A well-built offensive line is the key to any team’s success on offense. For Missouri, the offensive line played a major role in the Tigers’ success.
While Missouri finished the season with only four wins, the offensive line did its job protecting quarterback Drew Lock, and opened lanes for running backs Damarea Crockett and Ish Witter.
The offensive line contributed to Lock’s success in passing for 3,399 yards and 23 touchdowns. Lock was sacked a league low 13 times in 2016, which was down from 25 in 2015.
Last year, the offensive line also allowed running back Damarea Crockett to gain 1,062 yards and 10 touchdowns as a freshman, while Ish Witter played a complementary role and contributed 750 yards and 6 touchdowns.
Missouri Tigers Football
One more stat, and I’ll leave it alone until our receivers and tight ends preview: Wide receiver J’Mon Moore, despite his small misfortune of dropped passes, still achieved 1,012 yards receiving and 8 touchdowns – no small feat.
We can all agree that the offensive line is probably one of the most thankless jobs on the team. We recognize its importance, but once the quarterback hits his receiver or the running back breaks beyond the line of scrimmage, it’s all about the skill player’s big play.
This year, the Tigers are fortunate to have the bulk of last year’s linemen returning, in addition to some new pieces added over the last few months.
Earlier today, Missouri issued its projected depth chart. Whether that remains fluid for the time being or is set, remains to be seen.
At least for this week’s tilt against Missouri State, the Tigers will have redshirt freshman Trystan Castillo at center. Last year, Castillo took the redshirt, but won the job during fall camp this year.
Senior Tyler Howell will start at left tackle for Mizzou. Last year, Howell started in all 12 games for the Tigers’ offensive line, which finished the season at 16th nationally (best in SEC) for sacks allowed, and first nationally in tackles for loss allowed.
One of the nation’s best pass protectors last year, Paul Adams will hold down the right tackle position for the Tigers. He also started all 12 games for Missouri in 2016, where the offensive line only had a combined three starts at the onset of the season.
Junior Kevin Pendleton has the left guard position locked down after starting all 12 games for the Tigers in 2016. Pendleton came a long way since playing in his first season for the Tigers in 2015, a year in which he only appeared in three games. Last year, he won the starting job and looks to keep it this year, as well.
Sophomore Tre’Vour Simms also got the nod to start at right guard, after spending last season on special teams on field goal protection. Simms is lauded by Mizzou coaches “as as a beast who brings a tough, physical approach to the game .”