Saturday presents a big opportunity for Ish Witter

Ish Witter has some big shoes to fill on Saturday.

With running back Russell Hansbrough out for the UCONN game, Witter will get the majority of the carries as the starter.

There's surely pressure on the Tampa native to perform well. Hansbrough is by all accounts the best player within Missouri's offense, and is one of the most-talented players on the entire roster. The Tigers rely heavily upon Hansbrough to ignite the offense via his effectiveness as a runner.

Witter has accrued 77 yards on 24 carries through two games. He was nicked up a bit last week versus Arkansas State, and was thrown into the fire unexpectedly in the opener. While Witter has only a 3.2 yards-per-carry average, he's still talented enough to provide Missouri with a stabilizing force in the backfield (at least until Hansbrough returns from a balky ankle).

The shuffling up front on the offensive line hasn't helped matters much. Alec Abeln had been the starter at left guard, but has since given way for senior Taylor Chappell. Leader Evan Boehm has also been battling an ankle injury. The All-American candidate is one of the best centers in the entire country.

Head coach Gary Pinkel can only hope Witter will have a solid showing against Connecticut. Not only will it give the sophomore some confidence, but it'll also assuage any concerns over depth behind Hansbrough.