On Friday morning, the Missouri Tigers practiced on Faurot Field, in full pads, for over two hours. This morning's practice was physical, and the players continued to show the enthusiasm displayed during Thursday's scrimmage.
The last two days, the intensity of the practices have increased. The defense is especially strong, and demonstrates great enthusiasm, while playing at a very high level, even down to the level of the third string, despite having some starters on the sideline with injuries.
Speaking of injuries, there's a sizable list, following Thursday's scrimmage, although Coach Pinkel said that they expected almost everyone to be back in there by next week. Brad Madison, Jacquies Smith, Will Ebner, Kenji Jackson, Matt White, Tavon Bolden, Jerrell Jackson, Travis Ruth, and Kerwin Stricker, each wore a red Jersey, and sat out all drills. Eric Waters and Wesley Leftwich each wore a red pull-over, and participated in some drills.
"I think overall, it was a good practice today," said Coach Pinkel. "It was high-energy........................ We're a pretty good competitive football team when we play with a lot of enthusiasm. And, we kind of cranked that up a little bit today. We needed to do that, and we needed to have a better practice. And, I think we did that.
During the 9-on-9 short yardage drill, the defensive line controlled the line of scrimmage. There weren't many holes for the backs to run through. Zavier Gooden and Kenronte Walker came across the line of scrimmage to stuff De'Vion Moore. Sheldon Richardson, Darvin Ruise, and Derrion Thomas all converged in the back field to swarm Greg White. The defensive line and linebackers were really attacking the line of scrimmage! They're really playing with a lot of energy. The safeties were coming down hill, as well. They know what's coming, and are looking for someone to hit. Braylon Webb came up and met Moore at the line of scrimmage. The defense really seems to be together, and are really playing at a high level.
During 7-on-7s, T.J. Moe got behind Robert Steeples, running down the right seam. Moe stopped, and Franklin's pass sailed over his head. If Moe had kept going, that would have been six. Franklin overthrew Kemp in the same area of the field. It looked like Kemp just slowed up on the route. Those were a couple of excellent deep throws that were overthrown because the receivers didn't continue to run. Franklin hit L'Damian Washington on a post route for about a 20-yard gain. Franklin's pass attempt, intended for Brandon Gerau, was broken up by Trey Hobson. Hobson had jumped the slant, so Franklin threw it to the outside, but Gerau didn't adjust his route. Franklin hit Wes Kemp down the left side for about 15 yards. Kemp came back up the sideline, to make the catch, as Franklin had thrown it away from the defender. Kemp tacked on some yards-after-catch. Then, Kemp had about a half-step on Hobson and Luke Lambert, running down the right sideline.
Franklin's pass was perfectly thrown, just over the defenders. It hit Kemp right in stride, but he either didn't see it, or he misjudged it, and it bounced off of his hands. Kemp took Franklin's pass on a slant, and tacked on some YAC. Franklin rolled right, then threw it away. Franklin hit Michael Egnew in the end zone, in front of Walker. Moe laid out in the end zone to make a diving reception of a Franklin pass. Franklin dropped it off to Kendial Lawrence out in the left flat for about five yards. The way that Franklin consistently leads his backs on that type of pass, hitting them in stride, is going to result in a lot of YAC.
Costello's pass attempt, intended for Washington, was batted away by Andrew Wilson. Costello found Gahn McGaffie on a deep slant. Costello hit Bud Sasser running down the right side for a touchdown. Sasser had gotten behind Donovan Bonner and Daniel Easterly, and Costello's pass was right on his hands.
Berkstresser tried to get it out along the left sideline to Jared Culver. Culver needed to come back up the sideline, but he didn't, and the pass fell incomplete. Berkstresser found Jimmie Hunt out along the right sideline for a first down. David Johnson and Ruise had the coverage. Berkstresser hit Eric Waters, sitting down near the left hash, for a first down. Berkstresser found Andrew Jones near the left hash, for a nice gain. Berkstresser hit Stephen Drain at the goal line, on a deep slant. Berkstresser' attempted fade, intended for Woodland, was overthrown. Woodland had gotten behind Steeples, but he didn't create any space.
Ashton Glaser found Stephen Drain for a nice gain. Kentrell Brothers almost intercepted Glaser's pass, knocking it down instead. Ernest Payton knocked the ball away from Rolandis Woodland in the end zone. Woodland had his hands on it, but didn't pull it away from the freshman.
During the 1-on-1 pass-rushing drills, Marvin Foster got past Jayson Palmgren. Matt Hoch picked up a win over Mike Boddie. Shane Ray got past John Birdwell. Dan Hoch picked up a win over Brayden Burnett. Mitch Morse won a closely contested battle against Burge. Brendan Donaldson over-powered Robert Luce.
During 11-on-11s, Franklin hit Moe on a slant, in front of Jared Parham. Franklin hit Egnew on a deep slant for a big gain. Franklin found Gerau out in the left seam for a first down, in front of Ernest Payton. Franklin hit Moe on a deep slant. Moe had to slow up to wait for the football. Franklin stuck one in to Egnew down near the right hash for a nice gain. Lawrence took a pitch around the left side. Lambert and Sam got out there and stopped it for no gain. Lawrence took a screen pass from Franklin, and weaved his way up field for a nice gain. Braylon Webb stepped in front of a Franklin pass for the interception. Franklin forced that one into coverage. Lawrence took a pitch and made the edge for a 57-yard gain. Walker ran him out at the three.
In the red zone, Franklin hit Gerau for a score. Lawrence took a hand-off up inside for a score. Once again, Franklin was very efficient in the red zone.
Costello found McGaffie out in the right seam for a nice gain. Costello found McGaffie near the sideline, just in front of Xavier Smith. Washington had Costello's pass in his hands, but Smith ripped it away from him. After an incomplete pass to no one in particular, Costello faked a hand-off, then went deep down field to Bud Sasser. Sasser was fairly well-covered, and had to adjust to an under thrown ball. He fought through two defenders to come up with the reception.
Berkstresser hit McGaffie on a slant. Then, McGaffie came back up the sideline to catch a Berkstresser pass. Smith had the coverage, and Berkstresser's throw led McGaffie away from the defender. Culver took a hand-off and ran left for a nice gain. Brothers got over there to run him out of bounds. Berkstresser's pass hit Woodland right in the numbers down the left sideline. Woodland made the 35-yard reception, with David Johnson right there in coverage.
Walker intercepted Glaser's pass and returned it for a TD. Glaser pulled it down, then scrambled for a nice gain.
Both second-string safeties, Webb and Walker, worked with the first team today, and they looked good doing it. I've been expecting good things from Webb, and we're seeing it. He really has a nose for the football, and if he was better at catching the football, he'd already have several interceptions this fall. He's also a big-hitter, who likes to come down hill.
Andrew Wilson continues to play well, and deliver big hits.
Missouri's front seven on defense is really playing well. Not that they're not playing well in the secondary, but their front seven is just overwhelming. Dominique Hamilton appears to be poised to have a big year!