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Missouri football opens fall camp with 4 new captains

Monday, August 4, 2014 | 11:05 p.m. CDT; updated 11:45 p.m. CDT, Monday, August 4, 2014
Monday marked the first day of fall practice for the Tigers. Outside of drilling on the field, Missouri also named four new team captains - Markus Golden, Bud Sasser, Mitch Morse, and Braylon Webb.

COLUMBIA — From a junior college transfer to a player with the most starts on the roster. From a wide receiver with the highest quarterback rating on last year's team to a lineman who preaches to "embrace 'the suck.'"

The four new Missouri football captains have plenty of interesting experiences from which to draw.

Injuries, ineligibilities

Tigers injuries

Safety Braylon Webb, a team captain, was not practicing because of a shoulder injury. 

Offensive lineman Connor McGovern has been limited with a pectoral strain. Pinkel said he expects him to practice soon. 

Running back Russell Hansbrough, who had surgery during the offseason, is 100 percent, coach Gary Pinkel said. 

Ineligibilities 

Pinkel confirmed receiver Levi Copelin can practice during his yearlong suspension. Copelin was suspended by the NCAA for taking a banned over-the-counter supplement and cannot travel with the team or play in games. 

Safety Tavon Ross was not listed on the team's roster. Pinkel said he is trying to fulfill academic responsibilities but thinks he will eventually play. "We feel good he'll be back," Pinkel said.  

Walter Brady, a defensive lineman, is also ineligible because of academics, Pinkel said. 



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Defensive end Markus Golden, who came from Hutchinson Community College; wideout Bud Sasser, who completed his lone pass for a touchdown on a trick play against Georgia; offensive lineman Mitch Morse; and safety Braylon Webb were voted by their teammates as captains Monday before practice, the first of the fall season.

The four seniors have different leadership styles, but Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said he believes they were the right ones to lead the program. 

"I always tell our players ... to ask themselves, 'Who do you think can lead when things get tough?' Pinkel said.

Sasser started nine games for the Tigers last season, catching 26 passes for 361 yards. Although he was behind departed receivers Marcus Lucas, L'Damian Washington and Dorial Green-Beckham, who has since signed a financial aid agreement with the University of Oklahoma, Sasser had one of the more memorable plays for Missouri last season when he threw a touchdown to Washington off a double pass from quarterback Maty Mauk in a 41-26 upset at Georgia. 

Morse, an offensive lineman who played every game at right tackle last season, is one of the more experienced players for Missouri. He looks to take over at left tackle for Justin Britt, who was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in the second round of this year's NFL draft. 

"I wasn't trying to lead during the summer in the hope of being a captain," Morse said. "If they pick me, that's fine. If they didn't, I knew my role on the team and my role with the offensive line. The whole senior class was such a great class, and they could've picked any senior to be captain. It's just a privilege to be picked."

Webb, a redshirt senior who was chosen as the team's freshman of the year in 2011, has started more games than any other player on Missouri's roster. Webb described himself as the "quiet guy" of the four captains, although he knows there will be times when his teammates hang on his every word.

Golden, meanwhile, is quite vocal.

Last year, he played behind NFL draft picks Kony Ealy and Michael Sam, and had 13 tackles for loss and 6 1/2 sacks. Growing up, he followed the leadership of his older brothers, one of whom, Sherman Golden, committed to play at Missouri but didn't qualify academically.

Now, Golden and the other Missouri captains are the older brothers of sorts. They lead a team without a ton of experience.

Only eight starters return for the Tigers — four on offense and four on defense. That ranks the team last in the Southeastern Conference in returning starters. Although he said he is expecting a successful season, Morse will try to ready the new starters for the rough times that might come. 

"Embrace 'the suck,' because when stuff gets sucky, that's when you get better," Morse said. 

Morse said he was inspired by the way quirky guard Max Copeland led the offensive line last year. He said he looks to take what he learned from the quotable Copeland, but also be himself. 

"We've got some pretty good vocal leaders in Bud and Markus," Morse said. "Braylon and I, we're not saying we're complete mutes, but these guys know what needs to be said, and if we need to step in, we'll step in."

Sasser said the distinct personalities of the captains will pay dividends for Missouri.

"With the captains this year, they all kind of bring something different to the table," Sasser said. 

Supervising editor is Mark Selig.


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