Injuries to key offensive skill players have hurt Missouri’s production on that side of the ball, and although Emanuel Hall is officially back, three talented players — one starter and two backups — may have injuries that withhold them from this week’s game against Vanderbilt: tight end Albert Okwuegbunam (shoulder), true freshman running back Tyler Badie (foot) and tight end Kendall Blanton (knee).
Head coach Barry Odom said Okwuegbunam and Badie didn’t practice Tuesday morning and could be questionable for Saturday’s contest. Blanton practiced in a red non-contact pullover.
Okwuegbunam is one of the premier tight ends in college football, leading all tight ends in touchdowns (6) and ranks third in receptions (43) and 10th in receiving yards (446). Badie bursted onto the scene this season, despite sitting behind Damarea Crockett and Larry Rountree III. The true freshman has provided a nice spark off the bench and provides a formidable, different look from Crockett and Rountree.
Both Okwuegbunam and Badie are crucial to Missouri’s offensive success — and if the Tigers are to keep this momentum rolling after a 38-point performance against Florida, both will have to play against a somewhat dangerous Vanderbilt team.
It seems like Blanton could be available Saturday if Okwuegbunam is scratched from the depth chart, providing some relief for Missouri fans, as Blanton is a large red-zone target that can play the role of a possession tight end in Derek Dooley’s offense.