Our friend David Morrison talks spring storylines.
We haven't gotten many spring tidbits...
...but "Blanton looking good" is an exciting one. If he's earning potential playing time, it will be interesting to see exactly how the reps work this fall. Sean Culkin and Jason Reese are both decent, experienced options (though a breakout performance could conceivably overtake at least one of them), and incoming freshman Brendan Scales, considered a more natural H-back, maybe be able to quickly carve out a niche in that role. But ... four tight ends probably aren't going to see the field just a ton. Can Blanton carve out a specific, valuable niche? Red zone target, maybe?
New Tigers tight ends coach Joe Jon Finley praised the growth he’s already seen during the first months of the offseason. He said Blanton’s route-running and blocking have improved and he’s beginning to pair his natural physical gifts with a firm grasp of proper techniques.
"If he uses great technique with great effort, he’s going to have a hard time getting beat," Finley said. "He’s making big strides. He made a big jump in the offseason and his workouts, and it’s showing out here on the field. He’s putting a lot into it, and he’s getting a lot out."
We get two more years of Anthony Sherrils
Anthony Sherrils, who will be a redshirt junior this fall, is back as one of the starting safeties. But Ian Simon's absence, after he completed his eligibility, creates an opening for a new starter at the other safety spot as well as some uncertainty in the back of the Tigers’ defense.
"The communication and the leadership part of it is more than anything on the back end," Odom said. "When you’ve got one guy playing one coverage and one maybe another because you’re not communicating, that results in big plays. So that is obviously hugely important for us defensively to make sure we over-communicate and somebody needs to step up, which they are. They need to take ownership like a quarterback would on the other side of the ball."
Maybe returns won't stink this year?
It appears there's little danger of Missouri repeating as the nation's worst return unit. Going back at least to 2004 (thanks, ESPN!), no team has gone back-to-back as the country's worst.
(Sidenote -- Missouri, at 15.08 yards per kick-off return, had the second-worst season since 2004. Wisconsin edged out the Tigers in 2006, with 15.0 yards.)
But whether Missouri improves by five spots or 55 spots, it's going to be about keeping a strong defense and improving just moderately on offense.
The ones that got away
Good week on the diamonds!
Softball completes comeback(s)
MUtigers.com: #15 @MizzouSoftball Takes Series With 7-3 Sunday Win Over #16 Tennessee
The Trib: Fagan, Rathburn homer in Tigers' series-clinching win over Tennesseee
The Missourian: No. 15 Missouri softball wins series finale against No. 16 Tennessee
Huuuuuuge baseball win
It took a while for the baseball team to get home
Bus blew a tire. Our bus driver is solving this problem by fencing with a weed. pic.twitter.com/Fz8fPVyiIU— Shawn Davis (@ShawnDizzle77) April 4, 2016
Flat tire update: JC, Peel & Hunter are playing catch. Lights haven't taken effect yet and ball is hard to see. We are watching the @Royals— #MizzouBaseball (@MizzouBaseball) April 4, 2016
For those curious, this is how we got the flat. pic.twitter.com/Dm8oBxRbe9— #MizzouBaseball (@MizzouBaseball) April 4, 2016
Dr. Soyoye's Urgent Care
Nineteen years after leaving Nigeria for the United States and 17 years after arriving in Columbia on a basketball scholarship, Soyoye was opening his own medical practice.
"In the back of my mind, I knew this was going to happen, I just didn’t know when," said Soyoye, who was a starting power forward for Coach Quin Snyder’s Tigers from 1999-2001. "I’m glad that it finally did. To have my own practice, this is the perfect fit for somebody who works at the emergency room to have an Urgent Care."
Since graduating from MU’s School of Medicine in 2011, Soyoye has worked in the emergency room at Bothwell Regional Health Center in Sedalia.
"I just love the excitement that you don’t know what’s coming in the next minute, and then you can save somebody’s life," he said of the ER. "You can see the expression on the family’s faces, the expression on the patient, when you do what you have to do. You have an instant reward right there."
He will continue to do that a few days a week and spend the rest of his time at Columbia Urgent Care, where the patients walking through the door are suffering less dire maladies.