It really wasn't my intention, but I find myself being pretty positive when it comes to the spring game and the spring as a whole. It might mean very little for the fall, but in the end, the first-string offense looked better than the second-string defense, the first-string defense looked better than the second-string offense, and nobody got seriously hurt. So consider me a happy camper.
As it pertains to the lines, though, I was particularly happy.
Evan Boehm: "That’s our main thing right now is to...keep the Mizzou name out of the media. Make it the good name out in the MIzzou media."— David Morrison (@DavidCMorrison) April 19, 2014
RG Mitch Hall, Jr.: [...] Hall, at 6-5, 320 pounds, has the size to be more of a mauler than Connor McGovern or Max Copeland. Missouri asked a lot out of its guards in run-blocking last year -- handling tackles on the interior, sealing off ends on the back side or getting to the second level and trying to paste some linebackers -- and Hall showed he's up to the task this spring. Henson said after Saturday's scrimmage that he's pleased with his five starters in their positions right now. Hall teaming with McGovern on the right side could have been an iffy proposition, with Hall the least experienced of the bunch and McGovern transitioning to a new position. But the progression has gone well.
It appeared Evan Boehm had a few shaky snaps early on, and Maty Mauk had to lunge a bit to control them. But I recall a few sketchy snaps from Boehm last spring, too; it in no way translated to the fall.
Snaps aside, there were almost no complaints. I seem to recall a false start on Brad McNulty, and I saw at least one hold (of Charles Harris) that didn't get called, but the ship seemed to sail pretty smoothly.
Hello, Markus Golden.— Rock M Nation (@rockmnation) April 19, 2014
If there's a candidate to provide depth at DE for Mizzou this year, it's RS freshman Charles Harris. He's all over the place today.— Matthew Fairburn (@MatthewFairburn) April 19, 2014
DE Charles Harris, Fr.: [...] The 6-3, 235-pound athletic end tallied a sack in the spring game and got into the backfield to disrupt the rhythm on a run play on multiple occasions. And, like [Kenya] Dennis, he was doing it mostly against the first-team offense. His counterpart, Marcus Loud, had a solid spring as well, but Harris is the one who shone. He could very well be following the path of another fast, explosive end from the Kansas City area: Shane Ray.
First of all, Harris looks quite a bit bigger than 235. That's a pretty good trick. Second, I was most impressed with his ability to serve as a disruptive force against the run. One of my bigger defensive concerns this year isn't in the pass rush, but in the way the new ends handle a larger diet of run blocking. In my mind, Michael Sam and Kony Ealy were the best run defenders among the ends, even as Markus Golden did pretty well; it's Shane Ray's biggest weakness right now, and if Harris can serve as a reliable option in that regard, that might minimize the amount of time the staff has to consider moving Harold Brantley outside.
Harris really does have a motor, though. If you put Michael Sam's motor in Shane Ray's frame, you'll have a pretty damn good backup end in 2014.
(In other words, Harris didn't do a very good job of maintaining reasonable expectations with his first set of spring practices.)
Beyond Harris, I really enjoyed what I saw from Josh Augusta. I secretly had hopes for him challenging for a starting role this year, and while he perhaps still has a sophomore's tendency for poor consistency, he might be the best pure play-maker among the tackles. He and Harris were both quite active, though Harris had the advantage of doing it against the first team.
Also: Goodness, is Markus Golden good at football. It's strange losing an All-American and a first-round draft pick at a single position and being super-excited about that position the next year, but ... here we are.
Okay, so fine, these write-ups are pretty positive in general. Sue me. In all, I just can't work up that much concern about either line, at least until I see the ends getting pushed around in run situations.