Campus Corner

The Star's blog on college sports, featuring Kansas, Kansas State and Missouri

Injuries hit MU offensive line, but help is on the way

08/09/2012 6:35 PM

05/16/2014 7:20 PM

Missouri coach Gary Pinkel confirmed Thursday that he expects senior left guard Travis Ruth and redshirt freshman offensive tackle Taylor Chappell to miss the season because of injury. The news is the latest blow to a line that has suffered a rash of injuries since fall camp opened.

“We’ve got three guys that would have been in the top 10 (at offensive line) that will most likely not play this year,” Pinkel said, referring to Ruth, Chappell and junior guard Mark Hill, who had to quit football due to complications stemming from blood clots.

Ruth, the projected starter at left guard, was scheduled to have surgery Thursday for a torn triceps, while Chappell, the top backup at offensive tackle, tore an ACL in his knee and is set to have surgery within two weeks.

Also, with senior left tackle Elvis Fisher sitting out Thursday’s practice because of an ankle injury, sophomore offensive tackle Chris Freeman limping off the field because of a “tweaked” knee and Justin Britt suffering a Jones Fracture in his foot a few weeks ago, there’s little doubt the Tigers’ depth is starting to stretch to the limit right now.

But both Pinkel and co-offensive line coach Bruce Walker said Fisher and Britt will be healthy for the Sept. 1 opener against Southeastern Louisiana.

“He’ll be fine,” Walker said of Fisher. “We’ve got to make sure we get him to the dance, so we’ll control him a little bit, but he’s going to be fine. He’s a frickin’ warrior, we’ll get him there, trust me on that.”

Walker said Britt is probably seven to 10 days away from practicing at full speed.

“I’d be disappointed if he wasn’t ready to go by the first game,” Walker said. “He’s going to have to work and get his timing and get used to the contact again, but the good news is he has a year of experience he can draw on.”

Two more projected starters, center Mitch Morse and guard Jack Meiners, have been healthy all camp, meaning that for all the injuries, only left guard is in flux, though Pinkel and Walker are optimistic about the prospects there, too.

As of now, freshman Evan Boehm from Lee’s Summit West grad is battling junior walk-on Max Copeland for the starting position.

“He’s a really good young prospect,” Pinkel said of Boehm. “He’s probably going to be thrown in the fire here.”

But don’t sleep on Copeland, who missed some time earlier in camp due to a virus but is now back to full strength.

“Right now, Max Copeland is the starter there,” Walker said. “He’s definitely in the mix to play and he’s earned that, whether he’s got a scholarship or not. He gives great effort and he’s tough.”

MU reaches season-ticket goal

The athletic department announced Thursday that it has sold out of football season tickets for the 2012 season. The announcement comes just days after the school announced it had surpassed 45,000 season tickets, and the sellout, which encompasses approximately 46,500 seats, is the first on record.

Single-game tickets for the three non-conference home games are currently available, while Tiger Scholarship Fund members at designated levels may also purchase single-game tickets to SEC games, followed by Mizzou Football season ticket holders.

If tickets remain, single-game conference tickets will go on sale to the public on Aug. 24. Fans can visit mutigers.com for more details.

Day 8 observations
After resting his throwing shoulder on Tuesday and Wednesday, quarterback James Franklin participated in today’s practice fully. Franklin made a couple nice throws, including a laser-like completion to senior receiver Gahn McGaffie down the left sideline…tempers flared today, as true freshman receiver Levi Copelin and redshirt freshman linebacker Brandon Durant got into it on a couple of occasions. At one point, defensive end Michael Sam yelled at Durant, imploring him not to let a receiver get the better of him. Pinkel said the fighting was standard-camp fare, and didn’t mind as long as it doesn’t get out of hand. He later added that he’s had worse fights than that at practice. “Sometimes I have to intervene with some scare tactics,” he said, probably only half-joking…freshman receiver Dorial Green-Beckham made a few more standout catches today. One came in the back of the end zone, as the 6-foot-6 super prospect from Springfield simply outleaped safety Cortland Browning to catch a jump ball thrown by freshman Maty Mauk. Another came a few plays later, when Green-Beckham made a diving catch over the middle in the end zone for a touchdown…true freshman running back Morgan Steward flashed some speed and drew a few “oohs” from his teammates back taking a handoff and beating fellow freshman corner John Gibson to the edge for a touchdown. I've heard some positive things about true freshman Russell Hansbrough, who is currently dealing with a sprained ankle, but Steward is getting a chance to shine…at this point, it looks like junior Randy Ponder and redshirt freshman Ian Simon are the top backups at corner. Both got work with the first-team defense today while Kip Edwards and E.J. Gaines

, the surefire starters, each sat out portions of practice with minor injuries.

Injury report
Freshman tight end Sean Culkin will get surgery on his broken finger on Friday and is expected to miss 2-3 weeks, team spokesman Chad Moller

said.

Next up

Missouri moved up the time for its second practice today from 3:45 p.m. to 3:05 p.m. The Tigers will also practice Friday morning at 7:15 a.m., their final practice before Saturday’s scrimmage.

To reach Terez A. Paylor, call 816-234-4489 or send e-mail to tpaylor@kcstar.com. Follow him at twitter.com/TerezPaylor.

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