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Ish Witter passed Missouri's concussion tests and will start against UConn

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Here are today's Mizzou Links.

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Mizzou Tigers pennant What's On

Media Day!

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player @MizzouFootball Media Day - Week 3

On the team's success on defense…

I think it starts up front on defense.  Getting through gaps.  Any time you get penetration in a gap, what it does, it really makes it difficult for the offensive lineman and the running back, or even the passing game, to function as the play was designed.  Penetration in the gap creates a lot of problems.  I'm thinking of that one time, we punted the ball and put our defense, backed them up to the five-yard line and almost got the safety. I think one time we had four freshmen in there, a redshirt freshmen in there at one time afterwards.  I wasn't happy with that because you don't want to be in that situation, but we've also got some players playing at a high level being young guys.  I think that's really helped us, especially coming off all the guys we lost.  Having this core group of guys doing some good things has been a real plus.  I think it starts up front.  Scheme-wise, we can do a lot of things too.  On defense, you can put a lot of people in different gaps.  That's what you see on TV, you see it a lot.  We did it a year ago, it's just our designs were a little bit different. We're going to get a certain percentage of that in every game is what you're going to see.  I think it's a combination of all of those things.  Nothing hurts the run game more than penetration.  It destroys all blocking assignments and it creates a lot of problems.

On what being able to have freshmen contribute on the defensive line says about the program…

That says a lot, it's great.  It says we've recruited well.  They're also very eager to learn and play at a high level.  That's certainly a huge plus for us.  They're going to get better and better.  Stronger, faster, quicker.  They'll become different players.

Mizzou Tigers pennant How's that black hole at running back coming?

The Trib (David Morrison): MU Depth Chart: Hansbrough out for Connecticut game

* Witter (head), Hunt (groin) and Steward (hip) are all battling some form of lingering injury,but all are apparently well enough to go against the Huskies. Pinkel had hinted at thinking of lifting a redshirt from a true freshman to help deal with depth issues but -- with nary a freshman on the chart -- it appears he has decided against that for now.

* Chappell takes over for Abeln at left guard after Abeln started the first two games. Chappell played almost all of the Tigers' second-half snaps against Arkansas State.

Post-Dispatch: Mizzou update: Hansbrough likely unavailable vs. UConn
Post-Dispatch: A look ahead for Mizzou
Post-Dispatch: Mizzou running low on running back options

The situation was so dire Saturday that Mauk became the de facto running back, getting 75 yards on mostly designed draws.

"We’re going to have to run him a little bit more," Pinkel said. "I think that’s obvious."

Unlike last week week, the Tigers go into practice Tuesday knowing Hansbrough won’t be part of the game plan. The co-captain initially sprained his ankle on his first carry against SEMO, but Pinkel didn’t think he damaged it any further with his short workload Saturday.

"I just don’t think it’s healed yet," Pinkel said. "We just need to back him off a little bit. … We certainly need to get him healthy and 100 percent, because he’s definitely a force. It’s vitally important to the success of our offense if we can get him healthy."

PowerMizzou: Media Day Notebook: Week 3

[Chase Abbington] was supposed to graduate in May 2015, but did not. He finally joined the team in late July, just a few days before preseason camp began.

Those delays came after using a redshirt year during the 2014 season. It was a process that left Abbington out of shape.

"I was behind," Abbington said. "Being out for a year, I was around football but I wasn't getting the reps in practice and stuff. Being out shape, that takes a big toll.

"I got out of shape quick, that's for sure."

In the six weeks he's been on campus, Abbington said he's now in the "best shape (he's) ever been in." He said he arrived around 230 pounds, and now weighs in at 217. Still, his work load has been very limited through two games. He had one five-yard carry against SEMO, entering the game late in the fourth quarter.

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