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2015 Missouri spring practice: Mauk raves about his WRs, and Brantley's ready to lead

Maty Mauk raves about his 2015 receiving corps, Harold Brantley is ready to lead, and Ryan Walters continues to get used to life in Columbia.

Bill Carter

The news has been quiet in recent days, but let's check on some of the more recent spring story lines in Columbia.

Who catches the passes?

The Trib: MU receivers short on proven production, long on possibilities
PowerMizzou: Passing judgment

"It's kind of exciting," Mauk said. "It is new guys, and the potential and athletic ability that these younger guys is something that, like I said, Mizzou might not have ever had before.

"There's so much depth there, there's so many people that can do so many different things, whether it's Desean (Blair) and J'Mon (Moore), their speed, Keyon (Dilosa), Nate (Brown), all those guys getting open. Eric Laurent coming in, being - yeah he's a walk-on guy, but he's with the ones right now. He's a former quarterback, kind of reminds me of a TJ (Moe), just knows what the quarterback's thinking, knows where to go to get open. And, honestly, Eric's one that I really expect big things from. He's a guy that always wants to put in that extra work and he's got all the ability it takes."

We're looking for hints at who's separating from the pack, but it's not the worst thing in the world that Maty Mauk is talking about basically the entire pack. And it's probably not bad that he's added Laurent's name to the list. Seven receivers is better than six.


The Trib (Behind the Stripes): MU Notes: The "Plead the Fifth" edition

Brothers and Scherer provide a strong backbone for Odom's first Missouri defense. The line is a little less proven and needs backups from last season to step into bigger roles. Backups like Charles Harris, who says he'll bring...: "A lot more passion. A lot more energy. A lot more consistency on and off the field. Just a lot more Charles Harris."

Harris is confident Missouri has the pieces: "I'm not going to doubt a single guy on my team. I'm not going to doubt a single player. They're obviously here for a reason. You're part of Mizzou, then you're a part of this family. We all can play. I don't care who you are, whether you're first on the depth chart or last. You're part of Mizzou. There's no doubt, at all, that any of these guys can play."

While we talk a lot about the 4-3 vs. the 3-4, one of the things Odom seemed to do quite a bit of at Memphis was use players in hybrid roles. In that regard, Charles Harris could be one of the more important players in 2015. He's still listed at 6'3, 235 (though he certainly looked like he was carrying more weight at the end of the year, so when the weights get updated, he could suddenly be 255 or something), and in theory, he's got the agility either play in space or battle offensive tackles. He will likely be used in a few different ways, and hopefully "just a lot more Charles Harris" ends up being a very good thing for this unit.

Old Man Brantley

The Missourian: Goofy Brantley ready to get serious in leadership role for Missouri football

Consider the way Brantley acted at practice that same Friday. During a drill in which linemen made their way between gaps in a row of plastic bins, Brantley lifted his helmet from his face when giving instruction to teammates — allowing them to look him in the eyes.

Brantley is supposed to stand out. He’s the most experienced player in a position group that has no seniors, so his teammates expect him to lead. A redshirt junior next season, Brantley has been in position meetings with Michael Sam, Sheldon Richardson, Shane Ray and Kony Ealy.

"He know the ropes," Augusta said. "He’s seen the best come here."

That's a funny quote from Josh Augusta, considering he's spent the last two years on the depth chart alongside Brantley. Regardless, the table's set for Harold Brantley having a huge year.

Hey, new guy

The Trib (Behind the Stripes): MU Notes: The "Getting Started in Columbia" edition
Post-Dispatch: Mizzou defense grinds through staff turnover

Walters’ addition to the staff continues a trend toward younger coaches on Pinkel’s staff: He now has four assistants younger than 40, including his last three hires: Walters, Odom (38) and offensive line coach A.J. Ricker (34). Offensive coordinator Josh Henson turns 40 in July.

Walters, who previously coached at Colorado, Arizona, Oklahoma and North Texas, considers his age an advantage when it comes to coaching college players.

"I teach first," he said. "I feel like you’ve got to be able to communicate with the guys, and I think my age allows me to relate to them a little bit naturally. But I coach them hard. I wouldn’t have been able to come here if I didn’t coach hard and take this profession serious."

I'm struggling to get past the idea that Ryan Walters, a safety once torched by Chase Daniel, is already not only a coach, but an assistant for a power-conference team. If those guys are getting old, I'm damn ancient.


PowerMizzou (PMTV): Ian Simon
PowerMizzou (PMTV): Thomas Wilson
PowerMizzou: Close-Up: Practice #3
Mizzou Network: SPRING 2015 REPORT: 1st Day in Pads