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Missouri’s Albert Okwuegbunam is why redshirts exist

Here are today’s Mizzou Links.

Albert O was the star of the show when Mizzou players and coaches met with the media on Tuesday. Our Tashan Reed got some video.

Tight end Albert Okwuegbunam:

Albert Okwuegbunam played Wide Receiver when he was in High School in Central Illinois. He went the first four games of his senior year without being tackled. The tight end caught three touchdowns in Missouri’s win over Idaho on Saturday.

Posted by Rock M Nation on Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Tight ends coach Joe Jon Finley:

Missouri tight ends coach Joe Jon Finley on Albert Okwuegbunam: “You don’t pass on a guy that’s 6’6.”

Posted by Rock M Nation on Tuesday, October 24, 2017

The last couple of months have certainly seen a few plot developments for the tight end from Springfield, Ill.

Okwuegbunam — Tigers fans should have this down soon: OH-kwu-AYE-boo-NAM — opened this season, his redshirt freshman year, as the Tigers’ third-string tight end. Seven games later, he’s eclipsed two veterans on the depth chart and climbed to the top line with two consecutive strong performances. In Saturday’s 68-21 victory over Idaho, Albert O, as the less courageous annunciators prefer, snagged all four passes thrown his way, including three touchdowns in the first quarter.

One issue about packing on the mass that Okwuegbunam packed on over the last year: laundry makes you nervous.

Missouri football’s newest offensive threat does not put his clothes in a dryer. He is scared they will shrink, and Albert Okwuegbunam has already pushed them to their limits.

That’s what happens when a tight end gains about 40 pounds in a year.

Okwuegbunam has basically turned into the dream redshirt story, the guy who shows up skinny and athletic, with a fillable frame, packs on an insane amount of weight in a short amount of time, and retains most or all of the athleticism that led to you offering him a scholarship in the first place. You get a few of those in each recruiting class, and you’re set.

Ok has a brother in fellow redshirt freshman Tre Williams, by the way.

Behind the scrum, defensive end Tre Williams peered over a reporter’s shoulder. The reporter was filming Okwuegbunam’s responses with his cell phone, and Williams was transfixed on the screen.

“That’s my brother,” Williams, a fellow redshirt freshman, said of the tight end.

Their friendship started last year, when both were residents of Defoe Hall on MU’s campus along with a slew of other freshman football players.

The pair is Missouri’s version of “The Odd Couple.” Okwuegbunam is soft-spoken and calculated, while Williams is bouncy and unreserved.

More from Williams, by the way:

Tre Williams: “When things turned around for me is when I realized that we’re losing and I have some intangibles to help us. I just need to get out of my own head and stop thinking so much and play ball.” Williams recorded his first career sack against Idaho on Saturday.

Posted by Rock M Nation on Tuesday, October 24, 2017

The best possible things that can come from such an awful start to a season are a) a hot streak that b) stems from the emergence of some young, future leaders.

Between Okwuegbunam, Williams, apparent new first-string nickel back Joshuah Bledsoe, and running back Larry Rountree III, it appears (b) is on its way to being fulfilled. Now we wait to find out about (a).

Perhaps add Chris Turner to that (b) list, too.

“He plays every snap full speed,” Haley said. “It’s been important to him. He’s taken time to study, to learn the playbook.”

The freshman’s effectiveness on the field forced his coaches to find more playing time for him. The result was plugging Turner into the defensive tackle position when the team faced a third-down play.

The idea paid off. Missouri’s defense had its most efficient performance of the year when it came to getting off the field. Despite finishing without a tackle, Turner was key in forcing the Idaho offense to speed up its decisions as plays developed downfield.

Back to Rountree, who Barry Odom says “isn’t going to run out of bounds”:

Larry Rountree III on increased workload in Damarea Crockett’s absence: “That’s what coach has prepared me for everyday during practice. It’s next man up.”

Posted by Rock M Nation on Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Ah, this is way too many good feelings for a one-game winning streak. To tamp down the mood, let’s ask Drew Lock about, among other things, his role in the worst game in the history of sport:

Drew Lock reflects on being subbed in for a crucial drive in Missouri’s 9-6 win over Connecticut in 2015: “I was not prepared to go in.”

Posted by Rock M Nation on Tuesday, October 24, 2017

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