On Thursday, the Missouri Tigers practiced for two-and-a-half hours inside the Devine Pavilion. This was the requisite second practice in helmets and shorts, and the Tigers got after it a little bit today, despite not wearing pads. On Friday, Missouri will go with a light practice in helmets and shoulder pads, before hitting it in full pads on Saturday morning.
There are still way too many injured players, but a couple of guys did get back in on Thursday. Chris Freeman was back in at full speed following an auto collision, and Kentrell Brothers was back in at full speed. There was one new casualty, as L'Damian Washington wore a red jersey following a hamstring injury, and sat out all drills.
In addition, George White missed practice due to what Coach Pinkel described as "a personal problem". Coach Pinkel also said that Brayden Burnett has pneumonia, and is in the hospital receiving treatment. Coach Pinkel said that Burnett "is going to be okay".
"The energy level is high, which is good," said coach Pinkel. "Overall, it's a good practice. The fundamental work is good for everyone. We got a little bit of 11-on-11 work. It's always fun to see young payers getting a little better. There's a lot of positive things. We've got a lot of people out, but that's an opportunity for some of the young guys to get in there."
Practice got underway with a special teams segment, and then moved into a series of individual fundamental drills. In the punting segment, both punters were hitting the ceiling regularly, which to me is the sign of a good punt. Among those assigned to fielding punts are Marcus Murphy, E.J. Gaines, and T.J. Moe.
In the individual drills, Kenronte Walker stood out from the crowd of safeties, along with Webb, of course, who appears to me to be the Tigers most talented at that position. Tavon Bolden looks good, as do the red-shirt freshmen, Ian Simon and Cortland Browning.
During the 1-on-1 pass-receiving drills, Corbin Berkstresser found Rolandis Woodland running down the right side. The ball was a little bit behind him, but Ro hauled it in and then showed the defender his heels. Will Ebner got back into coverage and made a nice pass break up. Jaleel Clark got behind Bolden on a deep post. James Franklin hit him in stride. David Johnson came up and hit Darius White just as the football arrived. White held on for the reception before Johnson ran him out of bounds along the right sideline. Kerwin Stricker got behind Cortland Browning on a post route for a reception. Franklin led Jimmie Hunt on a deep post, as Hunt ran away from Randy Ponder and under the football for a score. Franklin completed one to Marcus Lucas, who was working against Gaines on a deep sideline pattern. I couldn't tell if Lucas got a foot down inbounds, but it was a nice catch and throw into a small window about 30 yards down field. Woodland showed some speed, as he ran away from Robert Steeples. Marcus Murphy took a Franklin pass out in the right flat and juked his way past the defender.
During the 1-on-1 pass-rush drill, Justin Britt showed good footwork in picking up a win over Michael Sam. Jack Meiners picked up a win against Jimmy Burge. Then Coaches Henson and Walker stepped in and gave Meiners some pointers. Travis Ruth picked up a win over Matt Hoch. Elvis Fisher was moving cautiously, as he gave up a sack to Kony Ealy. Coach Henson came over to see if he was OK, and the trainer was called in. Fisher assured them that he was OK. He was just feeling his way in, and he convinced everyone that he would continue. I'm not sure, but I think Ealy may have gone easy on him after that one. On the next one, Fisher moved with more confidence in his base, and picked up a win over Ealy. Sam used a rip move to get an inside track on Britt. Meiners took Burge on past the QB. Lucas Vincent bull-rushed Mitch Morse, using his hands to get a sack. Chris Freeman looked good in blocking Derrion Thomas. Nick Demien took David Butler past the QB. Matt Hoch picked up a win over Max Copeland. Shane Ray ran past Taylor Chappell. Ray is going to see a lot of action this year. He's a blur coming off of the edge, and he'll at least be very involved in special teams, if he's not being used to rush the passer. Stephen Carberry knocked Clayton Echard to the ground, a move which drew a hearty cheer from all of the offensive guys.
During 7-on-7s, Franklin found Lucas in the right seam for a nice gain. Franklin drilled one in to Eric Waters, out in the right seam for a nice gain. Gaines and Andrew Wilson were right there, but Franklin really stuck that one in there. Franklin hit Moe near the left sideline, just in front of Zaviar Gooden. Franklin zipped one in between a couple of defenders for a completion to Jimmie Hunt, who was sitting down about 15 yards downfield near the right hash. Franklin hit Clark with a bullet pass out along the left sideline. Edwards was right there to make the stop. Hunt did a nice job of coming back up the left sideline to make a reception of a Franklin pass, in front of Edwards. Franklin hooked up with Lucas down the right sideline. You can really see the chemistry between those two. There's just another level of confidence in each other that you don't see with the other receivers.
Berkstresser hit Murphy in stride out in the right flat. Murphy turned it up for a nice gain. Berkstresser found Kerwin Stricker out along the left sideline. Brothers was right there to make the stop. Berkstresser hit Woodland on a slant. Berkstresser was trying to get the ball to Woodland down the left sideline, but instead threw the ball right to Randy Ponder for the interception. Ponder played it well. Berkstresser came right back with a completion to Woodland out along the left sideline, just in front of Matt White. Berkstresser found McGaffie over the middle. Berkstresser stuck one into a crowd for a completion to Stricker.
Ashton Glaser hit Woodland out near the right seam. Glaser found Stricker over the middle for a completion. Glaser broke out to his right and overthrew Jaleel Clark, who had broken off his route and was trying to get down field.
During 11-on-11 action, Franklin found Kendial Lawrence out along the right side for a nice gain. Zaviar Gooden broke up a pass attempt over the middle intended for Moe. Moe had the ball in his hands, but Gooden was right there to rake it out. Then, Franklin scrambled to his right with Gooden in hot pursuit. Kony Ealy batted Franklin's next pass down at the line of scrimmage. Then, Franklin completed a slant to Moe for big yardage up along the left hash.
Berkstresser pulled it down and took off around the left side. Darvin Ruise ran him out of bounds after a short gain. Berkstresser's pass attempt intended for Wesley Leftwich was badly underthrown and fell incomplete. Greg White took a hand-off around the left side for a nice gain. Berkstresser hit Clark on a slant for a nice gain.
Kortland Webb took a screen pass from Glaser and turned it up for a nice gain. Ian Simon broke up a pass over the middle intended for Kyle Peasel. Woodland took a quick hitch, eluded a couple of would-be tacklers, turned on the jets, and went the distance.