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2013 Mizzou spring football: Johnson, Vincent attempting spring breakthroughs

Mizzou Network (YouTube)

Not a lot of real news today, but you've got to like that players at two question-mark positions -- second corner and defensive tackle -- are trying to rise to the occasion. David Johnson's athleticism could be a real asset, and ... my goodness, Lucas Vincent's old pec injury sounds painful.

PowerMizzou: The right direction

This spring, [David] Johnson looks like a new player. It's admittedly been one scrimmage, but Johnson played extensively with the first-team defensive because of an injury to Randy Ponder. He finished tied for the team lead with two pass break-ups, and they came on back-to-back plays. Both were passes intended for Marcus Lucas, where he ran a come-back route along the sideline. On the first pass, Johnson exploded back to Lucas, hitting him in the back and reaching ahead to dislodge the ball.

The second was a mirror image of the first, except this time, Johnson nearly intercepted the pass.

Johnson said his time as a hurdler helps him in situations like those, giving him a leg-up:

"It makes you more explosive, because of the plyometrics of the hurdles. I think that gives me an advantage, coming out of my breaks because I'm pretty quick."

But, to his teammates anyway, Johnson's improvement has been more mental.

"Since he's gotten here, you can definitely see how he's improved and matured," senior cornerback E.J. Gaines said. "He was a little childish when he got here, but he's definitely matured and it's fun to watch.

KC Star: Sheldon Richardson is hard to replace, but Tigers are up for challenge

Hoch is expected to start again at one tackle spot. But Vincent has done everything he can to make sure nothing will derail him in a competition with talented redshirt freshman Harold Brantley for Richardson’s spot. Vincent’s bench press is around 440 pounds and rising — he could lift 500 pounds before his injury — and he is also working on his hand strength and placement.

"I’ve got (guys) at my heels, so I’ve just got to keep going," Vincent said. "Harold is a great athlete — he’s going to be good here. Marvin (Foster) is a senior, it’s his last year so of course he’s motivated. So I’ve got to set myself apart from them."

PowerMizzou: PMTV-HD: Michael Scherer
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