On Saturday morning, the Missouri Tigers held their first scrimmage of fall camp. This is the biggest scrimmage of the the fall, and it weighs heavily in the player evaluations that will establish the depth chart, and determine who will be playing when the Tigers take to the field this season. It also serves as valuable practice time for the team, as this is one of the few opportunities during camp for live action.
The scrimmage included a lot of snaps for each of the first four units, and will provide ample video footage which the staff will utilize in their evaluations of each player on the team. Those evaluations, combined with the cumulative evaluations of each player from the beginning of camp until today, will result in the creation of a new depth chart being established heading into the remainder of camp.
Following today's scrimmage, which the defense won, Coach Pinkel appeared to be displeased.
"We've got a lot of experienced guys," said Coach Pinkel. "I just didn't see the consistency of play by our experienced players. So, I was disappointed in that. I think we have the making of a pretty good football team, but we've got to really get all of the attention to detail things taken care of. There's a lot of competition, some guys moving up and moving down. That's all based on, not only this practice, but the eleven practices prior to it. There were certainly some good things, and some bad things. But, I just expected our experienced players, and we have a lot of them that have played a lot, to play at a more consistently high level. So that's what I tell the team. I tell them how I feel. We'll study the film, and get back out here Monday morning, and become a better football team."
In addition to the four receivers who missed the scrimmage due to various leg injuries, Anthony Gatti also missed the scrimmage, with what appeared to be a knee injury. He wore a red jersey, and limped around the edges. Brad Madison left midway through the scrimmage with a shoulder sprain. Steve Drain was taken off with a knee sprain. Kenji Jackson strained a hamstring. Jimmy Burge suffered a concussion, and Wes Kemp incurred a hip pointer. Coach Pinkel pointed out that the team would look to their back-ups, in the absence of the injured players, and he said that he thought they would get all of the injured players back for this season.
Starting QB James Franklin got off to a slow start, as he was intercepted on his first pass attempt of the day. Franklin brought the first team offense out from their own end against the first team defense. After a couple of inside running plays to Kendial Lawrence had netted about 4 yards, Franklin dropped back and got the ball to T.J. Moe near the right line, right at the first down marker. Moe was blanketed, behind, and in front, and before he could pull the ball down, Will Ebner snatched it away from him, and waltzed into the end zone.
It took Franklin a couple of more series, including one in which Brad Madison sacked him on third down, near midfield, which knocked the offense out of field goal range, before he settled down. Then, for the remaining two-thirds of the scrimmage, Franklin got into rhythm, and steadily moved the chains.
"He started a little slow," said Coach Pinkel, talking about James Franklin's performance in the scrimmage. "But, I thought he really did well, when he got going. I think he's really doing a lot of good things. He's a young player. If the starters around him play better, he's going to end up playing better. But, I thought he really did some good things, when he got going."
Perhaps the turning point for Franklin was back-to-back possessions that each concluded with a pair of long TD runs by Lawrence. On the first, Lawrence started up inside, and found an opening. He turned on the jets, and no one could catch him. On the second TD run, Lawrence again started up inside, then cut back out to the right side, where he picked up a convoy, in the persons of Moe, and Wes Kemp, who escorted him into the end zone. Lawrence showed both explosion and patience on that one.
Both Coach Pinkel and Coach Yost pointed out that they liked the way that Franklin bounced back from a slow start.
Lawrence just continues to separate himself from the competition at the TB position.
There was so much shifting around of personnel throughout the scrimmage that I couldn't keep track of all of it. For the most part, the offensive line units took the field fairly intact, although there was some individuals who moved up for a series or two. I saw Chris Freeman getting some reps at left tackle, with the second unit, although Justin Britt appeared at that spot most of the time. On defense, there was a mis-mash of units, with players from the second, third, and even fourth units, playing together for a series here and there. I saw Sheldon Richardson playing with some of the guys from the second team defense, as well as with other combinations. Kony Ealy moved up onto the first team, after Madison left the field.
Brandon Gerau began the scrimmage lined up at the X WR spot with the first-team offense. That allowed Lucas to work quite a bit with the second unit, and he even got some work with the first-team offense, as well.
Punt practice got things going. Returners included Moe, E.J. Gaines, and Jimmie Hunt. Trey Barrow was impressive.
After some kick-off work, with Henry Josey, Kendial Lawrence, and Jimmie Hunt as return men, the scrimmage began. Each unit come out from their own two-yard line. Franklin wore the green (no contact) jersey usually afforded the starter, while the other QBs wore orange, which allows for contact above the waist.
Ashton Glaser dropped back, then took off up the middle to get near the first down. Then Josey took a toss and went over left tackle for the first down.
