A glimpse into Beau Viehmann’s future: In the morning, he will tell kids to lie down and take it easy. In the afternoon, he will tell them to stop being lazy and to run more quickly.
Viehmann, a walk-on tailback for the Missouri football team, is enrolled in MU’s Sinclair School of Nursing. His mom, Kathy, and sister, Claire, want him to be a school nurse. That way, he can coach, like his father, Les Viehmann, a defensive coach at Hermann High.
Viehmann became interested in nursing three years ago when his father was hospitalized for two weeks after a brown recluse spider bit him.
If coaching doesn’t interfere with his intended profession, though, Viehmann will consider it.
“It’s a possibility,” Viehmann said. “I’d love to have a chance to be able to coach and work with some younger athletes.”
Viehmann is one of the few walk-ons to play for the Tigers this year, appearing in the backfield and on special teams.
If it weren’t for medicine, Viehmann would be job-shadowing coach Gary Pinkel from the stands instead of on the field.
From Owensville, Mo., Viehmann came to MU in 1999 and walked on in the spring of 2000. No schools seriously recruited him.
“Originally, I walked on because I wanted to be part of a really big program and just have that experience,” Viehmann said.
Viehmann, 22, waited a semester to join the team because he had surgery on a cracked vertebra in his back in the spring of his senior year of high school. During that surgery, doctors put pins in his back, but the vertebra continued to separate.
In summer 2000, Viehmann had another surgery. This time doctors fused the vertabra together with bone grafts.
After his second surgery, Viehmann thought he was finished with MU football.
He worked at the Student Recreation Center and was captain of an intramural 4-on-4 flag football team, The Fearless Matadors.
Occasionally, though, Vieh-mann visited Rex Sharp, MU’s director of sports medicine, to talk about playing again. They decided Viehmann was healthy enough, so in the spring of 2002, Viehmann walked on again.
Viehmann played outside safety his first time out, but when he rejoined the team, coaches asked him to switch to tailback. Viehmann (5 feet 7, 197 pounds) was a two-time All-State linebacker in high school, but he was also an All-Conference running back.
“(At tailback) there was a better chance for me to contribute and possibly see backup time,” Viehmann said.
Viehmann’s goal was to play on special teams, but MU’s tailbacks situation in the spring was dreary. Damien Nash had just arrived in Columbia and was recovering from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, and Tyrone Roberson had quit to concentrate on baseball.
Surprising himself, Vieh-mann entered the 2003 spring practices at second on the depth chart behind senior Zack Abron.
The absence of others allowed Viehmann to shine. In the Black and Gold spring game, Viehmann rushed 17 times for 41 yards, caught three passes for 23 yards and had a 4-yard touchdown run.
He was one of the Tigers’ only bright spots in their first preseason scrimmage with a 51-yard run and a 12-yard run.
Viehmann stayed on the second team through preseason practices, but Nash got healthy and Roberson rejoined the squad. Viehmann has played in the backfield in every game this fall, though.
On short-yardage situations, he plays fullback with Abron at tailback.
Viehmann’s teammates don’t look at him as a walk-on.
“I know he’s going to get the job done,” Abron said. “He’s always hitting.”
Viehmann had one carry for 1 yard in the Tigers’ 35-7 win at Ball State on Sept. 6.
“My hope was really to walk on and get on to special teams and try to contribute that way,” Viehmann said.
“And I’ve just been blessed with a better opportunity to be in the game.”