Mizzou Tigers

Practice No. 7: DGB's new position(s) + the Tigers running back by committee

Dorial Green-Beckham is getting looks on special teams because of his unique blend of size and speed

COLUMBIA, Mo. - For the second day in a row, the Missouri Tiger football team was inside Devine Pavilion because of rainy conditions Wednesday morning.

  • Injury update: Defensive tackle A.J. Logan (Rock Bridge HS) practiced without any red on for the first time all camp.  Logan had been dealing with a left knee injury he suffered earlier in the summer.  The most notable new name to be sidelined due to injury was starting wide receiver Marcus Lucas.  Gary Pinkel told the media following Wednesday's practice that Lucas is dealing with a hamstring issue.

One of the few portions of practice the media is allowed to see that merits some worth comes after the team has gone through its stretching routine.  At that time the Tigers will practice special teams punting.

During Wednesday's rounds, the coaching staff had wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham working as an edge rusher -- or punt blocker -- for the coverage team.

That's not all. 

Green-Beckham also worked with the kick returners.

After practice, Pinkel said this was all exploratory, a way of maximizing the usage of such an athletically-gifted player.

DGB is long-armed and fast, both being great assets to have for blocking punts.  His speed, as Pinkel points out, means he'll also never get caught from behind if he's able to break one loose on a return.

Despite the work in practice, Pinkel cautioned that this exposes, perhaps, his most talented player to more opportunities for injury.  Clearly, the staff has a lot of contemplating to do before risking for such a reward in that area of the game.


The Tigers have three running backs atop the depth chart -- Henry Josey, Russell Hansbroug and Marcus Murphy -- who are virtually identical in skill and dimensions.

In fact, the three players are separated by no more than an inch, and no more than 5 pounds on the depth chart.

Production, albeit with a caveat, at the position is where the largest distinction lies.

Henry Josey has rushed for 1,000 yards in a season before.  Neither of the other two have.   That, however, was two years ago, before suffering a catastrophic knee injury right in the middle of that 2011 season.

Josey told reporters after practice, though, in a playful manner "that guy is gone," which likely disheartens some Tiger fans.  He did add immediately after that he was "trying to be better than I used to be."

Although he is listed at the top of the depth chart -- and rest assured, Josey will be the starter given health -- it is most likely that Mizzou will spread the carries around in the Tiger backfield.

Even though the top three candidates to carry the ball are virtually the same player, those running backs don't see that as a bad thing for the Tiger offense at all.

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