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July 25, 2011
PowerMizzou.com will get Tiger fans ready for fall camp like no one else. Camp opens on Thursday, August 4th. Between now and then, we will provide an in-depth preview at every position on the roster. Today, we look at the tailbacks.
De'Vion Moore was the starter last season and is expected to be again this year. As a junior, Moore carried 99 times for 517 yards and scored a team-high eight touchdowns. While he doesn't have breakaway speed, Moore is a tough, sure-handed runner. His gallop against Oklahoma helped salt the Tiger Homecoming win away. He may not have the big play ability of the other three backs, but he is probably the most sure thing from down to down.
Kendial Lawrence had a breakthrough spring and could challenge Moore for the starting spot. Lawrence needs to consistently show the ability to run through contact, but he stood out among the backs throughout spring ball. Henry Josey and Marcus Murphy bring big play ability, but need to show the play-to-play consistency of Moore and Lawrence to garner more carries.
The Tigers have four proven, capable players. On any given play, at least three of them are capable of taking it the distance. Everyone should be able to remain fresh and get a good number of carries. Throw in redshirt freshman Greg White and potential big back Jared Culver and the Tigers have no shortage of options in the running game. In addition, all six will have perhaps the best offensive line in the Gary Pinkel era paving the way. Every back averaged at least 5.2 yards per carry.
No single back separated himself as the go-to-guy. That can be a positive or a negative. Are there enough carries to keep everyone happy? Can one or two pull away from the pack to gain more chances? Will Missouri stay committed to the run through the season? Will there be more pressure on the ground game with a new starting quarterback?
Missouri's four tailbacks totaled 1,557 yards and 19 touchdowns last season. No one guy had a big year, but the numbers between the quartet were very good. With more opportunities due to the youth at quarterback, a combined 2,000 yards for the foursome is not out of the question.
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