On Friday afternoon, the Missouri Tigers put on the shoulder pads for the first time this spring, and practiced on Faurot Field for about an hour and forty-five minutes. Coach Pinkel said that Saturday's practice in full pads will be a longer practice.
I didn't see any newly injured players. George White was back in there today, and the injured list remained stable. Henry Josey, Marvin Foster, and Mark Hill wore street clothes. Brad Madison, Sheldon Richardson, Anthony Gatti, Connor McGovern, Bud Sasser, L'Damian Washington, and Dan Carpenter wore red jerseys and sat out all drills. Elvis Fisher, Kip Edwards, and Brandon Durant each wore a red pull-over, and participated in most drills. Fisher left practice early, right before the team went into the 11-on-11 segments. Justin Britt moved over to left tackle to take Fisher's spot, and Chris Freeman moved up at right tackle to work with the first unit.
"We've had really good practices," said Coach Pinkel. "You know, the energy level has been high. You know, we've got a lot of players out. But I think we're just working through that. Tomorrow's a big day. We'll be in full pads. It will be a very physical day of practice. We talked to the team about how we practice. It's real important to stay on your feet. We've got different drills. Some are tag. Some are live tag. Some are thud. There's very few tackle drills. It's important to be smart. We want to practice real physical, and with a high intensity level, but we want to stay up."
During 7-on-7s, James Franklin found Eric Waters out along the left sideline for a first down. Franklin zipped one in to Jimmie Hunt, who was sitting down in the left seam, for a first down. On a pass intended for Jaleel Clark, Will Ebner got his hand in and knocked the ball away. Franklin and Moe hooked up near the right sideline for a first down. Franklin drilled that one in between Zaviar Gooden and E.J. Gaines. Franklin completed a pass over the middle to Gahn McGaffie for a big gain. Gooden was right there. Franklin really stuck that one in there! It was a nice grab too. Franklin found Moe out along the left sideline for a short gain. Franklin dumped it off out in the left flat to Jared McGriff-Culver, who took it up the left sideline for a nice gain. Gaines jumped the slant to Marcus Lucas. He arrived with the football, which fell to the ground following a collision. Franklin picked up a first down to Eric Waters out along the left sideline. Wesley Leftwich did a nice job of coming back up the sideline to make a grab. Franklin and Lucas hooked up near the left sideline for a first down.
Corbin Berkstresser made a nice throw down the left hash for a big gain. Jaleel Clark made the catch in a crowd. Berkstresser got it out quickly in the right flat to Marcus Murphy, who took it up the sideline for a nice gain. Berkstresser got the ball out to Darius White near the left sideline. White makes a nice big target. Berkstresser went deep down the left sideline, but the ball was overthrown out of bounds. Berkstresser completed a slant to Clark, who beat Brennan for the inside track to the football. Clark took it in stride and turned it up for a big gain. Berkstresser found Murphy near the left sideline. Steeples and Darvin Ruise were there to make the stop. Then, Berkstresser's pass to Murphy was thrown high and out in front. Murphy jumped and reached out with one hand to make the grab, then barely broke stride as he turned it up field.
Clarence Green broke up an Ashton Glaser pass attempt, nearly coming up with the interception. Glaser completed a pass to Steve Drain over the middle for a short gain. Glaser's pass intended for Joe Plevel was thrown behind, and Plevel reached back and tipped it into the air. It fell incomplete, but tipping the ball into the air is a no-no. Glaser completed a pass to Clark in the right seam. Michael Brennan had the coverage, then he limped off, and got re-taped. Glaser found McGaffie near the right hash in between Daniel Easterly and Robert Steeples.
During the 1-on-1 pass-rush drills, George White used a spin move against Travis Ruth, who re-gripped and moved his feet for the win. Kony Ealy blew past Taylor Chappell. Derrion Thomas ran past Mike Boddie. Max Copeland picked up a win over George White. Derrion Thomas used an outside rush to get past Chris Freeman. George White bulled his way past Nick Demien. Steven Mack used a bull rush to get past Brad McNulty. Jack Meiners stone-walled Jimmy Burge. Shane Ray blew past Freeman.
Evan Boehm was in attendance at practice. He had been in Columbia to see his high school team compete in the Final Four at Mizzou Arena.
During 11-on-11 action, Franklin found Kendial Lawrence on a tunnel screen in the right seam for a big gainer. Then, Lawrence took a hand-off running left. Gooden made his journey a short one. Then, Michael Sam got into the backfield. Franklin pulled it down and took off, but the play was whistled dead. The staff doesn't let Franklin run with the football much during practice. Jared McGriff-Culver took an inside hand-off and turned it up for a big gain. Franklin hit Greg White in stride deep down the left sideline. White had gotten behind Kenronte Walker, and took in in for the score.
Berkstresser rolled right and threw the ball away. Berkstresser found Rolandis Woodland alone down along the left sideline. Easterly was in the neighborhood. Murphy took a swing pass and turned it up the left sideline for a nice gain. Berkstresser found McGaffie near the left seam for a first down.
Glaser pitched the ball to Tyler Hunt, who was brought down for little or no gain. Glaser underthrew Jordan Wade out in the right flat. Glaser hit Kyle Peasel out along the left side for a short gain.
The increased level of contact will begin to separate the football players. Some guys shine when the hitting goes live. Others disappear.