After two days off of practice, the Missouri Tigers returned to the grass practice fields on Tuesday afternoon, and went through a physical workout in full pads for over two hours.
As expected, several players returned from injury today, including Jacquies Smith and Brad Madison, each of whom went through the full practice uninhibited. Both starting safeties, Kenji Jackson and Matt White returned to practice in a limited fashion, wearing red pull-overs, and sitting out the 11-on-11 drills. Jerrell Jackson and Wesley Leftwich each wore red pull-overs, but participated in all drills. Leftwich showed some guts today, as he was hampered somewhat, but continued to try to go. At one point, he was noticeably limping, and T.J. Moe came over to him and told him to get out of there. Austin Wuebbels was held out of the 11-on-11s, with what Coach Pinkel described as a neck injury. Eric Waters donned a red pull-over half-way through practice.
Other injured players included Travis Ruth, Will Ebner, Tavon Bolden, Kerwin Stricker, each of whom wore a red jersey and sat out all drills. Elvis Fisher was at practice today, sitting in a cart. Marcus Murphy was in street clothes, out of his sling, and was able to move his arm, as he watched from the sidelines.
Coach Pinkel seemed pleased with the effort on the day.
"It was a real good practice, very intense," said Coach Pinkel. "Pretty intense, physical practice. It's a little bit different for the players today, with class for the last couple of days. They've got other responsibilities. A lot of the young guys, you can see with that added on to the table, their focus wasn't quite as good as it's supposed to be."
During the 9-on-9 short-yardage drills, yards were tough to come by. It was hot, and player are tired of going up against their teammates. The defense seems to know what's being run as well as does the offense.
Kendial Lawrence took a hand-off from James Franklin and went off left tackle for a nice gain. De'Vion Moore took a hand-off from Jimmy Costello and punched it up inside for a hard yard. Lawrence took a pitch from Franklin, and ran left for no gain. Michael Sam got into the back field and dropped Tyler Hunt for a loss. Henry Josey ran left for a couple of tough yards. Lawrence took a Franklin hand-off and ran left, where he picked up about five yards. That was well-blocked, and Lawrence did a good job of working his way through a crowd. Luke Lambert came up a stuffed Moore right at the line of scrimmage. Lawrence ran left. Braylon Webb made the stop after a short gain.
During the 1-on-1 pass-rush drills, Brayden Burnett beat Chris Freeman. Lucas Vincent pushed Max Copeland aside, and ran around him for a win. Mitch Morse blocked Marvin Foster, in a closely contested battle. Sheldon Richardson blew past Brad McNulty. Brendan Donaldson over-powered Connor McGovern. Kony Ealy ran past Freeman. Nick Demien blocked Corey Sudhoff. Vincent bulled his way by Copeland. Foster got past Morse. Richardson overpowered McNulty. Richardson got past Mark Hill. Jayson Palmgren blocked Vincent. Shane Ray used an outside rush to get by John Birdwell. Richardson blew past Hill.
During 7-on-7s, Franklin got it to Michael Egnew over the middle, but Kenji Jackson knocked it away.
Costello got the ball to Jaleel Clark, on a drag route for a short gain.
During 11-on-11s, Franklin completed the slant to Egnew for about 7 yards, right in front of Gaines. Franklin hit Moe out along the left sideline for a first down, in front of Zaviar Gooden. Moore took a pitch and ran left. Webb beat Palmgren's block and made contact after about a three-yard gain, but Moore picked up a couple more yards before reinforcements arrived. Franklin faked a hand-off, and was under a rush. He threw it out along the right sideline, and Brandon Gerau came back up the sideline to make the reception. That was a real heads-up play by the former walk-on. Lawrence took a Franklin hand-off over right tackle for three hard yards. Dominique Hamilton burst through and sacked Franklin. Josey took a hand-off and picked up a couple. Brad Madison and Wilson were there on the stop. Mark Hill made a good block, and Lawrence cut inside off of Hill's block, for a big gain. Lawrence took a pitch from Franklin and ran left for a couple.
