Burning Questions for the Missouri Spring Game
But after losing key components of last year's team, can the Tigers do it again?
We'll learn a little bit more about Missouri's chances to do just that on Saturday, as the team will hold its annual Black and Gold spring game in Columbia.
There's plenty of unknowns heading into Saturday's scrimmage, with Gary Pinkel his staff knowing that there's a lot of production to replace in important positions on this roster.
Let's take a look at three of the biggest questions that need to be answered this weekend:
1. How Far Has Maty Mauk Progressed?
James Franklin was the perfect quarterback in Missouri's system, and it's going to be extremely difficult to replace him. But, after Franklin's injury against Georgia midway through the season, Mauk stepped in and really didn't miss a beat. His numbers were quite impressive for a freshman, and that experience will undoubtedly help him in 2014.
Normally, replacing a quarterback of Franklin's caliber would be a daunting task. Mauk's already been faced with that challenge though, so he knows what to expect. That should give Pinkel and his staff a lot less concerns this season.
2. Who Will Step into the No. 1 Wide Receiver Role?
Dorial Green-Beckham could have made Mauk's job a whole lot easier. Unfortunately, the stud wide receiver is no longer on the team after being dismissed due to his run-ins with the law. This was a guy that was expected to be one of the top wide receivers in the league, maybe even the country.
So, where do the Tigers go from here? Keep in mind that not only has Missouri lost Green-Beckham from a year ago, but they also lost L'Damian Washington and Marcus Lucas. That now means that no returner recorded more than one touchdown all last season. Mauk won't like that statistic, and he desperately needs someone to step up and become the go-to-guy on this team.
3. Is the Defense Where it Needs to Be?
If the Tigers are going to return to SEC prominence, the defense will obviously need to be rather good. But just like on offense, players will need to step up in key positions to in order to match or exceed the production from a year ago.
The defensive line seems to be in pretty good shape despite losing Michael Sam and Kony Ealy. Someone will have to replace Andrew Wilson at linebacker, which won't be easy considering that he was one of the top tacklers in the program's history. However, the biggest concern might be at secondary since the Tigers have to find a way to replace the talented E.J. Gaines. Needless to say, there's a ton of intrigue surrounding the defense this spring.
What are you most looking forward to in Missouri's spring game on Saturday? Let us know by commenting below! For more college football talk, follow FanIQ College Football or myself on Twitter!