Former Mizzou lineman Tim Barnes talks NFL training camp

Tim Barnes truly is a Missouri football player. The mid-Missouri
native played for the Tigers and then transitioned to the NFL, where he
landed with the St. Louis Rams. After two years in the league, the
center is now one of many NFL players fighting for a roster spot in
training camp. FOXSportsMidwest.com caught up with Barnes recently to
talk about his outlook on his situation.

How is camp going so far?

“Pretty
good, I think. It’s the second year in the system. Guys are gelling a
lot more. We are working better as a unit. It’s camp. But we are trying
to have as much fun as we can. I think it shows in practice. We’ve been
having a pretty good time out there. Things are looking up, I think.”

What is your goal for this season?

“Scott
[Wells] is ahead of me. He’s a great player. He’s been in the league
for a long time. My goal is to learn as much from him as I can, absorb
and improve this camp. If I’m here this season, show that I’m ready to
take over after he leaves. Or, if something happens. … Pretty much
just solidify myself as a backup.”

Is that a tough spot to be in?

“Obviously,
when Scott came here last year, you know he’s going to be the guy they
want there for a while. I knew that last year. … That’s what this
whole business is about — sticking around. Then, when you get your
chance, take advantage of it and do the best you can. That’s what I’m
trying to do.”

SPEAKING OF CENTER

Mizzou’s current
center, Evan Boehm, will start at that position for the first time this
season. The sophomore previously played left guard. Here’s what Boehm’s
offensive coordinator, Josh Henson, most recently said about the
position, along with Boehm’s transition.

“One of the most
important things is from a communication standpoint,” Henson said. “Just
making sure everybody is on the same page, all the calls are right and
that we are blocking the right people, making the right adjustments.
That center, you know, he ties both sides of the line together. He’s got
the final word, the final say on those things before he lets go of the
ball. I think Evan has taken a real gung-ho attitude to getting the job
done there. I’m looking forward to seeing where he’s at in a couple of
weeks.”

“It’s nice to have some veteran guys around him, guys
like [Justin] Britt and [Mitch] Morse. He will get calls from them. But
at the end of the day, he has to say, ‘This is what we’re doing, and
here we go.'”

Mizzou practices are mostly closed to the media, but Boehm has been spotted practicing additional snaps after most sessions.

C’EST LA VIE

Last
week we spoke to former Tigers forward Laurence Bowers, whose quest to
make the NBA will take him overseas this season. Since then, one of
Bowers’ college teammates has adopted the same plan. While Bowers is set
to play professionally in Israel, former Tigers center Alex Oriakhi
will play for Limoges CSP Elite, a French team. Oriakhi, unlike Bowers,
was drafted. For that reason, the Phoenix Suns will retain his NBA
rights as he develops across the pond.

Why did this happen?

Most
likely because the Suns are stacked at the positions Oriakhi can play.
Orinze Onuaku, Dwayne Collins, Markeiff Morris, Marcine Gortat, Alex Len
and Channing Frye are all on the roster. This limited Oriakhi’s chances
in summer league, and would have sunk him deep on the bench if he
started the year in the NBA. Instead, he gets a chance to play a lot
more. If he impresses, the Suns could bring him back.

TWEET OF THE WEEK

Follow Ben Frederickson on Twitter (@Ben_Fred), or contact him at frederickson.ben@gmail.com.