Campus Corner

Missouri seeks continued improvement from offensive line vs. Indiana

Missouri Tigers center Evan Boehm is the only returning starter at the same position.
Missouri Tigers center Evan Boehm is the only returning starter at the same position. The Associated Press

Indiana’s defense struggled last week, allowing 571 yards as Bowling Green ran a staggering 113 plays.

But the Hoosiers’ numbers against the run aren’t atrocious.

Indiana State only picked up 30 yards on 24 carries in the opener. Bowling Green finished with 176 yards on the ground, but needed 40 carries to get there, for a 4.4-yard average.

Missouri is only averaging 4.7 yards per carry, which is down from 5.7 last season, and has yet to pop a run longer than 29 yards.

It’s not that the Tigers have been bad, but the run game hasn’t been able to assert its will as it did at times last season.

Missouri’s quest for continuity is ongoing for an offensive-line unit that returns only one starter at the same position from 2013 — junior center Evan Boehm.

“That’s why you don’t substitute offensive linemen very often,” Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said. “You hardly ever see people do it, because the continuity of those five guys have to be together. From the right tackle all the way to the left tackle, they’ve got to get a blocking combination called so they all do the same thing in like a split-second. I’m pleased with the offensive line, but we have to get better. Our whole football team has to get better.”

Senior Mitch Morse moved from right to left tackle, while junior Connor McGovern bumped from right guard to tackle.

Both guards, senior Anthony Gatti on the left and junior Mitch L. Hall on the right, are new full-time starters, but there are signs of progress.

“We’re really starting to get a niche with each other and finding certain things that complement each other’s play,” Morse said.

He said communication has improved dramatically, particularly on the field during games.

Continued progress along the offensive line is a benchmark for success against Indiana.

To reach Tod Palmer, call 816-234-4389 or send email to Follow him on Twitter at @todpalmer.