An early look at Mis­souri foot­ball’s 2019 of­fense with Kelly Bryant un­der cen­ter

The Kansas City Star - - Sports - BY ALEX SCHIF­FER as­chif­[email protected]­star.com

Mis­souri still has one more foot­ball game to play this sea­son, a New Year’s Eve mati­nee against Ok­la­homa State in the Lib­erty Bowl, but Kelly Bryant’s com­mit­ment to the Tigers on Tues­day has talk about the 2019 sea­son buzzing.

The pro­gram will open its new south end­zone com­plex at Me­mo­rial Sta­dium and will re­turn a strong se­nior core led by line­backer Cale Gar­rett and tail­back Da­marea Crock­ett. While Mis­souri will lose the likes of Drew Lock and Emanuel Hall on of­fense, here’s an early look at the Tigers’ of­fense for next sea­son:

QUAR­TER­BACK

Starter: Kelly Bryant

Likely backup: Con­nor Baze­lak Anal­y­sis: Bryant is the pro­gram’s first true dual-threat quar­ter­back since Brad Smith in 2005 and brings a ton of ex­peri-

spoke with re­porters be­fore Wed­nes­day’s prac­tice.

“We will just take it from there. It is not nec­es­sar­ily lim­ited. They are go­ing to be out there do­ing what they do, and we will just see. See how it goes. Both of those are day to day. They are kind of right on that edge where they just have to go out and prac­tice and see what hap­pens.”

Tight end Demetrius Har­ris did not par­tic­i­pate in Thurs­day’s prac­tice. The Chiefs said he missed the work­outs due to ill­ness, but he was also listed on the in­jury re­port as hav­ing a knee ail­ment.

A 6-foot-5, 245-pound former Flor­ida State stand­out, Ben­jamin en­tered the NFL as the 28th over­all pick of the Carolina Pan­thers in 2014. He started 15 games and reg­is­tered 73 catches for 1,008 yards and nine touch­downs as a rookie. He spent the 2015 sea­son on in­jured re­serve with a torn left ACL, then posted 63 catches and 941 re­ceiv­ing yards in 2016.

The Pan­thers traded him to the Bills in Oc­to­ber 2017 in ex­change for a pair of 2018 draft picks.

This sea­son, Ben­jamin caught just 23 passes while be­ing tar­geted 62 times. He logged 354 re­ceiv­ing yards in 12 games. The Bills re­leased him on Tues­day, and he cleared waivers.

Ben­jamin, who’d faced crit­i­cism from fans over the years for putting on weight, made head­lines ear­lier this sea­son after telling The Ath­letic in an in­ter­view that he would have had more suc­cess if he’d played with a more ac­cu­rate quar­ter­back than Cam New­ton to start his ca­reer. New­ton then con­fronted him dur­ing pregame warmups be­fore the Bills-Pan­thers pre­sea­son game.

GER­ALD HER­BERT AP

Former Clem­son quar­ter­back Kelly Bryant, the likely suc­ces­sor to Drew Lock, will be Mis­souri’s first true dual-threat quar­ter­back since Brad Smith in 2005.

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