University of Missouri

Mitch Hall slides back into starting right guard spot for Missouri

tpalmer@kcstar.com

Mitch Hall (right) has regained his spot as a starter on Missouri’s offensive line this season.
Mitch Hall (right) has regained his spot as a starter on Missouri’s offensive line this season. skeyser@kcstar.com

It’s not to figure out how Missouri senior Mitch Hall became a 6-foot-5, 310-pound Goliath.

He gets his height from his dad, Mike, who is also partially responsible for his girth.

Mike won the MU Parents Chili Cook-off before the Tigers’ homecoming game last week against Florida.

Hall’s mom, Linda, also was a terrific cook, so Mitch didn’t lack for calories as a kid.

“I am blessed to have two parents who can cook really well,” Hall said. “That was a big plus growing up.”

Hall started the first four games last season at right guard for Missouri. He lost that job when the Tigers reshuffled the offensive line after Anthony Gatti’s season-ending knee injury against Indiana.

Buoyed by a strong spring, Hall has solidified the right guard spot this season.

“He’s done a great job, and he’s really worked at his deficiencies from last year,” MU offensive line coach A.J. Ricker said. “His feet are better, he’s playing stronger and he’s really elevated his game. He’s changed.”

Missouri’s coaches say a light bulb went off for Hall during the offseason and he’s become a much better player as a senior.

“Sometimes, you just never know, but one year they change,” Ricker said. “Maybe it becomes more important than the next, but he’s really grasping it. It’s fun to watch, because he wants it bad. It’s fun to see him really take things by the horns and go.”

Hall’s teammates certainly have noticed a difference this season.

“I think Mitchell’s doing a great job,” senior center Evan Boehm said. “He’s showing his confidence level has gone up. His technique and his fundamentals, that’s all he worked on the summer. We would stay after and work on it all summer.

“We still have things to work on, but that’s what we’re going to go out and do.”

The Tigers as a team have plenty work on after last week’s loss to Florida.

The Tigers, 4-2, play at Georgia, 4-2, at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Ga., and are trying to rebound from the 21-3 defeat against the Gators.

“It’s easier to find the drive when you lose, because you want to get that bad taste out of your mouth,” Hall said. “After you win, you might relax a little bit. That happens with younger players, but I think for us just going out Tuesday and Wednesday and having a real physical practice and being focused at practice will really help us this week.”

Tod Palmer: 816-234-4389, @todpalmer

Missouri at Georgia

Kickoff: 6:30 p.m. today at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Ga., SEC Network

Other story lines

1. Hansbrough effect: Hampered by a sprained right ankle, senior Russell Hansbrough only managed 92 yards rushing in 28 carries before breaking out for 74 yards in nine carries in a pass-heavy game plan against Florida. Hansbrough’s improved health could impact how Missouri attacks Georgia.

2. Bad, bad brothers: Despite a sprained ankle against Kentucky, which sidelined him for the fourth quarter and left him limited the next week against South Carolina, Missouri senior linebacker Kentrell Brothers still leads FBS with 74 tackles and 12.3 tackles per season.

3. Bounceback efforts: Missouri hasn’t lost consecutive games since the end of the 2012 season. Missouri finished that year with back-to-back losses against Syracuse and Texas A&M. The Tigers are 6-0 in the game after a loss during the last three seasons, including a 24-10 victory against South Carolina this season after a defeat at Kentucky.

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