While the major decision looming for the Missouri Tigers is naming a quarterback, a secondary question also needs to be answered by head coach Gary Pinkel and his staff.
That question is: who will be the playmakers for this year’s Mizzou team? Fortunately for the Tigers, a few players showed flashes in Saturday’s spring game at Memorial Stadium.
Running back Henry Josey, returning after missing last season with a knee injury, looked healthy and had a couple of nice runs in the game. His numbers weren’t great, eight carries for 13 yards and a touchdown, but he looked comfortable and showed no signs of the significant injury that kept him out for the entire 2012 campaign.
Redshirt junior running back Marcus Murphy also looked good in the game. He led all rushers with 28 yards, on seven carries, and scored a touchdown.
Andrew Stevens, a redshirt freshman running back, actually scored the game-winning touchdown with 54 seconds left in the game. If Stevens can contribute this season, it would be a bonus for Mizzou.
When discussing Missouri’s potential playmakers, the name that immediately comes to mind is Dorial Green-Beckham, the nation’s top recruit two years ago. On Saturday, DGB was not targeted often, but he did make three catches for 49 yards, including a nifty 35-yard catch and run.
Senior receiver Marcus Lucas led all receivers with five catches, totaling 33 yards in the game. Lucas could be a weapon for the Tigers this fall, especially since most opponents will give extra attention to Green-Beckham.
Of course, the biggest playmaker for the Tigers this fall could be the quarterback, especially if James Franklin is able to return to the form he showed during his sophomore season. Franklin has not yet been named the starter, although he would appear to be the front-runner at this point.
Any team that wants to compete in the Southeastern Conference must have playmakers, and Missouri showed on Saturday that they should have some players that can fill that role.