COLUMBIA — Tyler Howell is a big guy, even by offensive linemen standards.
Missouri’s starting left tackle is the tallest member of the Tigers offensive line, standing at 6-foot-8, while weighing in at 330 pounds, second-most among starters behind Kevin Pendleton.
Howell’s large frame must be fueled by something to keep it upright and functional through fall camp. But the lineman doesn’t load up on carbs or snack on steaks. Instead, he sticks to carrots.
“It definitely gives me more energy to keep playing at a high level all throughout practice,” Howell said, “not like crashing or starting off high and crashing at the end, but getting you all the way through the hump of practice.”
Besides carrots, Howell fills his stomach with “lots of green stuff” and makes sure to clear it all off his plate before he leaves the cafeteria. The diet has allowed Howell to focus on his game for longer periods at practice instead of wondering when the next break will come around.
“Trying to (home) in on all the little details that I didn’t get a hold on last year,” Howell said, “really just taking advantage of every opportunity to make my game better.”
This comes after a season in which Howell feels he “played like trash.” His recommitment to his craft has caught the eyes of his coaches, who feel he will be a massively improved player when Missouri’s first game kicks off.
“He’s really focused on his body and just getting stronger, being able to bend,” offensive line coach Glen Elarbee said on Aug. 3. “I think he’s gotten a lot better with his hands and just general knowledge of the game. Out there, there were a lot of times where he just knew what Tyler did, and now he knows what everybody does.”
The majority of Missouri’s tight ends were in no-contact jerseys on Friday, as Albert Okwuegbunam nursed a sore hamstring and Logan Christopherson was limited with a sprained ankle. Jason Reese was held out of practice entirely with back spasms.
Defensive lineman A.J. Logan remained sidelined because of concussion protocol, while wide receiver Justin Smith is still being held out because of a swollen knee, which was drained on Thursday. Both, along with defensive lineman Markell Utsey, will be held out of Saturday’s scrimmage.
Lock becoming more vocal with experience
During his first two seasons, Drew Lock wasn’t always sure where his receivers were going.
While he knew which route each would run, each took a different variation on how far to go and when to break. Heading into his third season, Lock is becoming more vocal with his receivers on what he wants each route to look like for all of them.
“This summer is when I started really getting vocal with how I want routes run,” Lock said. “Knowing our offense well enough to know where they should break, how many big steps, small steps they take on a route.”
Lock is now in his second year with offensive coordinator Josh Heupel’s offense and believes he knows the offense well enough to know when he makes a mistake versus when a receiver doesn’t end up where he should be.
“I can’t go out there and be 50-50 on if I’m right,” Lock said. “I’ll say something, or I might not be right, so I’ll back off and not say anything. I pretty much got to the point where I knew this job in and out and I could go out there and be vocal.”
Supervising editors are Pete Bland and Brooks Holton.