Senior Bowl Q&A: Rountree impresses in Mobile

Senior Bowl Q&A: Rountree impresses in Mobile

Missouri sent three representatives to the Senior Bowl last week in Mobile, Alabama: running back Larry Rountree III, free safety Joshuah Bledsoe and boundary safety Tyree Gillespie.

Rountree, Bledsoe and Gillespie competed against some of college football’s best talent in what is technically college football’s All-Star Game, but which functions primarily as a showcase for the NFL Draft.

The Maneater did not send a reporter to Mobile for the week of practice or the game, but luckily, our affiliated radio station, KCOU 88.1 FM Columbia, did. We spoke with James Marshall about how the week went for Missouri’s Senior Bowl players.

The Maneater: Overall, how did Missouri’s representatives — Larry Rountree III, Joshuah Bledsoe and Tyree Gillespie, perform in Mobile?

KCOU Sports’ James Marshall: During the game, Rountree had a few snaps, never really got anything going. The offensive line really struggled, so it was hard for him to get anything going. He did show some flashes in the passing game, had a couple nice receptions for I believe 12 and eight-yard gains. Even in practice, he really showed his ability as a pass-catcher, something we haven’t been able to really speed from him, with the presence, obviously of Tyler Badie in the backfield at Missouri. So, it was good for him to show that. For Bledsoe and Gillespie, they really struggled during the week of practice at times, had pretty quiet games though, on Saturday, which was pretty good for them, I’d say. The only recorded stat between the two, I believe, was a Bledsoe tackle. Other than that, they didn’t really see too much time on the field. A couple memorable snaps, so I definitely know they were out there. Didn’t really do too much. But overall, a decent week for Larry Rountree.

TM: You touched on this a bit, but Rountree’s biggest hurdle for draft position is pass-catching ability. How’d he do in that area this week?

JM: They were doing drills in practice this week, and a lot of them, I noticed, were focused around just running simple routes, catching the ball out in the flat, turning upfield. Simple stuff like that. And Rountree obviously showed his versatility there. And then in the game, too, he had a couple of nice receptions. He was able to turn upfield and get some positive yards and first downs.

TM: Bledsoe’s name popped up in a video that depicted him getting blown away by Kadarius Toney, but how’d he perform in one-on-one’s otherwise?

JM: At least for that video, it doesn’t matter, because Kadarius Toney dropped the ball. So that would be a great coverage play. Anyway. No, he did all right. He definitely struggled at times. There were a couple spots where he got beat, but other than that he was all right. The receiving corps as a whole in practice was a lot better than the ones they played in the games. Obviously, notable inactives at the receiver position for the game and on Thursday’s practice did help for both those guys, but they did struggle at times.

TM: Which Missouri player raised their stock the most?

JM: Rountree, easily. Probably the biggest question coming into this week for any of those three was “is Rountree gonna be able to prove himself as a receiving back?” Just because we haven’t seen him do that, really at all. He definitely did that. He had a couple nice pass blocks as well, which definitely helped. Overall, you can’t really look at his stats from the game just because of how much the offensive line struggled. He was never really able to get anything going. He was definitely the best performer for Missouri.

TM: Did any of the three suffer a decrease in draft stock?

JM: No, I don’t think so. I wouldn’t say so. I think from what we’ve seen this season from Gillespie and Bledsoe, it’s pretty consistent with how they both performed. They were both pretty decent. I think Bledsoe is a little better — rather, Bledsoe was the better performer this week. But overall, they had some not-highlights, if you can call it that. But overall, it was pretty consistent with how they’d been this season. Probably late day-three picks.

TM: Most importantly, which helmets did Rountree, Bledsoe and Gillespie wear throughout the week?

JM: All three of them wore different helmets throughout the week. Most notably was Thursday, where Rountree had the white helmet — oh god, you’d have to go back and check my tweet — but I think Gillespie had the yellow helmet and Bledsoe had the black helmet.

TM: All Block M though, right?

JM: Yes. All Block M.

Edited by Kyle Pinnell | kpinnell@themaneater.com

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