We're getting pretty deep into ESPN's best games of 2013 list. The end of Ole Miss-Vandy is on ESPNU right now, then airs again at 9 a.m. CT. Oklahoma-Oklahoma State airs at 6 p.m. CT, then UCF-Louisville follows at 9 p.m. (I wish they'd show the pared-down, two-hour versions, but what can you do...)
As you may have seen, Mizzou scored its 10th commitment for the class of 2015 last night. We'll discuss him in a separate post. Instead, let's talk suspension!
Well that's pretty unfortunate/dumb
The Trib (Behind the Stripes): NCAA suspends Missouri WR Levi Copelin for 2014 season
KC Star: MU receiver Levi Copelin suspended by NCAA for 2014 season
Post-Dispatch: NCAA suspends Mizzou receiver for 2014 season
The Missourian: NCAA suspends Missouri football's Levi Copelin for the season
#Mizzou release on Copelin suspension pic.twitter.com/NPg7zjCWxN— Gabe DeArmond (@GabeDeArmond) July 29, 2014
I wasn't expecting world-beater numbers from Levi Copelin this year, but he was a warm body and a potentially explosive guy. Without him, Mizzou's depth takes an obvious hit and opens the door for probably more than one true freshman to join the rotation. This unit could end up just fine, but each departure/suspension further thins out Mizzou's margin for error -- now the Tigers need for a freshman or two to step up and play a role; it isn't a luxury. Might happen, might not.
Five days to camp!
The Trib (Behind the Stripes): FALL CAMP ROLL CALL: Linebackers
Missouri entered last season in a somewhat similar situation, just not quite as dire. Andrew Wilson was the experienced hand, just with a whole extra year of starting under his belt than Brothers has this season. Donovan Bonner played the "experienced backup lifer" role Ruise is playing this year, just with more experience and further up the depth chart at the start of fall ball.
Then you at least had Brothers last year, who had a year of fairly steady game action to fall back on when being thrust into an expanded role.
This year? Nada.
So, while Gary Pinkel has said that the combination of Brothers, Scherer, Newsom and Green could give Missouri one of its most athletic linebacking corps in his time at the school -- and that's a good thing -- all the athleticism in the world can't save a defense if its middle level is freezing when confronted with game speed.
Not saying that will happen. Missouri just has a lot more catching up to do on its two-deep than it did last year.
Every dire word David Morrison says here about the linebackers' experience levels is true; Mizzou's extremely green. But damned if I just can't worry about it that much. We've heard so many good things about so many different young linebackers -- Michael Scherer, Donavin Newsom, Eric Beisel -- that I just kind of assume there will be two solid players next to Brothers. I could be wrong. Or a couple of injures could open up a pretty big gash on the depth chart. But for now, at this very second, this is not a concern of mine.
Post-Dispatch: Countdown to Camp: Mizzou receivers
Post-Dispatch: Improved line play marks Mizzou's progress in SEC
Some other recruiting links to tide you over
PowerMizzou.com - Hot Board: Defense
PowerMizzou.com - Hall ready to announce
In the pros
KC Star: Chiefs’ backup QB Chase Daniel knows Bray, Murray are coming for his job
MUTIGERS.COM: Get To Know Wes Clark
Q: What's been your impression of Kim Anderson?
WC: "We have a big emphasis on defense. It's our main focus. That's a great thing to preach and this coaching staff does a great job of teaching us the way to play it right."
Q: How do you hope to make an impact with the freshman guards coming in?
WC: "I'll just try to guide them and help them avoid some of the same obstacles I went through. It's about keeping everyone on the same path to try and guide this team to a championship."
Q: What skills are you refining heading into next year?
WC: "Mainly focusing on defense. That was one of our big weaknesses last year. We weren't as good as we should have been. We're focusing on defense and letting that create for our offense and create for our ball handlers."
Baltic-Review.com: Lithuanians everywhere reel from the announcement that Linas Kleiza won't play in the World Championship
MUTIGERS.COM: Mizzou Softball Adds JUCO All-American Outfielder
The Trib: MU softball team adds juco All-American
The Missourian: Missouri Stealth provides avenue for girls to play college softball
MUTIGERS.COM: Mizzou Volleyball Announces Social Media Takeover
MUTIGERS.COM: Mizzou Volleyball Sets Mall Meet & Greet For Aug. 16
MUTIGERS.COM: A Day in the Life of Carly Kan
MUTIGERS.COM: Summer Spotlight: Katie and Rachel
MUTIGERS.COM: Tigers Summer Update: Santos Ready To Join Mizzou and SEC