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April 18, 2012

Questions remain out of spring



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Over the last few weeks, Missouri answered a lot of questions during spring football. But there are still some things unanswered. PowerMizzou.com takes a look at five questions that remain for the Tigers.

Will the kicking game come around?

Field goal kicking cost the Tigers dearly a season ago. Much of this spring, Missouri has again struggled to make a kick. In the Black and Gold game, Trey Barrow made his only attempt, but in the scrimmage before he was just 1-for-5. Breaking in a new holder and snapper certainly has something to do with the adjustment as well. The Tigers have a few months to get things figured out.

How soon will Franklin be back?

James Franklin missed the second half of spring ball after having surgery to repair a torn labrum. The Tigers have said they expect him to begin throwing in July and Franklin said on Saturday he felt good and expected to be completely healthy for the start of the season. The questions will be, even if he is throwing again in July, how quickly does he get back his range of motion and arm strength? Make no mistake, the Tigers need Franklin healthy for camp. A healthy Franklin is the difference between talking about making a bowl game and talking about competing for an SEC East title.

What's the rotation at safety?

Kenronte Walker won the most improved safety award and seems to be in great shape to start. Braylon Webb currently holds the other starting spot, but Tavon Bolden has plenty of potential and played well at times this spring (and, more importantly, seems to be working his way back into the good graces of the coaching staff). One of those players seems likely to start, the other will be the third safety. Last year's starter, Matt White is running second-string at the other spot.

How many will play at defensive end?

Michael Sam had a strong spring and Brad Madison is a no-brainer to start upon his return from injury. Kony Ealy looks simply huge and played well, Brayden Burnett had plenty of moments and Shane Ray may have been the best of them all this spring. Are there enough snaps to go around for all five? If not, Missouri may have a very, very good defensive end playing only mop-up minutes.

What happens at wideout?

There is one very simple reason this question could not receive an answer in the spring. Dorial Green-Beckham wasn't here. DGB is expected to compete for a starting spot immediately. But T.J. Moe, Marcus Lucas, L'Damian Washington, Gahn McGaffie, Bud Sasser, Jimmie Hunt and Eric Waters mean the Tigers have no shortage of weapons competing for time at four spots.

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