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West Virginia Mountaineers vs Missouri Tigers

Missouri Tigers offensive lineman Larry Borom (79) blocks in the second quarter during a game between the West Virginia Mountaineers vs the Missouri Tigers on Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium in Columbia, Mo. on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019. Photo by David Carson, dcarson@post-dispatch.com

COLUMBIA, Mo. — It didn’t take long for Missouri to scramble plans along the offensive line. The Tigers settled on new starters Larry Borom at left guard and Hyrin White at right tackle after a full offseason of practices, scrimmages and evaluations, but two games into the season shook up the line and started both on the bench Saturday against Southeast Missouri.

Instead, Case Cook (left guard) and Bobby Lawrence (right tackle) made their first career starts after having what the coaches described as a better week of practice. As for this week, stay tuned for Saturday’s kickoff against South Carolina. Both positions remain unsettled on the team’s public depth chart, which lists an OR between Borom and Cook and between White and Lawrence.

“We just have a lot of competition at the right tackle and the left guard positions,” offensive coordinator Derek Dooley said. “We're going to keep playing guys that are deserving of time and eventually, if one of them plays their way into the full-time role then they’ll take it over.”

Ideally, Dooley would like to have five established players in position to start every game, but he doesn’t mind some competition this early in the season. Last year, other than some brief time off for former left guard Kevin Pendleton to nurse a few injuries, the Tigers went with the same five linemen for most snaps in every game.

“One of the reasons could have been we didn't have anybody pushing those guys, not necessarily because they were so good,” Dooley said. “So we’ve got more guys who can compete. We’ve got more guys (that) if guys aren’t getting it done we put another guy in there.”

The one lineman Mizzou expects back Saturday is senior left tackle Yasir Durant, who came out of the SEMO game as a precaution with a neck injury. He was limited in practice Tuesday but Barry Odom said Durant “will play, will start and will play well.”

FAMILIAR FOE

Missouri quarterback Kelly Bryant has a handful of friends on South Carolina’s roster but doesn’t expect to get too nostalgic on Saturday. Bryant, a native of Calhoun Falls, S.C., spent his first three-plus seasons at in-state rival Clemson and was 1-0 as the Tigers’ starter against the Gamecocks, winning the 2017 regular-season finale 34-10.

Bryant is especially close with South Carolina receiver Jay Urich, who was Bryant’s successor at quarterback at Wren High School. The two keep in touch regularly, Urich told reporters Tuesday in Columbia, S.C.

“He's evolved a lot. He's progressed,” Urich said. “And just like any quarterback, you want to evolve, you want to progress and you want to get better. And I think he's really done that over the years. … He likes it (at Missouri). He's really enjoying it. For him, the big thing is wherever he goes, he’s a light and he's going to shine bright and his personality is big. Wherever he goes, people follow him. So I'm not surprised by that.”

MARKED MAN

South Carolina just played the SEC team loaded with the best wide receivers. That would be Alabama. But Mizzou’s coaches are no less impressed with Gamecock senior wideout Bryan Edwards, who had a career-best nine catches for 79 yards in Saturday’s loss to the Crimson Tide. The 6-3, 215-pound wideout is third at USC in career receptions, fourth in receiving yards and sixth in touchdown catches.

“I’ve always thought he’s an underrated guy,” MU defensive coordinator Ryan Walters said. “He’s big and physical. He’s going to play on Sundays.”

In three career games against Mizzou, Edwards has 16 catches for 155 yards and two touchdowns, both in last year’s game.

“Man, I feel like he and I played against each other,” Odom joked. “He's been there forever. What a great player and a great competitor and watching him play last week, I mean, he was on a mission. I admire and respect the way he plays the game.”


Quick Hits from Dave Matter, Sept. 13

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