We've been busy lately checking on the status of QB Blaine Gabbert and DE Aldon Smith in the upcoming 2011 NFL draft so time passed quickly and it's time to start talking football again. The season is still six months away so there won't be a whole lot to talk about but the Missouri Tigers returned to the football field for the first spring practice in 2011.
Here's the first spring depth chart. You can read a lot of thoughts on it at Rock M Nation.
Mizzou will have full scrimmages on March 16, April 9 and the annual Black and Gold game will end spring practice on April 16. In the meantime, there are a few big questions that will have to be answered.
First, who will the quarterback be? Yeah, this is kind of a big question. Gabbert is headed to the NFL so it'll be up to James Franklin, Ashton Glaser and/or Tyler Gabbert to replace him. The early money is on Franklin winning the job but there's a lot of time remaining.
Second, who will the running back be? The Tigers will see lots of backs carry the ball, like they did in 2010, but who will emerge from De'Vion Moore, Henry Josey and Kendial Lawrence? Mizzou's offense is known for its passing but the running backs do play an important role.
Third, how high is the Tigers ceiling? Dave Matter of the Columbia Tribune notes that Gabbert was the seventh most accurate passer in the conference and ranked eighth in passer efficiency. While Gabbert was good, he wasn't prolific. That's good news for Mizzou and their next quarterback because with a good chunk of the offense returning, it's possible the new quarterback has an easier transition. The success of Mizzou, like most teams, will depend on the play of their quarterback, so that's possibly good news for their 2011 outlook.
For more on Mizzou football, check out Rock M Nation.