COLUMBIA — Ask anyone on the team and they will tell you that Spieker, a four-year starter at center, is not one to spout off at the mouth or even be overly conversational.
“I’ve know him for five years, and he probably hasn’t said a page worth of words in that entire time,” offensive coordinator Dave Christensen said.
When talking to Spieker, it’s like pulling teeth. The native of Webb City, which is 266 miles southwest of Columbia, doesn’t say much, preferring to keep to himself. When asked about his place on the offensive line as a unit, his response would not be mistaken with great works of spoken word: just simple and to the point.
“We create time and space,” Spieker said. “Time to throw for the quarterbacks and time to run for the running backs.”
His quarterback, Chase Daniel, sees it a little differently. For Spieker, someone who touches the ball as often as Daniel does, is as integral a part of the offensive line as it gets.
He is the heart.
“He makes the checks, makes sure people know where they are,” Daniel said. “The offense wouldn’t go without him.”
As quiet as the redshirt senior is, what he does on the field speaks louder than anything he could say. Spieker has not missed a start since the 2004 season and is on his way to breaking the school record for the most career starts. His durability has only been matched by his consistent play over the years, says Christensen.
The offense’s commitment to the shotgun offense has required Spieker to be accurate with every snap and read he has made since the offense was installed three years ago. And he has been as steady as necessary in Christensen’s eyes.
“If you take into account the fact that we do about 1,000 shotgun snaps a year and you multiply that by three years of starting, he has probably had three bad snaps,” Christensen said. “That’s a huge responsibility for him but he has done everything we have asked him to do.”
Without much fanfare, Spieker has served as the unofficial quarterback of the offensive line — a reference to his knowledge of the offense. His development in the offense since his arrival at Missouri is something that he is deferring to others and not himself. That’s no big surprise.
“I’ve gotten better with my game week knowledge and preparation,” Spieker said. “I’ve just had good people around me that have really helped me develop.”
His development earned him honorable mention All-Big 12 honors in 2006 and put him on the pre-season list for the Rimington Award, given to the nation’s best center, the last two seasons.
It is no shock to his defensive counterparts.
“He might be the best center I have ever faced,” defensive tackle Lorenzo Williams said.
But the accolades from coaches and teammates won’t make Spieker more vocal anytime soon. Though he has lightened up over the years, don’t hold your breath waiting for him to change his ways anytime soon.
He won’t budge.
“You can’t bait him in or anything because he won’t really say anything,” Williams said. “He just prefers to let his play on the field do the talking.”