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March 6, 2008

Five key position battles in spring ball

Nobody covers spring football like PowerMizzou.com. We will be at every workout. To get complete coverage 365 days a year, click here to start your free trial today!

Missouri opens spring football practice on March 11th, just five days from now. Over the next week, PowerMizzou.com will be previewing the most anticipated spring in school history from every possible angle. Over the last week, we have previewed every position on the team. Today, we take a look at five position battles that should be worth watching:

Tailback: Jimmy Jackson is the starter headed into spring ball. It is likely he will be the starter coming out of spring ball. But Derrick Washington showed flashes of major promise during his freshman season. And Devion Moore is without a doubt a freshman to watch. All three should get carries next season, but the distribution will be the interesting thing to watch.

Cornerback: Carl Gettis has one spot all but locked down. But on the other side, Castine Bridges is going to have to battle to keep the job he holds headed into spring. Trey Hobson, who redshirted a season ago, could very well push for the job. Kevin Rutland also has all the tools to make some noise and Tremane Vaughns could figure in as well.

Punter: The thing is, we're not sure who the race might involve. Jake Harry has the job headed into spring. Will there be anyone in camp who can push him? It will be one of the major things to watch. The same thing could be said on kickoffs. Jeff Wolfert struggled with distance on his kickoffs a year ago.

Linebacker: The starters appear to be fairly set with Brock Christopher, Sean Weatherspoon and Van Alexander. Luke Lambert will see plenty of time as the fourth backer. But Connell Davis, Steve Redmond and Andrew Gachkar should battle for time as the fifth linebacker. Normally five will play on any given Saturday, so that will be a race to watch.

Wide Receiver: There's a crowd here. Danario Alexander, Jeremy Maclin and Tommy Saunders will start, though Alexander probably will be held out of a lot of spring drills. Jared Perry has the best crack at the top backup job. This will get really interesting in fall camp when a talented crop of freshmen show up, but can a walk-on like Blake May make enough noise in the spring to warrant serious consideration come fall. Can LaRoderick Thomas or Earl Goldsmith make an immediate adjustment and cement a second-string spot going into August? Plenty of questions remain unanswered.

Coming tomorrow: Potential breakout performers

Nobody covers spring football like PowerMizzou.com. We will be at every workout. To get complete coverage 365 days a year, click here to start your free trial today!

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