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February 23, 2006

Spring preview: Strong in the center

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There hasn't been too much suspense at the center position in the last few years at Mizzou. In fact, only three players have started a game at center for the Tigers in the last decade. PowerMizzou.com takes a look at the position of ultimate stability.

The Starter: Adam Spieker took over the starting job as a redshirt freshman in 2004. After a solid season, Spieker held down the spot all through last year. There's not much reason to expect he won't do the same in 2006. Spieker should serve as the anchor of a line looking for one with the departure of Tony Palmer.

The Backup: We have heard nothing but good things about redshirt freshman James Stigall. Though he started out at guard, Stigall moved over to center as the Tigers continually struggled with shotgun snaps throughout fall camp. Stigall is the third redshirt freshman, along with Kurtis Gregory and Dain Wise who should fight for some significant playing time in 2006.

The Spring Prediction: Again, we see a position where the should not be much suspense, at least as far as the players are concerned. Spieker and Stigall seem to be fairly entrenched here. However, it will still be well worth watching. Brad Smith had to use all of his athleticism simply to catch a number of snaps last season. With a quarterback about three or four inches shorter than Smith, precision will be all that much more important in the spring.

Things could change if… Spieker and Stigall lose 75 pounds and want to play tight end or wide receiver. Other than that, not much should change the two-deep here.

Over the next three weeks, PowerMizzou.com will take an in-depth look at the two-deep at every single position entering spring ball.

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