On Thursday afternoon, the Missouri Tigers opened fall camp, in preparation for the 2011 season, with a two-hour practice in shorts and helmets, on the grass fields adjacent to the MATC. Coach Pinkel said it is good to be getting started.
"Good work, first practice," said Coach Pinkel. "By NCAA rule, we had meetings and testing that we had to do this morning. So, we always start with this afternoon practice. We're limited in what we can do with just helmets on........................ Overall, good work. We'll add drills tomorrow. Every day, we'll add a little bit more."
Sheldon Richardson was not in attendance. No word.
There's one injury to report. Marcus Murphy suffered a season-ending shoulder injury during a recent 7-on-7 work out. Coach Pinkel called it a "rotator cuff" injury. He also said that they have decided that Murphy will red-shirt this year.
"He's a good player," said Coach Pinkel, speaking of Murphy. "We could maybe have him back by the middle of October, but it would be taking a chance of losing him again, so we're going to just shut him down, and get the rehab started."
Most of the drills were going against air. There was a lot of time and attention spent on individual instruction of fundamentals, and footwork. The position coaches were taking a lot of time teaching the newcomers the correct way to perform the drill, with a lot of emphasis on foot placement, hand placement, and finishing the drill correctly.
A look at the newcomers unveils a real good-looking 2011 recruiting class. There are just some great-looking athletes among that group, and they fit right in with the rest of the team, which appears to be extremely fit, and is also full of great-looking athletes.
Some of the newcomers who caught my attention were Cortland Browning, David Johnson, and Kentrell Brothers. Browning is just a big, smooth athlete. Wesley Leftwich and Mike Boddie stand out, as well, after having been here this spring. Leftwich displays some unique abilities. He can really accelerate, and adjust to a ball in the air, to go and get it.
Corbin Berkstresser has great size, and arm-strength. He throws the deep outs similarly to the way that Blaine Gabbert did. He looked real good in the 7-on-7s. But, during the abbreviated 11-on-11 drill, things seemed to be going a little too fast around Corbin.
The one QB who really struggled today was Jimmy Costello. His throws were mostly off-target, and he threw several balls to the wrong team. Coach Pinkel talked about having Costello on the team.
"His maturity, he can help in so many ways," said Coach Pinkel. "So, we're excited to have him here."
During warm-ups, Gahn McGaffie, Jimmie Hunt, and Kip Edwards were among those receiving punts. Trey Barrow and Christian Brinser were each booming their punts on this opening day of camp. Andrew Baggett is a freshman place-kicker from Lee's Summit North who is walking on.
During the 7-on-7 drills, James Franklin found Wes Kemp over along the right sideline for near first-down yardage, then came back to McGaffie on a curl in the seam for about 7 yards. Franklin hit Kemp along the left sideline for about 15 yards. That was a nice throw and catch, behind Edwards, and in front of Matt White. Franklin found McGaffie on a deep cross down the middle, in between a trio of defenders. Nice throw and catch! Then, there was a breakdown in communication between Franklin and the receiver. The receiver went one way, and Franklin threw it the other way. Kenji Jackson came up with a diving interception.
Ashton Glaser hit McGaffie on the same curl pattern. Robert Steeples and Darvon Ruise were right there to make the "stop". Glaser hit Bud Sasser down the middle on a deep cross. That was a nice throw and catch, as Glaser fitted it in between a trio of defenders, and Sasser pulled it in with a fingertip grab on the run, and then sped into the end zone. Glaser found Hunt out along the right sideline, in front of Ruise. Hunt made him miss, and picked up another five yards. Glaser tried to get the ball to Eric Waters, but Will Ebner got a hand in, and knocked it away. Glaser hit Leftwich out along the left side for a first down.
Tony Randolph stepped in front of a Jimmy Costello pass, and came up with the interception. Costello's pass, intended for Rolandis Woodland, was low, and Woodland was unable to come up with it. Costello came back in, and his first pass was intercepted, as Trey Hobson stepped in front.
Corbin Berkstresser checked down to the TB, Dan Carpenter, out in the left flat for a short gain. Berkstresser got the ball to Leftwich, on a curl, for a first down. Berkstresser hit Jimmie Hunt in the left seam area. Hunt turned it up, making a couple of people miss, and picked up about 15 yards. Berkstresser hooked up with Woodland, out along the left sideline for first down yardage, right in front of Tavon Bolden.
During the shortened version of 11-on-11s, Franklin's pass intended for T.J. Moe fell incomplete. Kendial Lawrence took an inside hand-off that looked promising, but Dominique Hamilton quickly shut it down. Under a heavy rush, Franklin pulled it down and got back to the line of scrimmage. Franklin completed a pass out along the left sideline to Kemp for about 5 yards. Franklin faked the inside hand-off, then hit Brandon Gerau out along the left sideline for what turned into a big gain, as Gerau sped up the sideline untouched. Franklin hit Moe out along the left sideline for a first down. That was a nice throw and catch, as Moe tip-toed the sideline, right in front of Zaviar Gooden. Franklin found Eric Waters for about 6 yards, in between defenders.
Woodland made a leaping catch of a Glaser pass, along the right sideline, but was unable to get his feet down in-bounds.
Costello had to chase an errant snap, and covered it for a loss on the play. Then, Costello dropped it off to Andrew Jones, out in the flat, for a short gain. Costello had to chase another errant snap, but caught this one, before he overthrew Jared Culver out in the flat. Costello rolled out to his right, and dumped it off to Greg White, out in the flat, for a short gain.
Berkstresser's first pass was incomplete, thrown in the general direction of Kerwin Stricker. Jared Culver took a hand-off around he left side for a couple of yards. Berkstresser did a nice job of side-stepping the rush, then tried to force it in to Stephen Drain. Kentrell Brothers got a hand on it, and nearly came up with another interception.
Overall, as Coach Pinkel said, it was a good day of work. Tomorrow, the young guys will have a little better idea.