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Eric Beisel and Joey Burkett are fending off younger LBs and positioning themselves for 2016

Dak Dillon-USA TODAY Sports

Eric Beisel (6'3, 225, So.)

2014: 11.5 tackles, 0.5 TFL

Bill C.: Eric Beisel is a tantalizing player. He's got size and speed and a tackler's instincts -- his brother was a tackling machine and four-year starter at Missouri State. But with Missouri playing a majority of the time a nickel formation, and with Kentrell Brothers, Michael Scherer, Donavin Newsome, and Clarence Green ahead of him in the pecking order, he didn't see the field much last year. He's still battling for opportunities this year, too, and he's got some potentially tremendous freshmen and redshirt freshmen fighting as well.

If the goal for Barry Odom's new defense is to utilize play-makers no matter what the position, then Beisel could still get an opportunity to shine. But with those ahead of him playing well enough to stay on the field, you have to wonder if he's going to get opportunities to shine. He's still got time to figure it out, of course, and I hope he does. But there are a lot of exciting guys battling for only a few spots.

The Beef: Might it be put up or shut up time for the one known as "Zeus"? He came into year #3 third on the depth chart at the MLB position. That he was behind Scherer is not a surprise, but that he was also behind Brandon Lee was a bit of an eyebrow raiser.

Of course, this could have been a kick-in-the-ass tactic coaches take from time to time. But it did push some corner of the Mizzou online commentariat to start thinking about trying to move Beisel to the D-line (especially since he might be bigger than 225). I doubt that happens, but I do remain interested to see where he finishes the fall considering where he is started it.

switzy227: From Beisel on down this list, there’s a group of guys with a big opportunity. Only Michael Scherer is really entrenched for 2016 at this point; Newsom needs to do some work this year to be in that spot. It will be interesting to see who gets first cracks at showing their skills by getting snaps here and there, contributing at a high level on special teams, and filling in for injuries.

AlaTiger: I’m with The Beef on Beisel. Many were super high on him and his potential, but he did get a chance to live up to it, and Brandon Lee started fall camp ahead of him on the depth chart. Plus, promising freshman are chasing him. If he doesn’t make a move, his opportunity may be pass him by.

Fullback U: I actually had a chance to ask Eric Beisel a few questions one on one during fall camp. He addressed the battle for MLB position, possible position change, and a great "moneyball" quote about tacklers in football.

Joey Burkett (6'2, 210, So.)

2014: 0.5 tackles

The Beef: All I ever remember about Burkett is that he was also a pole vaulter in Jeff City. As the backup to Brothers, I don’t imagine he sees a lot of the field this year, but should certainly see more than enough to improve upon his 0.5 tackle output from last season

Fullback U: Everywhere I go, it seems like I run into someone who knows or is related to Joey Burkett. He wasn’t on my radar before this year, but by several accounts he’s a fast guy who the coaches like enough to have him backup Kentrell Brothers.

AlaTiger: Pole vaulting is hard, therefore Burkett must be a good athlete. Hopefully, he is also a good football player.

Bill C.: Both Burkett and Beisel have to be considering 2015 as a chance to position themselves for 2016 and beyond. As sophomores, they've got plenty of time left, even if some awesome younger guys are pushing them.

Burkett's name has popped up quite a few times in the practice reports, and while he's still pretty small for a linebacker, another year as understudy will afford him an opportunity to learn more from Brothers and prep for a potential starting spot in 2016 ... as long as he holds off Beisel and Brandon Lee and Grant Jones and Roderick Winters and Terez Hall and Franklin Agbasimere and...