Each Tuesday throughout the season, PowerMizzou.com will present its top 11 players for that week. These are the Tigers who had the best effort in the game the previous weekend. It doesn't carry over from week to week. Being on last week's list gives you no better shot to stay there than if you weren't on it. On to the top Tigers heading into Missouri's first game of the 2005 season on Saturday.
TUESDAY'S TOP TIGERS
Plain and simple, this is Aaron O'Neal's season. That's the way, when they look back on it, the Tigers, and probably their fans, will remember the 2005 year. The Tigers officially announced many of the ways in which they will honor their fallen teammate during the year, including lining up along the 25-yard line (O'Neal's number) for a moment of silence at the first home game.
Daniel did what absolutely no one, including himself, thought he could do. He won the backup quarterback job as a true freshman. This is no temporary deal, not an acknowledgment of how hard Daniel has worked. This is the real deal. Sink or swim, Daniel will do what few can: play quarterback at a Division One college as a true freshman.
You want value? How about this? We don't know if Spieker has a backup. He likely can't play every snap, but the way the other centers have performed at times in camp, the Tigers might need him to. If there's a player that Missouri can't afford to have injured, it's not their quarterback, it's the sophomore center from Webb City.
Freshman number two that is going to play on offense, Coffman may end his career as the best player in this class. With gifted hands, the tight end from Ray-Pec will see plenty of action beginning this week. Tiger coaches are drooling thinking about Coffman and Martin Rucker as their tight end tandem for the next three seasons.
Crossett didn't exactly light it up in fall camp. He wasn't bad, but he wasn't fantastic. However, Crossett has not only secured the placekicking job, he's also the Tigers' backup punter. At some point this season, the outcome of a game will depend on Crossett's right leg. He's as valuable to this team as just about anyone.
While people raved all camp long about Tony Temple (see below), Woods quietly went about his business and won the starting tailback job. An all-around back, Woods is going to get first crack at carrying the ball this Saturday. His experience last year should help him be ready to be a feature back.
If this were solely a list of who had the best camp, Temple would probably sit at the top. The kid is a threat to score every single time he touches the ball. He went crazy in every single scrimmage this fall and, whether he is ever the starter or not, he's goinig to have a big year in 2005.
Franklin is probably the most improved offensive player from this time a year ago. That's saying something because he saw the field as a true freshman. Dedicating himself to working hard in the off-season, the Helicopter looked like Smith's favorite target in fall camp and should have a monstrous year in the passing game.
Left for dead at times in his career, Washington is not only a starting cornerback, he's been Missouri's best over the last three weeks. The senior is not only a captain, but he looks ready to lead on the field as well. In addition, he holds a soft spot with us as one of the best interviews on the team. Need a quote, go to Calvin, he'll always talk.
For Missouri to be good, Smith will have to rise on this list. However, it's not that he hasn't been good so far. In fact, he's looked better throwing the ball than ever before, and, man, is he fun to watch on the run. He's down at number ten simply because we've come to expect so much that when we see it, it's nothing out of the ordinary.
Coffey has gone from a guy that quit the team as a freshman to an unquestioned leader. After setting the school record with ten touchdown catches a season ago, imagine what he might do with the weapons that have been assembled around him. With Rucker, Temple, Woods, Franklin and Coffman drawing defensive attention away from him, look for big things from Coffey in his senior season.
PowerMizzou.com will be your most comprehensive source for coverage of the Tigers throughout the 2005 season. Each Monday, we will provide you with a transcript of coach Pinkel's press conference in its entirety. Throughout the week, we will provide audio interviews, feature stories and analysis of the upcoming game. During the game, we will provide Instant Analysis of the contest and will continue with complete post-game coverage throughout the weekend. To talk about it with other Tiger fans, visit our premium forum, The Tigers' Lair.