Missouri short-handed for start of preseason camp
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) The Missouri Tigers were a bit short-handed for the start of preseason camp Thursday after defensive linemen Walter Brady and Harold Brantley were dismissed from the team.
Brady, a freshman All-America last season, was kicked off for violating undisclosed team policies. He made nine starts last season and tied for the team lead with seven sacks, plus led Southeastern Conference freshmen with 12 1/2 combined sacks and tackles for loss.
Brantley, a senior, was dismissed for failure to live up to academic expectations. He missed all of last season after suffering multiple injuries in an auto accident.
Neither player's name was listed on the team roster heading into the first workout Thursday.
''Everybody in our program, I want to have an opportunity to provide them the chance to be successful,'' Odom said. ''I'm excited about the guys we've got out here today. I wish Harold and Walter nothing but the best. They've done a good job in their time at Missouri and I wish them nothing but the best.''
The defensive line is a team strength, with five others returning with starting experience, including defensive end Charles Harris, who has topped several preseason award watch lists following a breakout sophomore season.
New defensive coordinator DeMontie Cross believes the depth of the defensive line will fill the void of the loss of Brady and Brantley.
''It's hard to replace that kind of talent with one guy, but we've just got to do it by committee,'' Cross said. ''It's just an opportunity for those guys to step into a starting role, and we're going to let them battle it out and see who comes out on top.''
Odom also announced Thursday that offensive lineman Nate Crawford is no longer with the team, citing medical reasons.
''Nate went through a couple of different back procedures...he had made some progress, but to get back and for him, long term, it's best that he's medically retired.''
Crawford, a junior, made eight starts in 2015, making him the most experienced returning lineman.
Offensive coordinator Josh Heupel said the team was preparing for this decision.
''The writing on the wall as the summer came on. It's not something that happened here the first day of training camp. We've counted on that here, and we've got some good young guys in our program that are going to have to develop quickly to give us the depth that you're obviously going to need in this conference.''
Additionally, Odom confirmed that defensive lineman Terry Beckner Jr. is in full pads for practice after a torn ACL and MCL cut his freshman season short. He had 8 1/2 tackles-for-loss, three sacks and a fumble recovery in 10 games.
Contrary to recent years, no team captains were announced the first day.
''We're going to do that a little bit different than maybe has been done here,'' Odom said. ''I want to see how our leadership continues to develop over the next few weeks. I expect a great team full of leaders.''