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March 18, 2011

Five stories for first spring scrimmage



The Missouri Tigers enter the first scrimmage of spring football on Saturday morning. Each offensive and defensive unit will see about 50 snaps during the workout. Here are five storylines PowerMizzou.com will be watching:

Does someone separate at quarterback?

Obviously, it is the question of the spring. Through the first couple of weeks, James Franklin has done what is necessary to hold on to the top spot. Tyler Gabbert has had some very strong days. Ashton Glaser needs some solid days to keep from sliding to third on the depth chart.

Is there a true number one tailback?

Last year, Mizzou gave four players significant carries. All four are back and Greg White is in the mix. Henry Josey appears to be the top candidate to set himself apart and be the guy to get the bulk of the carries…if that happens. This question, like the first, will have no firm answer for months, but if one back can start strong in the first scrimmage, he might have a leg up.

How good are the young receivers?

Marcus Lucas saw the field last season and Jimmie Hunt and Bud Sasser have been regular practice standouts. Can any or all of them enter the rotation? Can any or all push for a starting job? The major part of the audition begins on Saturday morning.

Is defensive end still the deepest position?

Jacquies Smith and Brad Madison have done nothing to loosen the solid grip on the starting spots. But Michael Sam looks much bigger, Kony Ealy has turned heads on a daily basis and Brayden Burnett is having a strong spring. The Tigers have enough depth here that one of those five is unlikely to see significant time.

Do injuries shake up the linebacking corps?

Will Ebner and Luke Lambert are proven, but will miss spring ball. Donovan Bonner has joined them on the shelf with a dislocated elbow. Does a youngster like Darvin Ruise take advantage and solidify a move up the depth chart? With three members of the rotation out, young players have a chance to make a statement the rest of the spring.

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