Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

MU Notebook: Injuries Test Depth at Tight End

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

MU Notebook: Injuries Test Depth at Tight End

Article excerpt

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- There's no cause for alarm -- yet -- but Missouri sure is testing its depth at tight end, a position of strength when preseason camp began two weeks ago.

Albert Okwuegbunam, a preseason All-Southeastern Conference choice and All-American candidate, sat out all of Monday's practice, the Tigers' first on-field drills since Saturday's scrimmage. He didn't scrimmage Saturday and hasn't been on the field for many 11-on-11 drills since he left last Monday's practice because of a sprained right knee. After Monday's practice, Missouri coach Barry Odom declined to say what specific injury Okwuegbunam was nursing, though his left hamstring was wrapped Monday.

"He's got a number of things but not anything real serious. So maybe (we'll) get him back out here a little bit (Tuesday), I hope," Odom said.

The Tigers are blessed with an experienced and talented backup, but he, too, sat out Monday's practice. Daniel Parker Jr. rode the exercise bike and did other conditioning drills alongside Okwuegbunam throughout Monday's two-hour practice. Odom did not disclose Parker's injury. If this was a game week, Odom said, and the Tigers played Saturday he's optimistic both would be available.

"So I think we'll be OK," he said.

SCALES IN THE MIX

The injuries gave fourth-year junior Brendan Scales a rare chance to work with the starting unit. Once near the bottom of the depth chart, Scales is putting himself in position for his first taste of significant game action.

The last few years haven't been easy for Scales, who initially committed to Alabama out of Lafayette High then picked Missouri shortly before signing day in 2016.

"It's patience, frustration, all of that," he said. "Because, you know, most freshmen come in thinking they're going to play right away. So did I. But it's just patience. I wanted to be here and I love the school. …

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