Missouri football, Week 1 depth chart notes: Shane Ray a co-starter

Michael Sam is getting a battle from Shane Ray on the depth chart. - Jamie Squire

MUtigers.com released Mizzou's Week 1 game notes and depth chart this afternoon. Here are some notes on the notes:

Michael Sam and Shane Ray are listed as "OR" starters at the defensive end spot opposite Kony Ealy. Things like this are often viewed as ways to light a fire under the incumbent, but Sam has been so steady through the years that I'll choose to view this as a sign that Ray is coming along nicely.

Only two true freshmen are currently on the depth chart: tackle Josh Augusta and corner Aarion Penton. Obviously more could enter the mix at a later date. Tight end Jason Reese fell behind due to injury but could catch up and perhaps overtake walk-on Clayton Echard, who has gotten pretty good reviews in camp as a blocker. Plus, JUCO transfer Duron Singleton is almost certain to appear on the depth chart soon, once he has gotten up to speed after reporting late. But right now we'll assume the other freshmen will redshirt in 2013. Like we said back in February when the signing class was announced, it was going to be up to the returnees to turn Mizzou's fortunes around.

Not on the current depth chart: corner John Gibson. He was hobbled for much of fall camp, and apparently coaches don't yet trust that he's ready to see major minutes. That's a good thing for current backups Ernest Payton and David Johnson, who have a chance to earn more minutes with quality play against a pass-happy Murray State squad.

At running back, Morgan Steward is listed, and Greg White is not. White is another player who spent much of fall camp injured. Hopefully Mizzou is up by enough that Steward gets a few fourth-quarter carries on Saturday.

In the Walkthrough series, we talked about the battle to secure the eighth spot on the receiver two-deep along with starters Marcus Lucas, Dorial Green-Beckham, Bud Sasser, and L'Damian Washington, and backups Darius White, Jimmie Hunt, and Jaleel Clark. Right now, the leader in that race is evidently redshirt freshman Levi Copelin.

There's been a little bit of shuffling at safety, where Ian Simon is now backing up Braylon Webb at strong safety and Cortland Browning is now behind Matt White at free safety.

Your new long-snapper: Jake Hurrell. No pressure, Jake.

Ian Simon is Marcus Murphy's backup at punt returner. I wouldn't have guessed that.

Official capacity at Faurot Field this year is apparently 67,124 thanks to ongoing construction. The home schedule doesn't feature a lot of opponents known for traveling incredibly well, but it's still something to keep in mind considering average home attendance last year was 67,476.

In nine games versus FCS competition, Gary Pinkel's Tigers have averaged a 50-7 win. I do expect this one to be a little closer … but not much.

Chase Daniel's first career start was against Murray State in 2006. I had almost no recollection of that whatsoever. If you remember too many things from an FCS game (unless it's Henry Josey rushing for eleventy billion yards versus Western Illinois or that fun, and kind of mean, throwback pass against SEMO in 2008), that's probably a bad sign.

With 163 wins (90 at Missouri), Gary Pinkel is the ninth-winningest active FBS head coach. Granted, we expected him to win a few more games last year and therefore reach 100 wins at Mizzou some time this year. That's still possible, but needless to say the odds are worse than we thought they'd be.

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