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How’s it going at Mizzou spring practice?

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Rashad Brandon is showing potential, Nate Brown is running full-speed, and two offensive linemen are out for a little while.

Missouri’s basketball coaching search has certainly been a pretty sufficient carrot to chase this March. It has, for worse or probably better, prevented us from devouring every single tiny morsel of information from spring football.

For me, personally, it means that links have piled up. I’ve been paying attention, but not nearly as much as normal. So to get our house in order as we wait for the next basketball rumor, let’s check in on what’s happening over at Dan Devine Pavilion.

1. Minor injuries. There are always minor injuries.

Franklin Agbasimere’s injury is disappointing because the sophomore was starting out at a new position, but every spring day without an “out for the season” headline is a good day.

2. Nate Brown is happy to be back.

The Trib, Post-Dispatch, and PowerMizzou all featured articles on the 2015 starter. From The Trib:

Brown tore the ligaments on the outside of his left ankle and had to have a plate inserted during surgery. Brown said he realized then that there was a good chance he was going to have to redshirt during the 2016 season.

“It was pretty devastating,” said Brown, a redshirt junior.

Brown was running by the middle of last season, but it took longer to get back to full-speed change of direction and cutting. Coach Barry Odom decided to keep him out of action and preserve his two years of eligibility.

My “injuries hurt in the present tense but help in the future tense” mantra applies pretty well here. Because Brown didn’t play last year, guys like Dimetrios Mason got more reps and more experience against SEC cornerbacks. And now Mizzou has four starting receivers back for three positions. That can’t hurt Josh Heupel’s efforts to further improve the Tiger attack.

Other offense links:

3. How’s that whole “tackling” thing coming?

It’s kind of important, and Missouri really wasn’t very good at it last year. The solution: new drills!

At the suggestion of two new defensive coaches, Mizzou is incorporating tackling rings — oversized, doughnut-shaped pads that provide a moving target for defensive players to refine their tackling technique.

“It’s different, but I’ve seen a lot of videos of NFL players using them and different colleges using them,” junior linebacker Brandon Lee said. “So far, the experience with them has been great.”

Another solution: new players. Rashad Brandon, for instance.

[Defensive coordinator Demontie] Cross lit up at the mention of Brandon's name after Tuesday's practice, during which Brandon was a wreaking machine on the interior of the line.

“We’ve got” more “guys coming,” Cross said, “but to have him here, in shape the way he is, playing as hard as he is, and making an impact that he’s made so far, he’s definitely been an upgrade, not only from ability, but also from depth, so we’re very excited.”

Brandon has excited his position mates, too.

"He is going to be great," senior defensive tackle A.J. Logan said. "He's explosive, he has a good quick swim, he's picking it up really fast. I think he's going to be a great asset for us."

Other defense links:

Blake Toppmeyer’s been busy.