On Tuesday morning, the Missouri Tigers held their final practice in Columbia, before heading to Tempe (AZ), at midday on Wednesday. Tuesday's practice was conducted indoors, in shorts, helmets, and shoulder pads; "NFL Day", in which players wore each others jerseys, and other expressive apparel. Matt Hoch wore older brother, Dan's number 77, and Jeff Gettys came out on his crutches, wearing slacks, a black Missouri sweater-vest, and a visor, in a pretty good imitation of Coach Pinkel. Coach bought in, allowing Gettys to momentarily assume the head coach's role, in signaling the beginning of a practice period.
After practice, Coach Pinkel talked about practice, and preparation for the Insight Bowl.
"We call this NFL Day," began Coach Pinkel. "We do it in spring football once, and we also do it for one of our bowl practices................... Just a little levity out there. And, that's good. We had a good practice overall. Now, we'll go down (to Phoenix) tomorrow, and we'll have game week when we get down there. Basically, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday practices."
Coach Pinkel indicated that the Tigers' usual Tuesday practice would be conducted on Friday, and so on, with "lock down" beginning on Sunday evening.
"When you get 48 hours before (the game)," Coach Pinkel continued. "It's a little bit different. We call it distraction control. It's a little bit different, because usually around 48 hours before a game, you usually don't have people running all over the hotel. That's something we have to do a good job, and the leadership of our team has to do a good job of making sure that we can use the distraction control techniques that we have, so that we can focus and play our best. If you don't focus well, you can't play your best game. It just doesn't happen. That's the challenge."
Brad Madison sat out practice in street clothes, with his hand in a cast. And, Anthony Gatti sat out, as well. He wore a knee immobilizer on his leg, but limped around. He said that his knee has been bothering him, but that he's unaware of a specific recent injury. He's had an MRI, and is awaiting completion of a medical evaluation. Donovan Bonner continues to practice while wearing a red pull-over. No other new injuries to report.
The defensive linemen did a lot of sled work on Tuesday. One thing I noticed during the sled work, that I've also seen during the 1-on-1 pass rush drills, is that Lucas Vincent does a good job of getting under, with a low center of gravity.
During 7-on7s, Blaine Gabbert hit T.J. Moe on a slant for a first down. Then, Blaine Gabbert hit Michael Egnew on a deep post, for a TD. Blaine quickly hit Egnew, on a bubble screen, out along the left side. Egnew followed Wes Kemp's block, and took it up field for about five yards.
Franklin hit Andrew Jones on a drag route for modest yardage.
Ashton Glaser found McGaffie on a deep post for a TD.
During the 1-on-1 pass rush drills, Jacquies Smith ripped his way past Dan Hoch. Austin Wuebbels stayed with Marvin Foster, for the win. Brendan Donaldson beat Tim Barnes, with a powerful maneuver. Jayson Palmgren stopped Jimmy Burge. Aldon Smith pushed Elvis Fisher all of the way across the pocket. Fisher stayed in front of Aldon, but still gave up the sack. Jacquies picked up another win against Hoch. Foster evened the score, with a win over Wuebbels. Barnes evened the score, by stone walling Donaldson. Burge put a nice spin move on Palmgren, but Jayson re-gripped, and stayed with him. Fisher stayed in front of Aldon Smith, and picked up the win. Justin Britt stone walled George White. Lucas Vincent stayed low, and got a good push, and pushed Travis Ruth back into the QB. Marcus Malbrough ran right over Mark Hill.
During the 11-on-11 period, Marcus Murphy took an inside hand-off from Blaine Gabbert in the red zone, and cut it up inside, to get down inside the 10-yard line.
Coming out from his own end, Franklin found Marcus Lucas on a post route for a big gain. Franklin dropped one in to Gahn McGaffie deep down the right sideline for about a 35-yard pass completion. Franklin hit Marcus Murphy on a quick out along the left sideline. Murphy tight-roped the sideline to make a nice reception of a well-thrown pass. Franklin found Washington again, this time on a cross, for another big gain. Franklin hit McGaffie on a slant for a first down completion. Franklin hit De'Vion Moore right in stride out along the right sideline. Moore quickly turned it up for a big gain.
After practice, the DBs and receivers played an abbreviated game of 7-on-7.
"We call that Switch 7-on-7," Coach Pinkel explained. "Where the DBs play receiver, and the receivers play in the secondary. It's kind of fun for them."
Kevin Rutland, a former high school QB, found Carl Gettis dragging across the middle for a completion. Jarrell Harrison ran underneath Gettis, in the opposite direction, and took a lateral from Gettis for a first down on some nifty misdirection. A few plays later, the contest ended, when Wes Kemp picked off a Rutland pass near the goal line, and returned it the distance.
For the second straight day, I paid particular attention to the Missouri offense, as it went up against the Iowa defense, played by the scout team. On offense, Iowa almost always has a TE with his hand on the ground, and often uses two TEs. They take snaps mostly from under center, with one or two backs. Even when they go three WRs, and the QB is in the shotgun, they still keep a back in the backfield. It looks like they run a lot of power-I, and other power sets, and like to throw off of play action. Iowa's offense has the look of a pro offense, similar to the Steelers, Ravens, or some other power running team.
Iowa usually has a fullback in the formation, although not always. It looks like Will Ebner will have a busy day against the Hawkeyes.