Fall Camp 2012 got underway for the Missouri Tigers on Thursday afternoon with a two-hour practice on the Kadlec Athletic Fields in helmets and shorts. Practice went well, with no new injuries noted. The Missouri coaching staff wore t-shirts with the oval tiger on the front, and an SEC logo on the back above the word RESPECT in large letters.
"It was a good practice," said Coach Pinkel, following his team's first fall practice. "You look at young players, and you see their practice habits and the things they have to learn to become good practice players. I thought our effort was good…………………………………………… But, a lot of good things, a lot of good work. We'll study the film (of practice), and get going, and have a good practice tomorrow."
There were a few players present who were wearing the red jersey of the non-participant, including Justin Britt, Henry Josey, and Lucas Vincent. Coach Pinkel referred to Britt's injury as a Jones fracture, and indicated that he's expected back in time for the first game.
The trio of E.J. Gaines, Marcus Murphy, and Ian Simon were alternating catching punts off the feet of Trey Barrow and Christian Brinser. Joe Plevel and Mitch Hall were handling the long snapping during the punt drill.
On the other side of the field, Moe and Braylon Webb were doing the holding on placements, as Andrew Baggett, Barrow, and Brad Clements worked on placekicking. Brad Madison and Jake Harrell were doing the long snapping for the placekicking drill.
During the abbreviated 7-on-7s, James Franklin hit Gahn McGaffie with a quick pass for a first down out along the right sideline. E.J. Gaines arrived with the football, and deflected Franklin's pass intended for Bud Sasser near the right sideline. Franklin found Marcus Lucas for a completion on a short cross.
Corbin Berkstresser's pass intended for Eric Drain down the right seam was knocked away by Darvin Ruise. Berkstresser's pass intended for Sean Culkin was a little wide, and Donovan Bonner was there to knock it away. Randy Ponder nearly intercepted Berkstresser's pass over the middle which was intended for Bud Sasser. Bekstresser completed a pass to Tyler Hunt in the right seam for a short gain.
Maty Mauk dropped back and surveyed the field, then he dropped it off to Morgan Steward out in the right flat. Jared Parham was the first one to get to him but not until Steward had picked up a nice gain. Mauk found Brandon Holifield out along the left side in front of John Gibson for a completion. Mauk's pass attempt intended for Levi Copelin was thrown slightly behind him, and Copelin was unable to come up with the reception. Brandon Durant was right there on the coverage. Mauk's pass attempt intended for Wesley Leftwich was thrown high and out in front of him, and Leftwich got a hand on it but was unable to pull it in. Kerwin Stricker found an opening, sitting down near the left hash, but Mauk's pass was thrown high and behind him and fell incomplete.
During limited 11-on-11 action, absent contact, Kendial Lawrence took a Franklin hand-off and ran right for a nice gain around the right side. Franklin looked right and started to throw, then pulled it down before reloading and getting it to Gahn McGaffie out along the right side for a nice gain. Franklin dropped back, hung in the pocket, and delivered a strike to Jimmie Hunt down along the left sideline for a first down. Franklin looked good on that one. Franklin hit Sasser right in the face mask, as Sasser sat down in the left seam, but Kip Edwards got a hand in there to break it up. Sasser should have attacked that ball for the reception. Nice play by Edwards.
Mauk found Copelin out along the sideline with a quick hitter. Mauk faked a hand-off to Miles Drummond, then ran over the right side for a nice gain. Mauk's pass intended for Sean Culkin was a little high, and fell incomplete. Mauk fumbled the snap, then picked it up and scrambled for a nice gain.
The primary emphasis of this practice appeared to be working on individual fundamentals. For the veterans, this was a light practice, a good chance to get in rhythm. For the newcomers, all of whom are currently clustered at the very back of the Depth Chart, this was a practice that was completed almost before they had a chance to get into rhythm. They'll be more acclimated tomorrow.
"We've had a great summer," explained Coach Pinkel. "Coach Ivey said this is the hardest working group that we've ever had since we've been here, and that's saying a lot because we've had a lot of great groups of workers. You know, it's a process. I'm a process guy. Tomorrow, we've got to wake up and do the right things to become a better football team."
Regarding first-year players, Coach Pinkel said that one of the things that the coaching staff will be looking at is which of the freshmen will be able to help Missouri win this year. He said that they'll be discussing that on a daily basis as they review the film of each practice.
"I'm really excited about the season," said Coach Pinkel. "Our players have worked so hard all summer long! They are really into it!"