Missouri’s patchwork offensive line ready to forge ahead

COLUMBIA — For the second straight year, the Missouri offensive line has had to deal with a rash of injuries prior to the start of the season.

For the second straight year, it appears ready for the challenge ahead.

The Tigers enter Saturday’s season opener against Southeastern Louisiana short what Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said would be “four of the team’s top 10 offensive linemen.” You won’t hear anyone from Missouri making excuses.

“Those things happen,” Pinkel said. “I don’t know what to tell you. ... It’s a cry for backup players to get ready to play.”

Three-year starter Elvis Fisher missed last season after tearing his ACL during preseason camp. Starting center Travis Ruth missed the first two games last season with an Achilles’ injury.

This year’s missing cast includes Ruth, who was originally thought to be lost for the season with a triceps injury, but Pinkel did not completely rule out a return in November. Right tackle Taylor Chappell will miss the season with a torn ACL. Starting right guard Jack Meiners is out for at least the first game with a knee strain.

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