Temple's injury sparks competition for backup running back

Friday, August 10, 2007

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Tony Temple's knee injury proved to be minor, but his missed practice time is giving Missouri's other running backs a chance to showcase themselves in the hunt for playing time.

Temple, who is the Big 12's leading returning rusher with 1,063 yards last season, at first appeared to be seriously hurt after colliding with another player Tuesday. An MRI showed only a bruise. Still, Temple has remained on the sidelines as a precaution.

Coach Gary Pinkel wasn't sure when Temple would return to practice but said he expects him to be ready for the season-opener Sept. 1 against Illinois at St. Louis.

Temple's absence means more repetitions for Marcus Woods, Jimmy Jackson and Earl Goldsmith in what Pinkel calls a competition for playing time.

"They're all competing and working hard," Pinkel said. "But bottom line is we're going to play the best guys and the guys that are protecting the football and making plays."

"Of course I see it as an opportunity," Jackson said. "We've got a lot of talent back there. It's a lot of competition and we're making each other better."

-- The Associated Press

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