On Saturday, the Missouri Tigers practiced in full pads on Faurot Field for over two-and-a-half hours. The pads they were a popping, and everyone seemed to be enjoying the contact, as well as the weather, which started out cool, but quickly warmed up to be very comfortable for the players and staff.
There were a number of visitors at practice on Saturday, including several visiting coaches, as well as some prospects. Former player, Jacquies Smith, was in attendance, as well.
"We had a real good practice," said Coach Pinkel. "We got in some good work. The kids are working hard, and there's a lot of enthusiasm."
"The most important thing today is the basketball team tonight, first and foremost," continued Coach Pinkel. "I'm going to go to the game. We're real proud of Coach Haith and the team. Hopefully, we'll get a victory!"
Elvis Fisher was absent from practice on Saturday, which Coach Pinkel said was due to a personal matter. In Fisher's absence, Taylor Chapell moved up onto the first team. Coach Pinkel said not to read anything into that, except that they want Justin Britt to get work at both right and left tackle, as well as get work for both of the second-string tackles.
There's one new injury to report. I touched on it on Friday, when Michael Brennan limped off. On Saturday, he was out, and wearing a red jersey. That meant that Kentrell Brothers moved up onto the second team, behind Andrew Wilson. There were no other changes to report, except that Kip Edwards shed his red pull-over midway through practice and went full go.
Coach Pinkel suggested that some of the injured player would get back in for drills following spring break, although they may not be able to scrimmage this spring.
During the special teams segment, Ian Simon joined the group of players who fielded punts.
Joe Plevel does a real good job on the long snaps. At 6'2" 210, he may not be ideal size for that job, but his snaps are as good as anyone's.
During a 9-on-9 short-yardage drill, the pads were popping. Marcus Murphy took an inside hand-off from James Franklin and ran left for a short gain. Will Ebner beat Jared McGriff-Culver's block and was the first to get a hand on Murphy near the sideline. Kendial Lawrence took a hand-off and skirted the left side for a short gain. Darvin Ruise and Kentrell Brothers were among the first to arrive to force Lawrence out of bounds. Tyler Hunt took an inside hand-off from Corbin Berkstresser. Derrion Thomas, Matt Hoch, and others were there to make the stop for no gain. Greg White took a hand-off from Ashton Glaser and started up inside. He was met for no gain by Kony Ealy, Lucas Vincent and others. Ruise came across and stopped Greg White for a loss.
During a 4-on-4 pass receiving drill, Franklin completed a pass to Marcus Lucas near the left sideline. Franklin's pass intended for Jimmie Hunt was intercepted. Franklin's pass hit Eric Waters right in the hands, but Will Ebner was there to lay the wood, and the ball fell incomplete. Franklin hooked up with Gahn McGaffie for a first down near the left sideline. Franklin hit Joe Plevel on a cross for a completion, but Tavon Bolden came in and stripped the ball away to force a fumble.
Berkstresser underthrew Joe Plevel down the right side.
Glaser found Wesley Leftwich on a slant for a nice gain. Glaser hit Kortland Webb underneath for a short gain. Glaser completed a pass to Sheldon Gerau down the left sideline. Matt White and Darvin Ruise were there. Glaser hit Leftwich on a deep cross. Leftwich outran Daniel Easterly to the end zone.
In some more 9-on-9 action, Franklin faked a hand-off and took off around the left side. The defense wasn't expecting that at all, and there was no one over there, as Franklin rambled down the left side for a big gain. McGriff-Culver took a hand-off and was met for no gain by Lucas Vincent, Jimmy Burge, and others. Vincent continues to impress. Kendial Lawrence worked his way up inside for a nice gain. Greg White was thrown for a loss by Donovan Bonner, George White, and others. Berkstresser kept it and started left. Bonner and Easterly strung it out and ran him out of bounds behind the line of scrimmage. Kony Ealy got into the backfield and dropped Lawrence for a loss. Braylon Webb ran McGriff-Culver out of bounds after a short gain. Lawrence took a hand-off from Franklin and got a nice block from the right side of the line. He cut it up in between Meiners and Britt, and picked up about 5 yards before Andrew Wilson got there.
