On Tuesday afternoon, the Missouri Tigers returned to the grass practice fields in helmets and shoulder pads (shells) for one-and-a-half hours of light contact work.
Gahn McGaffie sported the only red jersey, and sat out all drills while he recovers from a strained hamstring.
This afternoon's practice featured a very crisp passing performance by James Franklin in 7-on-7s.
Franklin's very first pass was a beautifully thrown deep ball down the right sideline. Jerrell Jackson had a step on Kip Edwards, and Franklin absolutely laid the ball right onto Jackson's hands. Touchdown! T.J. Moe got inside of, and a step on, Kenji Jackson on a delayed slant. Franklin zipped that one right into his hands. Moe never broke stride, and turned that intermediate pass into a big gain. Franklin completed his next one to Wes Kemp, down near the right seam, in between Edwards, Jackson, and Robert Steeples. Kemp turned around to find the ball, which was already on the way, just below his face mask, and ripe for Kemp to pluck. First down, plus. Franklin dropped it off to De'Vion Moore out in the left flat. Moore took it up the left sideline. Later, Franklin missed Jerrell Jackson over on the left sideline. Franklin came right back to Jackson in the right seam, near the goal line for a score. Franklin hit Moe on a post for a score.
Franklin's fade pass, in the back left corner of the end zone was right in Jackson's hands, but Trey Hobson went up and stripped the ball away. Franklin found Kemp in the back corner of the end zone. Franklin put the football right over Steeples' outstretched hand. Kemp made the catch, and got both feet down. Nice throw and catch! Michael Egnew presented himself large in the right seam, near the goal line, effectively posting up on Kenji Jackson. Franklin fired that one right to him.
Ashton Glaser found L'Damian Washington over along the left sideline, in front of Randy Ponder. Glaser's pass was right on the money. Glaser went down the left seam to Marcus Lucas, who had gotten behind Ponder, but Braylon Webb stepped in front, and broke it up. Webb should have had the interception. Glaser's next pass, intended for Bud Sasser, was off target. Tristen Holt had the coverage. Glaser's next pass went for six, a well-thrown deep pass to Washington, who was streaking down the right sideline. Glaser laid that ball just over Holt's outstretched hand, as he ran step for step behind Washington. Later, Glaser hit Wesley Leftwich in stride on a slant for a touchdown. Leftwich had gotten inside position on Payton, and then it was a race. Not too many are going to run Leftwich down. He is a fast guy who plays fast on the football field!
Jimmy Costello missed wide with an attempt to Rolandis Woodland, who was open on a crossing pattern. Costello hit Jared Culver with a swing pass out near the right sideline. Coach Steckel used this as an opportunity to let Darvin Ruise know that he was late arriving to meet Mr. Culver. Costello found Jimmy Hunt, sitting down over the middle, for about 15 yards. Later, Costello completed a pass to Sasser, who was sitting in the middle, just in front of Will Ebner, and E.J. Gaines. Kenronte Walker arrived with the football, breaking up a pass attempt intended for Sasser. Ponder broke up a pass attempt intended for Washington, who briefly had the ball in his hands. Ponder made a nice play on that one!
Corbin Berkstresser checked down to Dan Carpenter out in the right flat. Ernest Payton and Tony Randolph were right there to make the stop. Berkstresser's pass attempt, intended for Jaleel Clark, out in the left seam, was high and off of Clark's hands, where it was nearly intercepted. Kentrell Brothers did intercept Berkstresser's next pass, which was thrown over the middle. Later, Xavier Smith broke up a Berkstresser pass attempt, intended for Jimmie Hunt, in the corner of the end zone. Berkstresser's pass hit Eric Waters right in the hands, bounced off, and Ebner was the beneficiary of a gift interception. Berkstresser found Brandon Gerau on a delayed slant for a score. Berkstresser hit Sasser right at the goal line. Berkstresser's swing pass out in the right flat was behind Stricker, who made the difficult catch, but lost his advantage, and had to fight his way back to the line of scrimmage.
As you can tell, this afternoon involved a lot of 7-on-7, almost no contact. One guy who looked good this afternoon, and has looked good this fall, is Kerwin Stricker. He's getting some of those reps that he's missed due to various injuries over the past two years. Stricker has good hands, and displays some ability. He's been one of the more consistent pass-catchers this fall.
Corbin Berkstresser shows outstanding ability, but is inconsistent. He was taking some snaps with the second team offense this afternoon. Not sure what that means, but I still think that the competition for the back-up QB job is between Glaser and Berkstresser.