Just days before the season opener against Louisiana Tech, Missouri football on Sunday released its depth chart for the contest with the Bulldogs. Head coach Eli Drinkwitz expressed his confidence in his group as he addressed the media.
“Our goal going into camp was to establish the depth of 22,” Drinkwitz said during his weekly news conference on Sunday. “We felt like we had done it.”
Here’s what you should know about the depth chart before game time.
Plus:Mizzou football opens the 2022 season against Louisiana Tech. Here’s how to watch.
Pushback by committee?
Missouri listed three running backs as possible starters on the depth chart: Elijah Young, Cody Schrader and Nate Peat. Drinkwitz said those three will see the most carries in Thursday’s game.
“He’s the one with the hot hands, or the hot legs, I guess, would be the guy who’s going to carry on,” Drinkwitz said. “Each one has their own strengths and things they do well, so we’ll play to those strengths until we feel like one has shown that he can handle the whole load.”
Peat, a Rock Bridge alumnus who transferred to Missouri from Stanford during the offseason, has spent camp dealing with what Drinkwitz called a “soft tissue” injury. The Tigers’ head coach said Peat has recovered from the problem.
Freshman Tavorus Jones has also struggled with injuries during camp and Drinkwitz said he could play but probably won’t see any carries in the game until he gets live replays during practice.
“Really, really talented,” Drinkwitz said of Jones. “Disappointed that that happened, and he’s going to be a factor at some point.”
The depth chart released Sunday is full of players listed as “o,” meaning the spot isn’t fully settled and could go either way. In addition to running backs, other groups with multiple potential starters on the list include tight end, Z and H wide receiver spots, safety and punt return.
For the punt returner job, Drinkwitz said Kris Abrams-Draine will likely go first, but Luther Burden could also have a shot.
“It depends on how many times we can get them cleared,” Drinkwitz said.
The depth chart doesn’t include an established backup quarterback, with Jack Abraham, Sam Horn and Tyler Macon listed as possible options. Drinkwitz previously said that game situations will determine who takes the field in the event starter Brady Cook is injured.
One factor Drinkwitz said didn’t affect his decision-making was whether players would transfer through the portal if they weren’t selected. He said he wouldn’t consider the threat of transfers when determining playing time.
“If you give something that they haven’t earned, it gets cheaper,” Drinkwitz said. “They have to earn it. At the end of the day, I have to lay my head on the pillow at night knowing that no matter how it turned out, I’m comfortable with it. And I wouldn’t feel comfortable giving someone something they didn’t earn.”
Plus:Building Brady: How Brady Cook went from young Mizzou fan to starting quarterback
The longest battle has been settled
The Tigers have finally named a starting kicker. Sean Koetting was listed as the winner of the position.
Competition for the position raged throughout the camp, with Drinkwitz consistently listing it as the most difficult to resolve. However, by the start of game week, Koetting had earned the spot.
“It’s just the consistency,” Drinkwitz said. “When we said the last four days were going to determine it, Sean had the best and most consistent of those four days and he earned it, so we’ll take it.”
Jack Stonehouse was listed as a backup on Sunday’s depth chart. Luke Bauer was also part of the competition from the beginning, but Koetting and Stonehouse parted ways.
Although the issue was resolved for the first game, Drinkwitz said the others could have a chance later if they continue to be solid in practice.
“(Koetting) is our starting kicker right now, and we have every confidence that he will come out and perform at a high level,” Drinkwitz said. “But just like at quarterback, feel able that if he doesn’t go the way he needs to go, we’ve got someone there who is very good.”
Mizzou’s first depth chart
- brady cook
- Sam Horn OR Jack Abraham OR Tyler Macon
- Elijah Young OR Cody Schrader OR Nathaniel Peat
- Chance Luper OR Mookie Cooper OR Tauskie Dove
- luther charge
- Dove Tauskie O Chance Luper
- Dominic Lovett O Barrett Railing
- mehki miller
- Tyler Stephens O Kibet Chepyator
- ryan hoerstkamp
- Javon Foster
- bobby lawrence
- Xavier Delgado
- luke griffin
- Connor Tollison
- Richard Taylor O Drake Hemismeyer
- connor wood
- Ex Ndoma-Ogar OR Mitchekk Walters
- Zeke Powell
- armand membou
On the defensive
- Trajan Jeffcoat
- DJ Coleman OR Johnny Walker
- Isaiah McGuire
- Arden Walker O Tyrone Hopper
- Darius Robinson
- Kristian Williams O Daniel Robeldo
- Jayden Jernigan
- Josh Landry O Realus George
- chad bailey
- Dameon Wilson O Will Norris
- Ty’Ron Hopper
- Devin Nicholson
- Kris Abrams Draine
- dreyden norwood
- Ennis Rakstraw
- DJ Jackson OR LJ Hewitt
- Jaylon Carles
- Tyler Hibbler O Ja’Marion Wayne
- Joseph Charleston O Jalani Williams
Matt Stahl is the Missouri athletics reporter for the Columbia Daily Tribune. Follow him on Twitter @mattstahl97.