010. Defense will still remain a weak point until the Tigers can prove they will be able to stop teams early on this season.

Special Teams look to be intact with kicker Grant Ressel returning after a consistent and accurate 2009 season.

The biggest question and the obvious elephant in the room is whether or not this springs discipline issues are just an aberration or is Pinkel losing his locker room? Pinkel's teams have been well disciplined through out his tenure at Missouri, which would leave one to believe that he has a handle on this and deserves the benefit of the doubt for now.