MISSOURI SPRING FOOTBALL NOTES
•Missouri’s ongoing quarterback competition between senior James Franklin, sophomore Corbin Berkstresser and freshman Maty Mauk continues to intensify, with Mauk surpassing Berkstresser for No. 2 in Tuesday’s pre-practice stretch lines, an indication of the current depth chart.
The switch was likely a result of the first scrimmage of the spring on Saturday, which Mauk starred in while Berkstresser struggled.
However, Missouri coach Gary Pinkel quickly shot down the notion Tuesday that any of the quarterbacks had separated themselves from the pack.
“I don’t discuss evaluations in the spring,” Pinkel said. “We’ll just see where it goes…that kind of competition, that’s our business right now, nobody else’s business. I don’t know where it’s going to end up, and that’s OK. We’ve got three talented guys competing, and I’m in no rush to make a decision. Generally, it takes care of itself. We will set the depth chart after spring ball.”
•Pinkel went out of his way Tuesday to state that several young players have shown enough growth this offseason to emerge as possible contributors. Two of them, it appears, are sophomore guard Connor McGovern and sophomore cornerback David Johnson, both of whom he praised for their rapid improvement.
“This is the time of year when you see young players…and you say, this guy is close to being ready to play,” Pinkel said. “It’s nice to see we’ve got a lot of guys that fall into that category. It makes you sleep a little better…you normally have four or five. I think we have 10 or 11 now. Other than learning plays and the system, that’s what spring practice is about.”
•Pinkel said freshman tight end Sean Culkin, who wore a red non-contact jersey, has a hip pointer, while senior tight end Eric Waters has a foot injury.
“Other than the tight end position, we’re pretty healthy,” Pinkel said.
Pinkel noted that walk-on sophomore Clayton Echard, who is listed at 6 feet 5 and 260 pounds, has moved from defensive end to tight end. With Waters and Culkin as the only scholarship tight ends on the roster, Pinkel had previously said Missouri will need to find a third tight end somewhere, whether it be incoming freshman Jason Reese (who will arrive this summer) or someone like Echard, who has apparently impressed Pinkel.
“He runs well and he’s 257 (pounds),” Pinkel said. “He caught the ball well and I was stunned. We’re looking at different options.”
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