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. FOXSportsKansasCity.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.”
Article continues below ...
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.