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2015 Missouri spring football: Experimentation on the line, progress with the pass

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Young receivers like J'Mon Moore, DeSean Blair, and Kendall Blanton helped Missouri's passing game in Tuesday's spring scrimmage, and in Connor McGovern's absence, Mizzou is experimenting and shuffling on the offensive line.

Bill Carter

With a few more warm bodies available after Saturday's injury/absence fest, Mizzou resumed its weekend scrimmage on Tuesday. And the passing game didn't look completely awful!

Of course, the defense still had its moments...

Experimentation up front

Post-Dispatch: Signs of life from Mizzou passing game

Against an offensive line that was constantly shuffling players around at various positions, Brantley and defensive end Harris took turns invading the backfield. Both managed sacks against the No. 2 offensive line. As expected Harris, overmatched left tackle Sam Bailey on multiple snaps, but Bailey seems to have done enough to get a promotion to second-team duty. The redshirt freshman, got work with the No. 2 offense most of the scrimmage while Malik Cuellar, a junior college transfer, played left tackle with the No. 1 offense.

At right tackle, Nate Crawford and Clay Rhodes alternated series, while Mitch Hall, Brad McNulty and Taylor Chappell rotated at the guard positions. Chappell has played tackle throughout the spring, but with the knee injury to Connor McGovern the offensive staff has been experimenting with different combinations across the front five. (McGovern will be fine for preseason camp and could play anywhere but center this season. That spot still belongs to Evan Boehm.)

The Trib (Behind the Stripes): MU Spring Scrimmage No. 2.5: Statistics and Reflections

Taylor Chappell moved to first-team left guard and junior-college transfer Malik Cuellar is getting a look at first-team left tackle. Brad McNulty moved down to second-team left guard (and alternating with Alec Abeln at center on the second team), Sam Bailey is playing left tackle and Kevin Pendleton is playing right guard.

Boehm said Chappell -- who started 10 games at right tackle last year -- is handling the move from tackle to guard well.

"He's used to that tackle stuff where he's out wide, spreading his feet and doing all this stuff," Boehm said. "I got stepped on a couple of times and I just looked at him and was like, 'Come on!' He's like, 'I know, I know, I got it.' It's no big deal, but Taylor's done a great job. He's been doing the things he's been needing to do. He's going to find the spot on this team he needs to be at. And when he gets to that spot, he's going to work hard."

Pass progress?

PowerMizzou: Signs of life

"They did, a little bit," Gary Pinkel said, answering a question about the offense showing signs of life. "There's not much continuity there. That's offensive football, so we got a long way to go there. We really do. I think we've got the talent enough, we've got to coach well and we've got a challenge here.

"Generally you come out spring ball with certainly challenges that you've got to fix and things, and that's what we have to do. We kind of knew it going into spring, we knew this was not going to look perfect when we got done. We've got to get a bunch of guys healthy and back-up players ready to play."

PowerMizzou: Scrimmage Notebook: 4/14

After catching one pass for one yard on Saturday, redshirt freshman receiver DeSean Blair got off to another slow start on Tuesday. He caught one of the first seven balls targeted for him, for five yards. But, with the No. 2-offense, Blair found a rhythm. He caught three of the first four attempted passes from Eddie Printz on that series, for a total of 30 yards -- a long of 20. He finished with four receptions for 35 yards on the day.

He wasn't the only young pass catcher to make some plays. Redshirt freshman Kendall Blanton caught a short thrown from Corbin Berkstresser and hurdled redshirt freshman cornerback Finis Stribling IV for a gain of ten yards.