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2014 Missouri Walkthrough: It's not too late for Browning and Ward (but it might be soon)

Cortland Browning and Chaston Ward drew practice praise early in their Mizzou careers, but it hasn't translated to on-the-field opportunity yet. With youngsters threatening their depth chart spots, now's the time for either to break through.

Dak Dillon-USA TODAY Sports

Cortland Browning

6'1, 205, Jr.

2012: 0.5 tackles
2013: 3.5 tackles

Bill C.: It is a common theme for Missouri (and other teams) in most years: a couple of veterans try to hold off exciting youngsters for a spot in the rotation. Sometimes it results in a breakthrough, and sometimes the veteran is overtaken and quietly transfers or finishes off his eligibility. We heard a lot of good things about Cortland Browning in practice reports early in his career, but three years since he reported to campus, he's mostly filled a special teams role. With redshirt freshmen Anthony Sherrils and Shaun Rupert and exciting freshmen Tavon Ross and Thomas Wilson trying to crack into the second string, this could be Browning's last chance to find a role on the Mizzou defense.

countrycal: Cortland began August second on the depth chart at free safety. The 6’1", 205-lb. junior has for now moved into the two-deep rotation after spending most of his first two years on special teams and as backup for the dependable Matt White.

The Beef: It will be interesting to me to see if Browning holds off Shaun Rupert and others behind him. I expect him to do so (as I think Rupert is a little undersized at this point), but it will be something I keep an eye on.

wooderson: bring control wand

Chaston Ward

6'1, 205, So.

Bill C.: A lot of what I said about Browning could be said about Chaston Ward as well. Ward is also an athletic Texan who provided practice highlights early on but doesn't yet have much to show for it (as evidenced by the complete lack of photos of either him or Browning in our photo tool and Bill Carter archive). Mizzou is loaded with standout athletes and size at the safety position; Ward's going to have to figure out a way to stand out pretty quickly, if not for 2014, then for 2015.

countrycal: Chaston began the fall sitting fourth on the depth chart for strong safety and has four upperclassmen and a redshirt freshman ahead of him for playing time. He did get action last year when Singleton was out with an injury. With two safeties graduating after this year, Chaston may escape falling through the depth chart, but this is the year he will need to work hard to keep from being passed by some talented youth behind him.

The Beef: Like Cal said, Ward has to start working on his playing time for next season this season. With so many kids on the roster under him, he needs to make sure he keeps his place in line, otherwise some of the people we are about to discuss could supplant him this time next year.

wooderson: star cowhand