On Saturday, the Missouri Tigers held their regular Tuesday practice in full pads indoors, in preparation to face North Carolina in the Independence Bowl on December 26. This was a little more physical practice, with plenty of Missouri versus North Carolina (scout team) action. Following practice, Coach Pinkel was upbeat.
"First of all, I thought we had a good practice," said Coach Pinkel. "This is what we call a Tuesday practice……………………………. Tomorrow, we'll have a Wednesday practice. But overall, I thought it was good. With full pads, it was very physical. We're really getting into the game plan now."
There were no new injuries to report. Brad Madison, and Matt Hoch continue to practice in the red pull-over. So are Kentrell Brothers and Will Ebner. Only Grant Ressel appears to be out for the game, as he has yet to do any kicking. Trey Barrow is handling both the kicking and punting duties, and is doing well. As usual, most of his punts hit the ceiling, which is always a good sign.
During 7-on-7s, James Franklin found Kendial Lawrence out in the left flat for a short gain, in front of Randy Ponder and Kip Edwards. Franklin dropped one in to Michael Egnew, about 15 yards down the right sideline. Nice throw, right on time and perfectly located. Egnew beat Zaviar Gooden on the coverage. Franklin hit Eric Waters in the right seam for a first down. Franklin threw that one towards Waters' back shoulder, making him stop in between the safeties. Franklin dumped it off to T.J. Moe out in the right flat for a short gain. Trey Hobson was there to make the stop. Franklin hit Wes Kemp out in the left seam. Gooden and Edwards were there to make the stop after about a 5-yard gain.
Jimmy Costello completed a quick pass to Jared Culver out in the left flat for a short gain. Xavier Smith came up to make the stop. Costello completed a swing pass out in the left flat to Greg White for a short gain. Donovan Bonner came up quickly to make the stop.
Corbin Berkstresser's pass attempt down the left sideline, intended for Waters, sailed out of bounds.
During 1-on-1 pass-rush drills, Austin Wuebbels moved well, and picked up a win over Sheldon Richardson. Jayson Palmgren stopped Dominique Hamilton. Terrell Resonno bull-rushed his way past Jack Meiners. Justin Britt moved his feet, and did a nice job in picking up a win over Michael Sam. Kony Ealy spun past Chris Freeman. Jimmy Burge ripped his way past Max Copeland. Mitch Morse stopped Marvin Foster. Mark Hill picked up a win over Lucas Vincent in a closely contested battle. Afterwards, Coach Walker stepped in to instruct Hill on some fundamentals. Kony Ealy pushed Freeman right back into the QB. Freeman stayed in front of him, but gave up ground, and ended up sitting on the QB. Max Copeland regripped when Burge tried to spin. Then, Copeland gave up some ground, but stayed with him for the win. Richardson bull-rushed his way right over Morse. Sam used a rip move to get past Taylor Chappell.
Going against North Carolina, Jared Culver took a swing past out in the right flat. Cortland Browning came up to make the stop, and Culver lowered the boom on the freshman safety. L'Damian Washington got behind the scout team defense down the middle on a skinny post. Berkstresser's throw was just off of his fingertips. A little later, Berkstresser hit Jimmie Hunt in stride with a deep throw down the left hashmarks. Hunt had gotten behind Davis Johnson. Hunt made that look easy, as he's another one who adjusts to the ball in flight so smoothly.
On the other end of the field, Marcus Murphy had a good day on the scout team, running against the Missouri defense. Andrew Wilson dropped into coverage and came up an interception against North Carolina.
Several of the seniors exited at this point, as they were due to attend graduation ceremonies. This gave a number of back-up players an opportunity to move up for the remainder of practice.
During some 11-on-11 action, Franklin found Lucas down the left hash for first-down yardage and then some. Then, Franklin faked a hand-off and got it out to Moe for a short gain. Ponder and Braylon Webb were both there for the stop. The first-team offensive line included Dan Hoch, Mark Hill, Travis Ruth, Jack Meiners, and Justin Britt. Franklin faked a hand-off, then tossed it out quickly to Kemp for a short gain. Moe stumbled as he ran a post pattern down the middle. Franklin's pass sailed past Moe and hit Kenronte Walker right in the numbers. Franklin hit Waters out along the right sideline. Walker was right there to make the stop.
Marcus Murphy took a toss from Costello and got the edge for a nice gain. The second-team offensive line included Chappell, McNulty, Morse, Demien, and Freeman.
Gahn McGaffie took a Berkstresser hand-off and ran left for a short gain. On the next play, Ealy and Burge collapsed the pocket and sacked Berkstresser.
Following practice, selected linemen participated in a 7-on-7 competition.
"We had big-man 7-on-7 at the end," explained Coach Pinkel, talking about a light-hearted tradition that the Tigers have implemented during bowl practices in recent years. "It's a lot of fun. When you've got 320-pound Dan Hoch playing free safety, it's fun. And, nobody got hurt, which is good."
Coach Pinkel was asked to compare North Carolina to other opponents that Missouri has faced this year? He said that they were more like Texas or Kansas State than other teams that Missouri had played this year.