The Missouri Tigers held their first scrimmage of the spring on Saturday morning. The defense had the better of it on the day, although the offense had its moments, as each unit scrimmaged for about 50 plays. In addition to changing units, on both sides of the football, individual players took snaps with more than one unit, resulting in an offense or a defense, that on any given play, would consist of players from more than one unit, according to the latest depth chart.
Almost all of the wide receivers who had been out with injuries played in the scrimmage. On defense, Tavon Bolden, Donovan Bonner, and Tristen Holt remained sidelined, along with Dominique Hamilton, Marcus Malbrough, Corey Sudhoff, Derrion Thomas, Luke Lambert, and Will Ebner. Elvis Fisher and Beau Brinkley also sat out, as did Kyle Peasel. Kerwin Stricker left the field under his own power, after suffering an injury late in the scrimmage.
The defense won the scrimmage by the score of 17-9, and by any measure, controlled the day. At every level of the depth chart, the defense is ahead of the offense, and yards were tough to come by against the number one defense.
"I think we were real physical on defense," said Coach Pinkel. "We were flying around. Interestingly enough, we have a starting safety, two starting linebackers, and a starting defensive tackle, that aren't even out there. That's exciting! There's lots of competition............................... We got some turnovers on defense. That's bad on the offensive side. Coach James always said that if your defense is playing well in the spring, that is good."
During the special teams work, Kip Edwards, Gahn McGaffie, E.J. Gaines, and Marcus Murphy were among those who received punts. McGaffie also did some of the holding. Trey Barrow boomed some impressive punts, widening the gap between he and back-up punter, Christian Brinser. Barrow, who handled the kick-offs last season, has closed the gap between he and Grant Ressel in the placekicking department.
Coach Pinkel talked about what he and his staff try to take away from the scrimmage.
"The whole key in this," explained Coach Pinkel, "is to identify what you've done well, identify what you've done poorly, learn, and come out, and keep working on fundamentals to correct your problems."
Once the scrimmage was underway, all three QBs took turns working with the first, second, and third units, and going against each defensive unit. The one thing that was obvious about the QB play is that each of the three QBs looked a lot better when they were playing with the first-team offense, and that the numerous errant snaps played havoc with each of the QBs.
Coach Pinkel said that the staff would go in and look at the video, and grade everyone. Immediately after the scrimmage, he was reluctant to make evaluations. But, he did acknowledge that they have a lot of things upon which to work. One thing they'll for sure be addressing is the snap of the football.
"That's very difficult," said Coach Pinkel. "It's very tough on the QBs. You've got the QBs battling out there, and the snaps are all over the place. That's very difficult. Obviously, we've got to fix it. Guess what? It's written down right here (pointing to his clipboard)."
Working with the first team offense, Tyler Gabbert moved the chains with a quick pass completion out along the right sideline. Travis Ruth snapped the ball over Gabbert's head. Gabbert covered it, but ended up facing a 2nd and very long. Gabbert found Wes Kemp on a crossing route, to get much of the lost yardage back, but Trey Barrow came on to punt.
Gabbert found Michael Egnew on a slip screen out along the left side. Egnew bulled his way up close to a first down. Kendial Lawrence took an inside hand-off, and picked up the first down. Gabbert found T.J. Moe out in the left seam, for a first down. Lawrence took a hand-off around the left side for a first down. Nice run!
James Franklin came in with the second unit, and was immediately chased out of the pocket by the number one defense. Franklin evaded the rush, and threw the ball out of bounds. Marcus Murphy took a pitch from Franklin, and started around the right side for a short gain. Franklin found Andrew Jones sitting down near the left hash for a first down. Jones knew where the first down marker was, and took a big hit, but held on.
Ashton Glaser hit Kerwin Stricker on an inside screen that went for about 5 yards. Glaser threw high and incomplete, to Stricker, out along the left sideline. Dan Carpenter stepped in front of Glaser's pass attempt, near the right hash marks, and made the interception. Glaser was under a rush, and scrambled up field. Carpenter met him near the right sideline, but Glaser lowered his shoulder, and picked up 2-3 more yards. Greg White took an inside hand-off, and ran around the right side for a first down, making some people miss. Tony Randolph finally got him down, delivering a big hit in the process. Still, White fell forward to finish off the run.
Zaviar Gooden picked off Franklin's pass over on the left side of the field, and took it to the house.
Franklin hit Jerrell Jackson on a deep crossing route. Kenji Jackson came up right on time, and broke it up with a big hit that left Jerrell Jackson wobbly, as he was helped from the field. Henry Josey took a hand-off from Franklin, but was stopped for no gain by Terrell Resonno, Michael Sam, and others. Josey took another hand-off, and made Resonno miss in the back field, then skirted around the right side for 4-5 yards. Franklin hit Moe on the slip screen. Andrew Wilson stopped it for no gain.
De'Vion Moore was stopped for no gain. Gabbert faked a hand-off to Lawrence, then took it up inside for a couple of yards. On 4th and 2, Gabbert faked another hand-off to Lawrence. Braylon Webb came through, and blew up Lawrence in the back field. Gabbert was stuffed at the line of scrimmage.
