On Friday morning, the Missouri Tigers practiced in shells for a little over two hours. The workout began on Faurot Field, but moved inside after a thunderstorm moved into the area. Contact was limited, as the team prepares for tomorrow's big scrimmage.
"I thought it was a good practice overall," said Coach Pinkel. "We wore shoulder pads (shells), and practiced lighter this morning, just because we're going to have a huge scrimmage tomorrow. We backed off of the hitting a little bit........................... Tomorrow morning is just a real important scrimmage for everybody. In our evaluation of our players, which we do every single day as a staff, the scrimmage itself carries a lot of weight, also."
About halfway through practice, Jerrell Jackson pulled up lame with what turned out to be a hamstring injury. After he was tended to by the training staff, he was given a red jersey to wear, which the senior WR promptly spiked in disgust. Jackson will miss Saturday's scrimmage, as will Eric Waters, Gahn McGaffie, and Jaleel Clark, each of who wore a red jersey today. Marcus Murphy is out for the season.
"We've got four receivers out," said Coach Pinkel. "With those hamstrings, you've got to be very, very careful in bringing guys back. If you bring them back too soon, then you've got another two weeks......................... But, what that does, though, is that provides a lot of those young guys with an opportunity to shine......................... We've got some depth there, the three freshmen from a year ago, you know, Marcus Lucas, Bud Sasser, and Jimmie Hunt. Those guys are slowly starting to shine........................ Really, having those veteran receivers out, in some respects, helps us a little bit. It allows those guys to see what they can do, gives them an opportunity. We'll see where it goes........................... There's going to come a time when we're going to have to draw a line in the sand."
During 1-on-1 pass receiving drills, Corbin Berkstresser tried to get the ball to Wesley Leftwich out along the right sideline. Tristen Holt stepped in front, and took it the other way. Berkstresser hit Greg White in the end zone. James Franklin lofted one over E.J. Gaines to Wes Kemp, in the right front corner of the end zone.Ashton Glaser hit T.J. Moe near the left hash. Jimmy Costello completed a pass to Michael Egnew down near the goal line. L'Damian Washington, then made a nice catch of a pass that Glaser had lofted into the back right corner of the end zone. Clarence Green intercepted a Costello pass that was intended for Kendial Lawrence. Franklin hit Kemp in the right seam. Gaines had the coverage.Receivers' coach, Andy Hill, talked about some of what he's looking for on Saturday.
"The returners to play better than they did last year, and the young guys to show up and be play makers." said Coach Hill, who indicated that they'll get the scrimmage on film, evaluate their performance, then go from there. "And, to stand out............................ We're looking for the guys who can grind. Be tough. Stand out."
During the 1-on-1 pass rush drills, Austin Wuebbels did a nice job of moving his feet, and blocked Terrell Resonno. Lucas Vincent over-powered Mitch Morse. Justin Britt re-gripped, and picked up a win over Jimmy Burge. Kony Ealy started outside, then cut inside of Anthony Gatti, who could do little but watch him run by. Ealy is not as physical as Aldon Smith, but he's quicker, more coach-able, and has a better motor. Maybe he'll become more physical as time goes along. Sheldon Richardson just blew past Mark Hill. Dan Hoch stone-walled Michael Sam. Burge used second effort to eek out a win in a closely contested battle with Mitch Morse. Britt engaged Ealy, and slowed him down, but Ealy got to the QB anyway. Richardson just tossed Travis Ruth aside, like a rag doll. Richardson is simply dominant in these 1-on-1s! Brad Madison beat Elvis Fisher off of the snap. Brayden Burnett used a nice-looking rip move to get inside of Jack Meiners . Britt stayed in front of Richardson, but Sheldon pushed him back into the QB.
During today's punt practice, Moe and Jimmie Hunt were the lone returners.
During 7-on-7s, Franklin got it out to Moe along the left side for near first-down yardage. Franklin threw high and wide, trying to get it to Moe on the 10-yard out. Zaviar Gooden was right there on the coverage. Franklin hit Egnew in the right seam for a first down, just in front of Kenji Jackson.
Glaser completed a short pass to Andrew Jones. Then, Tristen Holt nearly intercepted a Glaser pass.
In 11-on-11 action, Franklin faked a hand-off, then went around the left side for a nice gain. Franklin tried to hit Moe on a cross. The pass was just a bit high, and it went through Moe's hands. Franklin scrambled, then found Moe out along the right side for a first down. Burge hit Franklin just before he threw the football for a completion to Moe. Franklin fitted the ball in between Matt White and Zaviar Gooden, and Egnew was strong in making the reception for a first down near the right hash. Madison hurried Franklin into an incomplete pass.
Glaser completed a pass to Jared Culver, out along the left sideline, for a nice gain. Dan Carpenter took a hand-off from Glaser, and went off right tackle, where he laid the ball on the ground. Glaser tried to get the ball to Leftwich deep down the right sideline. Kop Edwards forced Leftwich to run out of bounds, and the pass fell incomplete. Glaser hit Lucas out along the left side for a nice gain. Ealy sacked Glaser. Later, Glaser scanned the field, then took it up inside for a nice gain.
Berkstresser got the ball out to Sasser in the left seam. Sasser made the first guy miss, and picked up a nice gain. Berkstresser hit Washington on a sideline out, in front of Ernest Payton. Berkstresser rolled left, then threw the ball out of bounds. Marcus Lucas had a step on David Johnson, deep down the right sideline, where Berkstresser got him the ball for a nice throw and catch. Berkstresser found Leftwich in the right front corner of the end zone. Nice throw and catch! Hamilton sacked Berkstresser. Later, Shane Ray pressured Berkstresser, who threw the football to Brandon Durant.
After practice, Coach Yost talked about tomorrow's scrimmage. He said that he expects Franklin to continue to do what he's been doing. And, he's looking to see which of the back-ups can do "good quarterbacking" under duress, and when things are not going the way it's drawn up.
Coach Yost is not giving anything away, but it looks like Berkstresser is poised to move up. More than one staff member suggested that Sheldon Richardson would be moving up quickly, as well.
I think we'll see a lot of movement in the depth chart between now and the end of next week.