Each Thursday, PowerMizzou.com publisher Gabe DeArmond will answer questions from subscribers in our Tiger Mailbag. This feature will allow for longer, more in-depth answers than you may get on the message board on a daily basis. To have your question in next week's mailbag, send an email to Gabe at firstname.lastname@example.org. On to this week's inquiries:
MizzouTigers11 asks: A position that seems to be overlooked, and is in my opinion the most important position on the field, is the offensive line. How do you think the two new starters, Tim Barnes and Dan Wise will hold up next season? Especially for Wise, since he will be the one who will be blocking for Daniel's blind side?
Trust me, we won't overlook it. That is the number one question mark on this team as far as offense or defense goes. I think Barnes will be solid at center, but I think you have to expect at least a little dropoff. Adam Spieker was a third team all American. With Wise, as I mentioned earlier in the week, the time is now. He's been talked about a lot over the last three years. Now it's time to produce.
Alumnus asks: Our kicking game is really important, and I'm concerned about the recent commitment of our top candidate elsewhere. Top programs do not depend on walk-on kickers. Do we have any prospects worthy of a scholarship?
As far as kickers who are recruiting targets, Hopkins was the only one I really knew. Those guys tend to surface later. But you say top programs do not depend on walk-on kickers. I just don't agree. I would never have anything BUT a walk-on kicker. In my memory, all the best kickers at Mizzou have pretty much been walk-ons (Wolfert, Knickman, Matheny, even Crossett). Jeff Wolfert might be the best kicker in the country this year. Nobody offered him a scholarship. I'd keep on going the walk-on route. Make a kid come along and prove himself for a year, then you give him the scholly.
jhorn83 asks: If you could create an All-Pinkel First Team who would be on it? The full starting O, D, Special Teams and two utility guys. Some of it can be based on skill, some just based on guys who you loved to interview, etc.?
You lucked out. It's a light week on questions, so I'll take a shot at it.
QB: Chase Daniel on passing downs, Brad Smith on running downs
RB: Zack Abron, he probably wasn't the best runner, but man I loved to watch that kid play. It's not a shot at Tony Temple because he's a great kid, but I just loved watching Abron run.
WR: Jeremy Maclin. Duh.
WR: Will Franklin. Never has there been a kid who underwent a bigger transformation in four years. As a freshman, I never thought Will would turn into a team player. He was the ultimate team player.
WR: Tommy Saunders. Every team needs a Tommy Saunders.
TE: Chase Coffman. I love Rucker and he turned the program around. But Chase is going to be a pre-season all-American and he's never been listed as the starter. He deserves to win one, doesn't he?
OL: A.J. Ricker. Great player, better interview.
OL: Kurtis Gregory. He lives like five houses away from me and he's a good kid.
OL: Scott Paffrath. Was the go-to guy when you needed a quote from a lineman.
OL: Adam Spieker. I know that gives me two centers, but it's my team so deal with it.
OL: Tony Palmer. Maybe my favorite Tiger of all time. Also the only 340 pound man ever to hug me.
Offensive Utility player: Darius Outlaw. He'd play anywhere and do anything. In addition, he talked all the time. May have been the only guy to ask the media if he could do interviews, instead of the other way around. He had an amazing gift to talk a lot and say absolutely nothing.
DE: Xzavie Jackson. I can sum up every interview the X-Man did during his senior year: "We're just going out there having fun and playing University of Missouri football." Read the stories. It was in every quote he gave for his last 12 months on campus. He was a good player too.
DT: Atiyyah Ellison. Always liked the guy. Was a little surprised he didn't fare better in the NFL.
DT: Lorenzo Williams. Battling Palmer for the top spot on my all-time favorites list. Something about those Midwest City, OK guys.
DE: Brian Smith. The man played Big 12 football on the defensive line at less than 220 pounds. That takes some serious speed. You lined up Smith opposite a tackle one on one and you'd take your chances with him almost every time.
LB: Sean Weatherspoon. Great player, great interview, best linebacker I've ever seen at Missouri. That sums it up.
LB: James Kinney. Kinney was the only guy I've ever seen who made more tackles on Sunday than on Saturday. Now, to be fair, he was a pretty good player. But we'd get stats after the game on Saturday and Kinney would have nine tackles. By the time we showed up at media day on Monday after the film had been reviewed, he had about 16.
LB: Brandon Barnes. He caught more passes as a linebacker in one game against Texas Tech than he caught in his entire career as a wideout.
DB: David Overstreet. The walking quote.
DB: Pig Brown. Learned well from Overstreet. Plus he spoke in a southern
accent, so that was cool.
DB: William Moore. Learned well from Pig. If you've never seen his Sun Bowl rap, it should be required viewing.
DB: Jason Simpson. Man, with him and Overstreet at the safety spot, there were teams that had better players, but none that were louder.
Defensive Utility Player: Chad Marshall. He never played a down, but the guy spent more time in the football complex than any player I've ever seen (at least on Monday around 3:30). More than once, I spotted him taking naps on the couch in the lobby during media day. Just had to find a way to get that in.
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