Mizzou Camp: Position battles heat up as team prepares for scrimmage on Saturday

Coaches say Saturday’s closed practice will go a long way in determining the season's depth chart.
Courtesy of MU Athletics

With two weeks to go until the season opener at Faurot Field, Missouri football’s depth chart is starting to take shape.

Coach Barry Odom said Friday that a lot of spots are decided, but Missouri will also give a lot of snaps to backup players.

“We need to get the guys behind [starters] ready to play because they’re going to play a whole bunch of football,” Odom said. “We’re not in a position where we can just use 11 guys on offense and 11 on defense and make it work. We need a whole bunch of guys.”

Odom also pointed to a lot of freshmen playing for Missouri, saying that they have proved they can play right away. There are six freshmen or redshirt freshmen listed on the fall depth chart that was released on July 16.

And few freshmen have been raved about by coaches more than linebacker Nick Bolton. The three-star linebacker from Frisco, Texas wasn’t on the most recent depth chart, but could still see time this season.

Another player that was talked about on defense was graduate transfer and redshirt junior Khalil Oliver. Oliver transferred from Oregon after playing two years for the Ducks.

A closed scrimmage tomorrow will go a long way to determine the final spots on the depth chart, as well as which players will come in as backups.

“It’s a real indicator of what game days are going to look like,” offensive coordinator Derek Dooley said. “A play or two that happens in a scrimmage always comes up at a point in the season. Some players elevate their game, and when they do you have to key on that.”

A lot of positions on the offense are still up for grabs, including the third wideout spot and backup quarterback position.

Freshman receiver Dominic Gicinto didn’t participate in practice and was seen in a boot this morning after rolling his ankle in practice yesterday. One of the stars from camp and the spring game, he is listed as a backup receiver on the depth chart.

Yesterday Odom said Gicinto would be limited in practice and was on track to participate in the scrimmage on Saturday.

In the backfield, there hasn’t been anything to separate co-starters junior Damarea Crockett and sophomore Larry Rountree III. Both will look to get carries early in the season and become the primary workhorse for the Tigers.

Dooley also praised freshman running back Tyler Badie’s work during camp the last couple days.

“He’s got a good physical skill set,” Dooley said. “Very good elusiveness and burst. He’s a good change-of-pace for the other backs.”

No running backs are listed below Crockett and Rountree on the depth chart so this could shed some light on the pecking order or the lower string running backs.

A role as a change-of-pace back could mean a good amount of carries for Badie. Rountree had the same role behind Crockett and Ish Witter last season before breaking out at the end of last year.

Edited by Adam Cole | acole@themaneater.com

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