As the wind howled, and the temperature outside dropped into the teens, on Sunday afternoon, the Missouri Tigers took to the practice field inside the Devine Pavilion for their second full pads workout of the bowl season.
The tone of Sunday's practice was more serious, as the veterans got in a little bit of work, and continued to help to coach the younger players. The younger guys, those who have been on the scout team, and are getting to work on the Missouri side of the line of scrimmage for the first time in months, appear to be settling in, and are laying the ground work for the competition that will heat up even more in the spring.
Sunday's injury report included Kevin Rutland and Terrell Resonno, both of whom will be back at it soon. Rutland indicated that he expects to be back in action on Friday, when practice resumes, after finals. Eric Waters (concussion) wore the red jersey today, and Marcus Malbrough wore a red pull-over, as did Donovan Bonner, and Kerwin Stricker. Ashton Glaser injured his hamstring towards the end of practice. Coach Pinkel talked about the day's work.
"It was a real good practice today," said Coach Pinkel. "Good work today. Next Friday, we'll have another practice like this, and then on Saturday, we'll crank it up, like a bye-week Saturday."
During 7-on-7s, Blaine Gabbert hit Kendial Lawrence on a quick out in the right flat for a short gain. Later, Blaine found Jerrell Jackson deep down the right sideline. Kip Edwards was in position, but Blaine put the ball on Jackson's back shoulder. Blaine completed the same route to Brandon Gerau, who had separated from Edwards, and came back inside for the ball. Blaine found Wes Kemp on a quick slant.
James Franklin hit Rolandis Woodland on a short crossing route for about 5 yards. Later, Franklin found Gerau out along the left sideline for about 15 yards. Franklin hooked up with Rolandis Woodland on a deep throw down the right sideline. Woodland made a diving catch near the goal line. Franklin hit Marcus Lucas right in stride, on a crossing route, and Lucas turned it up for a nice gain.
Ashton Glaser stuck one in, over the middle, to Jimmie Hunt. That was a nice catch in traffic. Glaser came back to Hunt, this time on an out route. The ball appeared to be thrown too far out in front, but Hunt adjusted, and ran the ball down, to make a fingertip grab. Jaleel Clark took a quick slant from Glaser for a short gain.
During 1-on-1 pass rush drills, Elvis Fisher picked up a win over Jacquies Smith, taking Smith past the QB. Marvin Foster mounted a serious challenge for Tim Barnes, with a powerful maneuver, but the All-Conference center prevailed. Jayson Palmgren maintained solid hand placement, and picked up a win over Jimmy Burge. Jack Meiners picked up a win over Kony Ealy. Marvin Foster bulled his way past Travis Ruth. Mark Hill took Michael Sam deep past the QB, for the win. Brayden Burnett used an outside rush to pick up a win over Anthony Gatti. Meiners picked up a win over Brayden Burnett.
Burnett's a real high motor guy, and Big Jack has been doing a really good job. Lucas Vincent put a spin move on Travis Ruth, for a win. Ben Eskelson put a double move on Chris Freeman, but Freeman extended his long arms, and pushed Eskelson to the ground. Eskelson, who has quite a motor, attempted to scramble to his feet, but Freeman kept pushing him back down.
If Freeman gets his hands on a defender, he can really make it difficult for them to get around him. Later, during 11-on-11s, Freeman gave up a sack to the inside, and he heard about it from Josh Henson first, and then from Bruce Walker.
In the Tiger Drill, Bud Sasser ran through a Daniel Easterly tackle. Marcus Lucas overpowered Trey Hobson. That's quite a physical mismatch. Jimmie Hunt ran over and around Randy Ponder to score a hard-fought victory.
During 11-on-11 action, Ashton Glaser found Rolandis Woodland hooking up along the left hash mark, for a first down. Glaser was sacked by Marvin Foster, Kony Ealy, and others.
Tyler Gabbert stuck one into a small window for a completion, on a deep crossing route, to Jaleel Clark. Nice catch in traffic! Tyler hit Rolandis Woodland on a quick out along the left sideline, in front of E.J. Gaines. Tyler hooked up with Matt Hoch down the left sideline for about 25 yards.
Henry Josey took an inside hand-off from James Franklin, and picked his way up inside for a nice gain. Franklin found Gahn McGaffie out along the numbers on the right side. McGaffie put his hand on the ground, and eluded the first man, then sped up field for a big gain.
Blaine Gabbert hit T.J. Moe on a crossing route, for about 20 yards. Then Blaine found the All-American, Michael Egnew, deep down the left sideline. Egnew had gotten separation from a couple of defenders.
This year's early bowl practices have been more intense than last year's, and players appear to be more focused on football, and attentive to details, and improvement. After practice today, the Tigers ran some conditioning sprints, then almost everyone stayed after, and worked on individual position drills. Coach Ford was out there with Brayon Webb and Daniel Easterly well after almost everyone else was gone. He was working with the two young safeties on their footwork and technique relating to man-to-man coverage. Basically, that was a series of drills, and teaching points, he goes through with the corners, to build solid technique from the ground up.