Running back Tyler Badie grips the football after catching it

Sophomore running back Tyler Badie grips the football during practice on Monday at Faurot Field in Memorial Stadium.

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Missouri’s second running back, Tyler Badie, spoke with reporters for the first time this fall after Wednesday’s practice, priding his offseason growth both mentally and physically.

The sophomore, currently No. 2 on the depth chart, is listed at 190 pounds on the roster, 15 more than last year. As a 5-foot-9 freshman a year ago, he caught plenty of eyes as a role player behind Larry Rountree III and Damarea Crockett. Badie finished the year with 567 total yards and two touchdowns. Now, he says, with age comes more muscle.

“I’m excited to be able to try to play a little bit bigger,” Badie said, emphasizing that the added weight will make him a more useful blocker out of the backfield.

Badie is still the smaller of Missouri’s two primary tailbacks, and he’s likely to get fewer carries than the junior Rountree. But the pair will still work together to make up the Tigers’ rushing attack. Badie has a nickname for the duo.

“We call each other ‘Thunder and Lightning’ in the running back room,” he said, laughing. “We complement each other really well.”

It’s a little unclear at this point, though, which is which. Assuming the more experienced Rountree starts, as the depth chart currently indicates, he will hit first, like lightning. But Rountree is also more of a power back to Badie’s crafty quickness, the thunder to Badie’s lightning.

Even with the 15 new pounds, Badie said he doesn’t expect anything to change about his lightning-esque running identity. But suddenly being a role model to new freshmen backs such as Anthony Watkins has given him perspective.

“Take things slow; as the game goes on, everything’s going to slow down,” Badie said. “Every day I approach it with the same mindset. My role hasn’t really changed. Obviously, I moved up in the depth chart, but I feel like I play the same.”

Badie also said that he and Rountree are in touch every day with Crockett, who is trying to make it in the NFL after leaving MU a year early. Crockett scored a touchdown in the Houston Texans’ first preseason game last week, and he even had some advice for the college rushers.

“He said be ready,” Badie said, “because that playbook’s real deep.”

Supervising editor is Michael Knisley.

This article originally ran on columbiamissourian.com.

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