July 27, 2006

Five up front key for Missouri

If experience counts, the Tigers should be in better shape along the offensive line than they have been in quite some time. Mizzou returns four of its five starters from last year's unit, though they did lose Tony Palmer, an all-Big 12 caliber guard.

But simply having the same cast of characters is not enough. Missouri needs to get production from those players as well.

"I think any football coach, if you get most of your offensive and defensive line back, that's a pretty good feeling, developing depth there," Gary Pinkel said.

"If you're not good up front, it is very difficult to be good as a unit. I'm encouraged. I just want to stay healthy and get some backups ready to play. But if we get all those guys to play better than they did a year ago, then I think it will be a real plus for us offensively."

The first hurdle has been cleared. Pinkel said the Tigers' got clearance that Luellen was 100% just this week. He should be full go in camp and lining up at left tackle for the third straight year.

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