Greg White tried the inside on successive runs, setting up a third and five. Corbin Berkstresser found Rolandis Woodland out along the left side, but Xavier Smith was there to make the stop for no gain.
A couple of series later, Jimmy Costello hit Marcus Lucas deep down the right sideline for about 35 yards. Lucas had gotten behind Xavier Smith. Nice throw and catch! A couple of plays later, Lucas went up in a crowd, to make a nice reception of a Costello pass that was thrown behind him.
Brad Madison beat Justin Britt off of the edge, and sacked Glaser, stripping him of the football.
Berkstresser tried to get it to Kerwin Stricker, down the left sideline. David Johnson made a nice leaping interception. On the next play, Johnson came up and stuffed Jared Culver for no gain. A couple of plays later, Berkstresser's pass went off of Andrew Jones' hands, and Ian Simon came up with the tipped-ball interception.
Moe took a hand-off from Franklin and went around the right side for six yards. Gerau took a tunnel screen and made the first down. Daniel Easterly made him pay, as he came up with a big hit, stopping Gerau in his tracks. A couple of plays later, Franklin scrambled right. He was tagged from behind, after a gain of three yards. During the season, that won't bring Franklin down. Madison got in, and sacked Franklin. Afterward, Andy Hill was seen getting onto Marcus Lucas for not adjusting his route. Franklin would later say that he should have gotten rid of it. A little later, Franklin stood in against some pressure, and just as he was hit, he delivered a completion to Michael Egnew for a first down.
Wesley Leftwich got behind the defense, and Glaser's pass was right on his hands, deep down the left sideline. But, Leftwich failed to make the catch.
Berkstresser found Jones over along the left sideline. That was a small window, but Jones came up with it in a crowd.
Lawrence took Franklin's hand-off and burst up the middle for a 60-yard TD run. On the next play, Lawrence took an inside hand-off from Franklin, worked his way inside, then cut outside, and went 60 yards again. After he cut toward the right side, Lawrence coasted a bit, as he waited for Moe and Kemp to get ahead of him. He really showed the entire package on that run!
The TD runs seemed to spark the offense, after which Franklin just really got it going! Franklin found Moe for a 20-yard gain in the left seem, in front of Tristen Holt. Henry Josey ripped off a 9-yard run, then came right back and ran left into the front corner of the end zone.
Berkstresser hit Beau Brinkley on a post route for a nice gain.
Costello ripped of a big gain off of a scramble, before Will Ebner ran him out of bounds.
Franklin hit Gerau out along the left sideline, then came back to Egnew for a first down. Franklin hit Kemp in stride in the end zone. That may have been the best play of Wes Kemp's career. He ran down the right hash, and Franklin laid it out in front of him at the goal line. Kemp left his feet to make the catch.
Will Ebner 10-yard interception return
Kendial Lawrence 60-yard rush
Lawrence 60-yard rush
Henry Josey 11-yard rush
Wes Kemp 25-yard pass from James Franklin
James Franklin - 16-23, 187 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
Corbin Berkstresser - 16-29, 113 yards, 3 INT
Jimmy Costello - 12-13, 109 yards
Ashton Glaser - 12-18, 75 yards
Kortland Webb - 6-10, 36 yards, 1 INT
TOTALS - 63-98, 520 yards, 1 TD, 5 INTs
Kendial Lawrence - 8-133, 2 TDs
Ashton Glaser - 5-31
Henry Josey - 9-31
Greg White - 7-30
Jimmy Costello - 1-29
James Franklin 4-15
Tyler Hunt 3-14
De'Vion Moore - 4-13
T.J. Moe - 1-7
Jared Culver - 4-6
Kortland Webb - 2-3
Corbin Berkstresser - 1-1
Jimmie Hunt - 1-(-3)
Daniel Carpenter - 1-(-2)
TOTALS - 49-307, 3 TDs
T.J. Moe - 6-58
Michael Egnew - 6-48
Rolandis Woodland - 6-44
Andrew Jones - 6-32
Marcus Lucas - 5-65
Beau Brinkley 4-45
Brandon Gerau - 4-34
L'Damian Washington - 3-38
Jared Culver 3-30
Daniel Carpenter - 3-13
Bud Sasser - 3-11
Terry Dennis - 2-11
Wesley Leftwich - 2-11
Kerwin Stricker - 2-5
Greg White - 2-3
Henry Josey - 2-1
Wes Kemp - 1-25, 1 TD
De'Vion Moore - 1-17
Kendial Lawrence - 1-16
Jimmie Hunt 1-13
TOTALS - 63-520, 1 TD
Interceptions - (1 each) Donovan Bonner, Will Ebner, David Johnson, Ernest Payton, Ian Simon
Blocked Field Goals - (1 each) Zaviar Gooden, Terrell Resonno