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August 19, 2013

Six pack for camp's last week



Missouri opens up the final open week of fall camp on Tuesday afternoon. The media will get a glimpse of practices on Tuesday and Wednesday, along with the final scrimmage on Thursday. That scrimmage is generally geared toward reserves and freshmen to solidify the depth chart, rather than having a large impact on starting positions, which are usually largely settled.

PowerMizzou.com takes a look at six questions that will need to be answered in large part over the next three days.



Do any questions remain at quarterback?


The simple answer is probably not. James Franklin was named the starter last week. Gary Pinkel said that the staff remains open to playing Maty Mauk in games, so that solidified his spot as the backup. If there is a competition, it is between Corbin Berkstresser and Eddie Printz for the third spot, but even that probably won't get a definitive public answer. Printz is likely to redshirt unless injury decimates the Tigers at quarterback, so expect Berkstresser to remain the third stringer. If necessary, that could be reassessed down the line. The only real question is will Mauk show enough for the coaches to give him meaningful snaps or is he going to be mostly a mop-up option?

Which freshmen will play?


It appears that Josh Augusta has put himself in position to get time on the field his first year. I would think the same is true of Jason Reese and probably (though a little less certainly) Aarion Penton. J'Mon Moore, Clay Rhodes, Marcus Loud and Nate Crawford could be in the conversation, but the depth may simply not require them to play. Decisions on just about all of these players could last into the start of the season.

Are the kickers settled?


Christian Brinser seems to be secure as the punter. Andrew Baggett has certainly not been overtaken as the placekicker, but he also hasn't grabbed the job by the throat and taken complete control. Thursday's scrimmage could be important in this decision.

What's the depth on the offensive line?


At this point, I would expect Mitch Morse, Connor McGovern, Evan Boehm, Max Copeland and Justin Britt to be the starters. Brad McNulty and Mitch Hall are sure bets to receive playing time as well. Anthony Gatti and Jordan Williams seem to have positioned themselves to figure into the rotation in some regard. Does anyone else fight his way on to the field or are those nine the only linemen we should expect to see?

How does the cornerback depth sort out?


E.J. Gaines is a lock when he returns and I would be surprised to see anyone but Randy Ponder start on the other side against Murray State. Beyond that, John Gibson, David Johnson, Penton and even Ernest Payton are in the discussion. Missouri needs at least four ready to play. I don't think the Tigers need six. It appears at least one of those four will be left out of the mix for playing time. Realistically, Penton, Payton and Johnson are probably battling for one or two spots in the regular rotation.

What about safety?


Braylon Webb will start. To me, the only real question on a starting spot for the Murray State game is probably between Matt White, Ian Simon and Cortland Browning will all likely begin the season in the rotation, but which one will start? And the key question may be how quickly can Duron Singleton get ready? It would surprise me if he was in the rotation for week one, but he very well may be in it by the Indiana game. If so, whose spot does he take?

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