Missouri lacks depth at wide receiver, which has made it easy for coaches to decide who gets the second- and third-team reps.
They will use whoever is available.
“We could line those guys up, or we could line up without receivers at this point because of the lack of depth," head coach Barry Odom said, half joking. “They’re getting their full share.”
Odom was talking about early enrollees Harry Ballard III, a junior college transfer, and Dominic Gicinto, who graduated from Raytown in the winter to join Mizzou for spring practices.
Never miss a local story.
“You want to make sure they’ve got an opportunity on the different spots to try and learn one position, but also I don't know that we can do that (because of a lack of depth),” Odom said. “They’re lining up at different spots, a number of spots. … And both of them have shown some really good things.”
Gicinto, primarily a slot receiver, is behind two players with some experience at that position: Rising juniors Jonathon Johnson and Richaud Floyd.
Johnson is the starter at the position for now, thanks in part to his consistency as a blocker. Floyd can also play outside sometimes, including when Gicinto might be lining up at the slot with backups.
Offensive coordinator Derek Dooley said that the 5-feet-9, 170-pound Gicinto has shown good speed through four practices and has done “a really good job of learning, applying it on the field.”
Another player has also impressed Dooley with his speed. A quarterback, who is now playing some wide receiver.
Micah Wilson, who appeared in four games while backing up Drew Lock as a redshirt freshman, has participated in some wideout drills during spring practice.
“There’s a really good chance he’s not going to be Drew out this year,” Dooley said of Wilson. “So if a guy’s got good speed and athleticism, why not see if he can help you? It doesn’t mean he can’t play quarterback. He’s doing a good job at quarterback.”
Finding Lock's successor
As Lock prepares for his senior season, Odom said “it would be wise” for the Tigers to give another quarterback some reps next season to prepare for the future.
The Tigers need to identify a backup quarterback, though.
Wilson only completed five of 10 passes for 48 yards and one interception last season. His speed is more impressive than his arm.
Lindsey Scott Jr., a junior college transfer who originally played at LSU, seems like a strong candidate to be Lock’s successor. He is “a little more seasoned” than MU’s other backup quarterbacks, Dooley said. But he is also isn't consistent enough, according to the Tigers' first-year offensive coordinator.
Missouri won’t force another quarterback into games just to get someone experience behind Lock. Odom called doing so “a luxury.”
“I’d only like to get reps behind Drew if we’re winning,” Dooley said. “I don’t want to get it the other way. I’m OK with Drew playing.”
Looking for solutions at safety positions
Missouri needs to replace its two starting safeties from a season ago, and Odom said his staff is “cross training” players at both safety and cornerback.
According to the opening spring depth chart, senior Cam Hilton is Mizzou’s starting free safety, and junior Ronnell Perkins is alongside him as the starting strong safety. But Odom also mentioned sophomores Jordan Ulmer and Christian Holmes as potential options.
Holmes appeared in 10 games as a true freshman and was competing for a starting cornerback spot during training camp last fall, when a shoulder injury caused him to miss the entire 2017 season. Holmes was healthy toward the end of last season, but the Tigers decided they would rather redshirt him.
“He’s just getting back into the flow of playing football,” defensive coordinator Ryan Walters said. “The fundamentals, the techniques and the details. But from an athletic standpoint, he looks better than he did prior to the injury. So we’re just looking forward to getting him consistent and playing with confidence.”