University of Missouri

Can Missouri’s offensive line lose two key starters and not take a step back?

Barry Odom after Tuesday’s practice

Missouri coach Barry Odom after Tuesday’s practice.
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Missouri coach Barry Odom after Tuesday’s practice.

When a college football team loses two offensive line starters and replaces them with players who have seen limited to zero snaps, usually a dropoff is expected.

That thought can’t be found during Missouri’s preseason camp. Despite losing Paul Adams and Kevin Pendleton to graduation, the Tigers expect their replacements, Hyrin White and Larry Borom, to be just fine.

“Both have had moments where they’ve done really good things,” Missouri coach Barry Odom said. “Until we get into the season, they have a lot to learn when the lights are on. Hyrin has played more snaps than Larry in real-life game situations.”

White played in eight games as a reserve in 2018 and served as the sixth man for the offensive line, filling in whenever a starter went down. In Missouri’s game at Purdue, White played the second half after Yasir Durant sprained an ankle.

As a 6-foot-6 redshirt freshman, White made his college debut in a high-pressure environment and ended up helping the Tigers win on a walk-off field goal. Pro Football Focus graded White as Missouri’s highest-rated offensive player for the game.

Now a sophomore, White is slated to start at right tackle, with Borum starting at left guard. Durant, a projected NFL Draft pick, will start at left tackle, while Trystan Colon-Castillo and Tre’Vour Wallace-Simms return at center and right guard.

While it’s not definitive, sophomore Case Cook will likely take White’s roll as the line’s sixth man. Odom said Cook has pushed both Borum and White for their starting spots throughout fall camp.

“I don’t know if we miss a beat, whoever is at that guard and center spot given how Case is producing,” Odom said.

White said his performance in the Purdue game served as a strong foundation for his confidence and play. Colon-Castillo said White’s performance showed the rest of the offense that he could be counted on.

“I think they’ve been doing a wonderful job,” Durant said. “(White) getting in-game reps, I think that did him some favors.”

Borom played in 13 games in 2018, but almost strictly on special teams. He only played on the line in blowout situations. At 6-foot-6 and 340 pounds, he has an NFL frame and has been called deceptively athletic by his teammates. The Michigan native claims he can dunk a basketball windmill-style, which Durant backs up.

White feels ready to be a starter and at ease playing next to Wallace-Simms, who didn’t commit a penalty or allow a sack in 2018. Having some elite reinforcement helps ease the nerves, but that doesn’t take away from the importance of his position.

“It’s a big role I have to take,” White said.

Kicking news

Odom said after Tuesday’s practice that Tucker McCann will double as both a punter and kicker. McCann split reps with a number of walk-on punters throughout fall camp, but Odom said none were able to unseat him.

Redshirt decisions

Odom added that he expects wideout Maurice Massey, defensive backs Stacey Brown and Martez Manuel, offensive lineman Thalon Robinson and defensive lineman Darius Robinson to burn their redshirts this season. Odom had already said tight end and true freshman Niko Hea will play the full year for MU.

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Alex Schiffer has been covering the Missouri Tigers for The Star since October 2017. He came in second place for magazine-length feature writing by the U.S. Basketball Writer’s Association in 2018 and graduated from Mizzou in 2017.
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