By: Jacob Seus
The Missouri Tigers football team hit the practice field again on Friday as we inch closer to the spring game on April 16.
Cam Hilton sat out of Friday’s practice after straining his hamstring on Tuesday. Odom was not sure whether it was the same hamstring that took Hilton out of practice earlier in the spring.
“We are trying to be smart with that because of what we are asking him to do at that position,” Odom said. “There’s a lot of open field running. Protect him a little. Don’t want to rush him back too quickly.”
Offensive lineman Nate Crawford was seen walking around the practice field using a cane after his Monday back surgery. Linebacker Joey Burkett and running back Ryan Williams also missed Friday’s practice.
Much of the attention after practice was spent on the wide receiver core that widely underwhelmed in 2015.
“I’ve seen improvement but not consistent improvement,” wide receivers coach Andy Hill said. “We’ve got a long ways to go. If we’re on the right track and sitting still, we’re going to be getting run over. We’re moving. We’re moving forward. We’re making strides.”
Receiver J’Mon Moore said he will decide on whether to have surgery or not on his shoulder once spring ball ends. Shoulder problems took some time away from his freshman year and a portion of training camp last fall.
Alabama transfer Chris Black, who is taking part in his first spring ball with Missouri, rounds out the Tigers wide receiving core.
“Going through the whole transferring process, when I did my research and checking out stats and watching game film, I could tell there was a little bit of help needed. I felt like I could fit in and help out. There’s still a great group of receivers here. We’ve just got to improve each and every day,” Black said.
Black said that he feels he can make an immediate impact as a leader on his team despite only having been with the program for a few months.
The Tigers only have a few more days of spring ball before Faurot Field is filled with fans hopeful for a fresh start in 2016. Despite the lack of media coverage the team has been getting this spring, Coach Odom is excited about the fact that the spring game will be televised on the SEC Network.
“I would like if we could have an opportunity to showcase our guys a little bit with the spring game atmosphere. I think it’s exciting if we have a crowd that can watch our team play. And I think the opportunity to be on the network, that should be a positive for the University of Missouri.”
Odom plans to conduct the spring game as a normal game format but is worried the team may not have enough healthy bodies to do so.
“We’re planning to see how we get through tomorrow. That’s what we’re trying to do, just see if we can get through tomorrow’s work, see where we’re at after a number of snaps tomorrow and I’d love to line up and play a game. I don’t know if I’m going to be able to do it or not. We’ll be able to tell after tomorrow, I hope.”
The Tigers will continue to practice and get healthy in anticipation for that spring game at Faurot on April 16 at 5 p.m.