The fall semester may not officially start until this Monday, but class has been in session for Bud Sasser for a few weeks. Missouri's freshman wide receiver recently was moved to the slot, meaning another trip to the playbook to learn his new assignment.
"It's very difficult to do that especially for young players," coach Gary Pinkel said. "We try to keep young guys in the one position as much as we can….Bud Sasser, he's moving from wide to inside now. He's handled it pretty good, but that's a whole different position than where he was before."
The move was facilitated in part by injuries to junior Jerrell Jackson, redshirt freshman Kerwin Stricker and fellow freshman Jimmie Hunt. Sasser now finds himself behind sophomore T.J. Moe in the H-wide receiver position.
The move is a wrinkle thrown into Sasser's adjustment to the college game. The Denton, TX, product has made headway so far in camp, even seeing reps against the Tigers' top defense.
"He's learning very quick," Jackson said. "He's learning our offense a lot. He's getting used to running against the No. 1 defense.
"He's got nice hands, he can run pretty good routes. He's a hard worker."
Jackson is one of the players taking Sasser under his wing. He listed receivers coach Andy Hill, junior Wes Kemp, Jackson and Moe as people who are helping him in camp, especially with the move to a new position.
"It's been a little difficult but they're basically just helping a lot just so I can make sure I'm ready," Sasser said.
He said Kemp was his older brother at the beginning of fall camp.
"[We talked about] being comfortable out here," Sasser said. "Not thinking too hard, and not thinking too much. Basically trying your hardest during every play."
Maximum effort may be in order for Sasser to assimilate into the Missouri receiving corps. Pinkel said the job of wide receiver in Missouri's offense is no easy assignment.
"It's very difficult to play receiver here," Pinkel said. "The minute details of running routes, depth and releases that you take and adjustments that you have, it's very very difficult."
Though he's hitting the playbook hard, don't expect Sasser to think he's mastered the lessons yet.
"I'm still working at it," Sasser said. "Right now I'm not saying I'm perfect at all because I still need a lot of stuff to help me get a lot better. Coach Hill, Jerrell Jackson, T.J. Moe, Wes Kemp, they're all helping me every day to get better."
Whether better is good enough to see the field in his first college season remains to be seen. Pinkel said decisions on freshmen will start being made on Thursday. Sasser is right on the cusp of a guy who could be wearing a redshirt or black and gold this fall.
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