Glaser kept it, and took it around the left side for 8 yards. Glaser's pass was batted down. Kip Edwards broke up Glaser's pass attempt to Wes Kemp. Murphy took a pitch and was immediately smothered by a host of defenders, behind the line of scrimmage. Glaser scrambled to his right and found Lawrence near the right sideline. Lawrence cut back across the field before Kenji Jackson ran him down and made the open field tackle. Glaser hit Jerrell Jackson near the left hash marks. E.J. Gaines and Matt White were right there to stop him short of the first down. De'Vion Moore had consecutive runs that netted a first down. Glaser threw off of the wrong foot, but completed the pass to Egnew, out along the right sideline for a short gain.
Franklin chased the snap to his left, and Kony Ealy was in his face. Ealy has spent much of the scrimmage in the back field. Franklin ran back to his right, with Ealy in pursuit, and threw the ball to Greg White, out along the right sideline, but they missed connection. Franklin took a low snap, and Michael Sam beat Anthony Gatti, and was in Franklin's face, but James Still managed to complete the pass, although I don't don't think he saw the end of it. Franklin came right back to Andrew Jones, out along the right side, for a first down. Franklin under threw Jimmie Hunt down the right seem. Hunt left his feet, and caught it on a short bounce.
Gabbert scrambled, and made a couple of people miss, and picked up a big gain. Xavier Smith stepped in front of a Gabbert pass attempt, had the ball in both hands, but dropped it. Kony Ealy ran Gabbert down from behind in the back field. Ealy looked real fast!
Glaser ran a keeper over the left side for a TD.
De'Vion Moore took a hand-off from Franklin, and went over the left side for a first down. Franklin hit Jerrell Jackson on an inside screen for another first down. Kony Ealy stopped Moore for no gain. Webb had forced him wide, and then Ealy cleaned it up. Franklin scrambled left, and found Brandon Gerau in the back left corner of the end zone. Great find and throw! Very nice catch.
Justin Britt snapped the ball on the ground. Franklin fielded it, and scrambled around, before taking it up inside for a big gain. But, it came back on a holding penalty.
Gabbert found Jared Culver for a short gain. The throw was behind him, but he hauled it in anyway. Culver took a pitch, and ran it around the right side for a couple. Gabbert found Wesley Leftwich on a screen for a nice gain. Gabbert hit Culver in stride with a swing pass out in the right flat. Culver took a pitch from Gabbert, and took it around the right side into the end zone.
Franklin found Kemp on a slant, and Kemp turned it up for a big gain, displaying real good running ability. Franklin hit Moe on a cross, in front of Ruise. Franklin moved around in the pocket, eluding some back side pressure, and found Egnew out along the right hash mark, for a first down.
Glaser hit Rolandis Woodland out in the right seam for a first down. Under a heavy rush from Brad Madison and others, Glaser unloaded the football out of bounds. Kip Edwards broke up Glaser's pass attempt intended for McGaffie. Glaser completed a short pass to Woodland, who made several people miss, and turned it into a big gain. Matt White fought through Brandon's Gerau's block to finally bring Woodland down.
The top two defensive units played the nickel defense, with Wilson and Gooden at first-team LB, and Darvin Ruise and Michael Brennan at second-team LB. Several different DBs rotated in and out among those top two defensive units. Braylon Webb was terrific on the day, continuing his impressive play this spring. He may be the most talented of Missouri's safeties, and could end up lining up next to Kenji Jackson in September. I don't think the Tigers have had a corner as good as E.J. Gaines during Coach Pinkel's tenure at Missouri.
Zaviar Gooden 40-yard interception return
L'Damian Washington 12-yard pass from Ashton Glaser
Jared Culver 2-yard run
Brandon Gerau 10-yard pass from James Franklin
Washington 64-yard pass from Tyler Gabbert
James Franklin – 18-of-34, 122 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
Ashton Glaser – 14-of-27, 126 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
Tyler Gabbert – 20-of-27, 206 yards, 1 TD
Ryan Howerton – 0-of-2
De'Vion Moore – 11-39
Kendial Lawrence – 7-28
Ashton Glaser – 5-37
Tyler Gabbert – 4-17
Henry Josey – 4-14
Greg White – 3-9
Marcus Murphy – 3-2
Jared Culver – 2-4, 1 TD
James Franklin – 1-9
Bud Sasser – 6-27
Michael Egnew – 5-35
L'Damian Washington – 4-83, 2 TDs
Rolandis Woodland – 4-60
Brandon Gerau – 4-33, 1 TD
Andrew Jones – 4-28
Jerrell Jackson – 4-26
T.J. Moe – 3-16
Wes Kemp – 2-34
De'Vion Moore – 2-24
Wesley Leftwich – 2-19
Jared Culver – 2-18
Gahn McGaffie – 2-13
Kendial Lawrence – 1-8
Eric Waters – 1-7
Steven Drain – 1-4
Marcus Murphy – 1-(-4)
Zaviar Gooden – 1-40 (TD)
Daniel Carpenter – 1-10
Tyler Davis – 1-5
1 – Jacquies Smith, Kony Ealy
2 – Brad Madison
1 – Kony Ealy, Matt Hoch, Jacquies Smith
Grant Ressel – 1-of-4 (Made: 43 / Missed: 36, 39, 54)
Trey Barrow – 2-of-4 (Made: 43, 36 / Missed: 39, 38)
Blake Owens – 0-of-3 (Missed: 43, 36, 39)
Trey Barrow – 5-216, 43.20 avg.
Christian Brinser – 5-208, 41.60 avg.