During 7-on-7s, Franklin dropped it off in the right flat to Lawrence, who took it up the right sideline for about 5 yards before he was met by E.J. Gaines, and Zaviar Gooden. Franklin led Marcus Lucas back toward the line of scrimmage, where Lucas went down low to make the reception for a short gain. Franklin stuck one in to T.J. Moe for a first-down reception, in between Ebner and Webb. Franklin found Jimmie Hunt near the left hash for a 15-20 yard gain. Kenronte Walker laid the wood to Jaleel Clark, for a pass break-up.
Berkstresser completed a pass to Rolandis Woodland out along the right side. Darvin Ruise had the coverage. Berkstresser found Woodland out along the left side. Woodland fought his way forward for a couple of more yards. Berkstresser found Gahn McGaffie deep down the left sideline. Bonner had turned him loose, and Matt White was late getting over there. Berkstresser found Darius White in a crowd deep over the middle. White snatched that one away from a couple of defenders.
Clarence Green got a hand on Glaser's pass and knocked it down. Glaser completed a pass to Cameron Chancey. Earnest Payton was right there to make the stop. Glaser overthrew his receiver deep down the left side. Easterly had his hands on it, but there's a reason that he plays defense. Then, Marcus Murphy reached behind him to make a reception, then turned it up for a nice gain.
During the 1-on-1 pass-rush drills, Jack Meiners blocked Jimmy Burge for the win. Mitch Morse battled Lucas Vincent and came away with a hard-fought victory. George White beat Travis Ruth. Kony Ealy blew past Taylor Chappell. Michael Sam used a spin move to get past Justin Britt. Matt Hoch beat Meiners. Chappell was better, but Ealy still picked up the win. Ealy has gotten noticeably stronger, and with his speed and explosiveness, he's a handful. Chris Freeman pushed Derrion Thomas on past the QB. Nick Demien picked up a win over George White. Max Copeland blocked Matt Hoch. Hoch shows flashes, but he needs to work on using his hands. Brad McNulty picked up a win over Steven Mack. George White bulled his way past Nick Demien. Shane Ray blew past Stephen Carberry.
During 11-on-11 action, Lawrence took a hand-off from Franklin and started up inside. He was met by Vincent and Burge for no gain. Sam broke through and got in Franklin's face, but Franklin got the ball out to Eric Waters in the right seam for a first down. Lawrence took a pitch and started left. Ealy and Wilson were both out there to string it out for no gain. Franklin completed a pass to Jimmie Hunt. Kenronte Walker came up and laid the wood, but Hunt held on for the first down. Franklin got one out on the left side to Eric Waters, who broke a tackle or two, and picked up a first down. Later, Gooden got a hand on a Franklin pass and knocked it down. Franklin got the ball to Jimmie Hunt on a tunnel screen. Lucas Vincent came out from the inside to help run Hunt down. Franklin got the ball to Moe out in the right seam. Moe took it all the way back across to the right side before he was run out of bounds after a gain of about 40 yards.
Berkstresser handed the ball to Greg White, who picked up about 3 yards over the left side. Berkstresser hit McGaffie on a cross and picked up a first down. Nice quick throw, right on time. Murphy took a hand-off and had nowhere to go, as Bonner, White, and Ray stuffed Murphy at the line of scrimmage. Berkstresser faked it to Murphy and completed a pass to Jaleel Clark on the bubble screen over on the right side. Stricker didn't get the block, and the defense held Clark for little or no gain. Later, Berkstresser kept it on the option, and picked up a nice gain.
Glaser's pass missed its target and fell incomplete. Then Glaser ran a keeper, and picked up 6 yards. Kerwin Stricker hauled in a screen pass and turned it up for a first down. Glaser picked up a couple on a keeper. After a completion from Glaser to Steve Drain, David Johnson came up and popped Drain for no gain. Glaser came back to Drain, who picked up about 5 yards, before Johnson and Tavon Bolden made the stop. Glaser completed a pass along the left sideline to Darius White, who made the catch in a crowd and got both feet down in bounds. White was working against Kevie DeFranc, which is a physical mismatch. White is a big target, and my early impression is that he's a pretty high-level possession-type receiver. Not really a speed burner or deep threat, but he definitely has the ability to be a very good possession receiver. He's shown the ability to pretty consistently catch the ball in traffic. He has good hands and uses his body well to shield defenders away from the football.