On Tuesday afternoon, the Missouri Tigers opened spring football practice 2011, by taking to the field in helmets and shorts, for more than two hours, inside the Devine Pavilion. Afterwards, Coach Pinkel talked about getting started.
"Overall, it was a good practice," said Coach Pinkel. "There was a lot of enthusiasm........................ Overall, I thought it was a very good effort by our football team. Hopefully, we can come out Thursday, and hopefully improve."
There are a number of players who are not participating due to injury. On offense, Elvis Fisher and Beau Brinkley sat out all drills. Freshman OL Michael Boddie wore a red-pull-over, and went through some drills. On defense, Dominique Hamilton, Will Ebner, Luke Lambert, Marcus Malbrough, and Corey Sudhoff all wore the red jersey of the non-participant. Derrion Thomas was present, in street clothes, and on crutches. Coach Pinkel said that just about everyone, except Fisher, has a chance of getting back before spring ball is over. I don't think he meant to include Thomas.
There was considerable emphasis on individual drills, accompanied by individual instruction.
"You're limited without pads," said Coach Pinkel. "You just have a lot of individual periods, to work on fundamentals........................... It's still fundamentals. It's getting back to the basics."
During some 1-on-1 pass receiving drills, Gahn McGaffie turned Daniel Easterly around, then ran under a nice toss from Ashton Glaser. Marcus Lucas made a nice grab, in front of Randy Ponder, of a Ryan Howerton pass, on a shallow crossing pattern. James Franklin hit Eric Waters on a crossing route for a TD. Nice throw and catch! De'Vion Moore reached back to take in a pass from Glaser. Jimmie Hunt made a nice reception of a Tyler Gabbert pass, on a shallow cross.
During the 1-on-1 pass rush drills, Nick Demien picked up a win over Lucas Vincent. Matt Hoch got inside of Chris Freeman's long arms, and forced his way inside for a sack. Hoch appears to be a very physical athlete. Brendan Donaldson bull-rushed his way past Mitch Morse. Michael Sam maneuvered his way past Anthony Gatti. Jayson Palmgren stone-walled Jimmy Burge.
During the 7-on-7 period, James Franklin checked down to Moore, out in the left flat for a short gain, before Zaviar Gooden came up to make the stop. Then, Franklin found Michael Egnew, sitting down in front of Donovan Bonner, for near first down yardage. Franklin came right back to Andrew Jones for a completion. Bud Sasser made a nice out cut, to gain separation from Darvin Ruise, and Franklin hit him in stride, out along the right sideline.
Ashton Glaser overthrew McGaffie on a deep cross. Jaleel Clark came back to the ball along the right sideline to haul in a Glaser pass. Glaser hit McGaffie on a slant. Kip Edwards arrived with the ball, and broke up a Glaser pass attempt, intended for Rolandis Woodland. Later, Woodland dropped a Glaser pass, that had hit him right in the hands.
Xavier Smith broke up a Gabbert pass that was intended for Lucas, out along the left side. Gabbert completed a pass to Steven Drain for a short gain. Tavon Bolden jumped in front of Gabbert's pass, but he let the ball go through his hands, and Wes Kemp made the reception, and turned it up for a score. Xavier Smith broke up a Gabbert pass intended for Lucas. Brandon Gerau did a nice job of coming back up the sideline, to make a reception of a Gabbert pass, in front of Kip Edwards. Gabbert found Jimmie Hunt for a nice gain, then came right back with a completion to T.J. Moe, out along the right sideline.
Ryan Howerton took his turn taking reps in 7-on-7. He doesn't throw the ball nearly as well as the three QBs ahead of him on the depth chart, but he did complete an occasional pass.
Coach Pinkel was asked about the QB competition.
"You know what, I've been doing this for a long, long time," replied Coach Pinkel. "I just kind of let it happen. We've got good competition. We've recruited well. We've got three good quarterbacks. We're going to let it sort itself out. It always takes care of itself. I think it's very healthy."