Franklin hit Gerau along the left side for a first down. Franklin found Jerrell Jackson on an inside screen. Michael Sam whacked him, separating him from his helmet, but Jackson held onto the football. Moe got a couple on a reverse.
In the red Zone, Franklin found Egnew in the left seam for a nice gain, setting up a first and goal inside the five. Then, Lawrence was thrown for a loss by Jacquies Smith. Luke Lambert and Terrell Resonno were there, as well.
Costello's pass was intercepted by Xavier Smith, who returned it for a TD. Costello hit Bud Sasser on a middle screen for a first down. Greg White took a hand-off. Kentrell Brothers hit him in the back field, but White worked hard to get back across the line of scrimmage. Costello's pass fell incomplete. I'm not sure who was the intended receiver. Wilson broke up Costello's pass over the middle, intended for Andrew Jones. Then, Costello hit Jones for a first down, right in between Wilson, Webb, and Kenronte Walker. Then, Costello found McGaffie in the left front corner of the end zone.
Corbin Berkstresser was under a rush, and pulled it down and took off. Clarence Green ran him out of bounds after a short gain. Berkstresser's pass, intended for Clark was broken up by Green. Dan Carpenter took a hand-off and started around the left side, where Shane Ray came across and tackled him for a loss.
Berkstresser's pass, intended for Sasser, was thrown behind him, and fell incomplete. Jared Culver picked up a first down running left. Berkstresser missed Sasser again. Sasser reached back to try to get a hand on it, and tipped the ball into the air. It fell incomplete, but Coach Hill was all over Sasser for tipping the ball into the air.
Berkstresser tried to get it to Jones on a slant. Wilson stepped in front for the interception. Berkstresser's pass attempt, intended for Josey near the left sideline, was knocked away by Ian Simon. Berkstresser found Jones for a completion out along the right seam.
Coach Steckel was yelling at Kony Ealy for not being lined up correctly. While he was yelling at him, Ealy burst through and sacked Berkstresser. Steckel kept yelling at him.
Ashton Glaser stepped up into the pocket and got it to McGaffie out along the right side for a first down. Glaser hit Marcus Lucas on a cross for a first down. Henry Josey took a pitch running left, then cut it back inside, where he juked a couple of defenders, and then turned on the jets for a long TD run. Glaser got it to Greg White, but Andrew Wilson came up and separated White from the ball. Rolandis Woodland had a step on Donovan Bonner, but Glaser's pass
was overthrown. Later, Glaser overthrew Wes Leftwich. Leftwich just seemed to slow up, instead of going to get it, then limped back toward the line of scrimmage. Moe ran up to him and said, "If you can't go get the football, get off of the field!" Leftwich limped off, but a few plays later, he was back in there, and made a reception, in front of Xavier Smith. Leftwich is trying to tough it out, despite a sore hamstring.
In the red zone, Glaser scrambled left, then found Jimmie Hunt in the end zone.
Later, Franklin was back in running the first unit, in 11-on-11s. Lawrence picked up about 8 yards, running around the left side. Franklin completed a pass to L'Damian Washington, out in the right seam. Washington started to turn and run, then just dropped the football. Trey Hobson picked it up and started running the other way. Franklin got over there to knock him out of bounds. Franklin found Marcus Lucas down along the right sideline for about 25 yards. Lucas went high into the air to make the reception, then held on when Gooden separated him from his helmet. After Josey picked up four tough yards, Franklin ran right and then lofted the ball just over Robert Steeples. Brandon Gerau made a leaping, fingertip reception, then got a foot down in-bounds for a first down.
Gerau, the fifth-year senior, had a good day, after being moved from the X back to the Z. Sasser, the red-shirt freshmen, wasn't as smooth today, after moving back inside to the H. Lucas looked real good today.
It was good to see Smith and Madison back in there. That sure helps improve the defense, especially the second and third units, when everyone moves back down the depth chart.