COLUMBIA, Mo. – As fall camp draws to an end for Missouri football, the team’s focus has started to shift from itself to Wyoming.
Tigers head coach Barry Odom said his team took about 20 minutes of its practice Tuesday morning specifically prepping for its season-opening game on the road against the Mountain West Conference’s Cowboys.
With a week and a half until its first game Aug. 31, Missouri is starting to unblur the lines of which players will start.
“If we played tomorrow, we have a good feel on who would go out there with the ones,” Odom said. “But we have so many guys labeled I guess as a two right now that would play almost as much as the first group.”
That’s a good problem to have, but Odom said he feels a bit uneasy with some of the second group because of limited experience in high-pressure game situations.
Yet, some position battles for season-opening starting jobs have been clearly claimed.
Odom confirmed Tucker McCann is slated to officially be the Tigers’ starting kicker and punter.
McCann, who started at only kicker the last three seasons, has held off challenges from freshman Aaron Rodriguez, who turned a few heads during camp, as well as Rock Bridge grad Sean Koetting.
“He’s earned it,” Odom said of McCann. “He’s done a nice job.”
The offensive line’s starting group looks to be in place as well. Joining returning starters Yasir Durant, Trystan Colon-Castillo and Tre’Vour Wallace-Simms likely will be the sophomore duo of Larry Borom and Hyrin White.
ALBERT O HONORED: Following other preseason honors, Mizzou tight end Albert Okwuegbunam was named a first-team All-American at tight end by The Associated Press on Tuesday.
Okwuegbunam was a full participant in practice Tuesday along with receiver Johnathon Johnson and fellow tight end Daniel Parker Jr., a Blue Springs High School graduate.
Odom didn’t give an official injury report Tuesday, but said that the pass-catching trio was able to go. Odom is expected to provide a team update Thursday on specific players’ health.
IMPACT FRESHMEN: Odom mentioned the names of a few freshmen who could make season-long impacts.
Along with tight end Niko Hea, who Odom mentioned last week has a chance to play more than four games to burn his redshirt, wide receiver Maurice Massey, defensive backs Stacy Brown and Martez Manuel, as well as offensive lineman Thalen Robinson have garnered enough attention to play throughout the season, Odom said.
Massey may have turned the most heads. His presence appears far beyond that of a true freshman who got to campus a little over a month ago.
On Tuesday, the Kirkwood grad had a jumping, sideline catch while matched up against Richaud Floyd where he twisted his body mid-air to stick a foot inbounds. That’s just one of his attention-grabbing moments from camp.
“You see a great catch and that’s awesome, we’ll take all we can get, but then the next three plays, don’t disappear,” Odom said.
OPPONENTS’ STARTERS: It appears Wyoming and West Virginia, Missouri’s first two opponents, have both named starting quarterbacks.
The Cowboys listed redshirt freshman Sean Chambers as the starter on their latest depth chart. The Mountaineers officially named Oklahoma transfer Austin Kendall their starter Tuesday afternoon.