March 11, 2007
Five spring questions
The Missouri Tigers enter spring ball with almost everyone coming back on offense and a number of replacements to make on defense. Surprisingly, not all of our questions come from that side of the ball. Here are the five issues we will be watching during spring camp, which opens on Tuesday:
Who replaces Domonique Johnson?
We knew about most of the defensive departures, but this one caught everyone outside the program off guard. Johnson started when he was healthy at cornerback last year and had two interceptions. Hardy Ricks is going to get the first shot. He started when Johnson went down with a knee injury last year and was up and down. Junior college transfers Paul Simpson and Castine Bridges will get long looks, as will Trenile Washington. The word was that Del Howard was moving to safety. It will be interesting to see if Johnson's departure changes that.
Can Missouri replace its defensive ends?
It was no coincidence that Mizzou's defense got significantly worse when Brian Smith went down last season. Along with Smitty, Xzavie Jackson is gone. Stryker Sulak was great as a redshirt freshman, but he did not play quite as well last season. Tommy Chavis had his moments, but was not on the field enough to make a complete judgment. Those two get first chance at starting spots, but Jaysen Corbett, John Stull and others will likely have a say in the answer here.
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