On Tuesday morning, the Missouri Tigers practiced for over two hours on grass in full pads. They'll be back at it again on Tuesday afternoon for the first of what will be a handful of two-a-day practices this fall.
"I thought overall, we had a good day," said Coach Pinkel following his team's morning practice. "I thought we worked hard and it was hot. It was good………………………………… It was all very competitive, and we'll get in and evaluate the film, and get better."
Coach Pinkel updated the injury report, which includes some new injuries. Brad Madison sat out practice with a ribcage injury. Coach Pinkel said that "he's fine". Max Copeland was absent from practice with an illness. Coach Pinkel said that they're hopeful of getting him back in there pretty soon. Travis Ruth was in street clothes. He's being evaluated by the medical staff, as is Taylor Chappell, who limped off with what appeared to be a knee sprain on Tuesday morning. Eric Waters limped off after falling on his surgically repaired knee. He shouldn't be out for long. Henry Josey, Justin Britt, and Lucas Vincent watched from the sidelines. Britt and Vincent ran with their position groups during conditioning drills. T.J. Moe and Russell Hansbrough each wore red pull-overs and sat out contact drills.
Punt returners are T.J. Moe, E.J. Gaines, and Marcus Murphy. Ian Simon, John Gibson, and Ka'Ra Stewart also have fielded punts in practice. Moe and Murphy are the top kick return guys for now. Jake Hurrell is moving up among the deep snappers. He looks like he'll handle that job. Madison does a good job of deep snapping, as well. Braylon Webb and Moe are handling the holds for the placements. There's good competition among the punters and the kickers, with Trey Barrow being in the thick of it for both jobs.
Evan Boehm worked at left guard with the first unit. He was backed up by Connor McGovern. Once Chappell went off with the trainers, Michael Bodddie moved up to work with the first unit at right tackle. He was backed up by Chris Freeman, who has returned to the team after a two day hiatus. Coach Pinkel said that it was a private matter, and that they're pleased to have Freeman back. Walk-on corner Kevie Defranc has left the team. There's another walk-on corner now wearing number 46.
With Madison sidelined, Kony Ealy moved up to the first team defense, and he was fairly dominant throughout practice. With Waters sidelined, Sean Culkin and Brandon Holifield each moved up to first and second team tight end.
During the 1-on-1 pass rush drills, Jack Meiners won a closely contested battle with Sheldon Richardson. Mitch Morse did a good job of moving his feet, and picked up a win over Jimmy Burge. Matt Hoch got his shoulder past Evan Boehm from the snap. Boehm tried to recover, but Hoch prevailed. Kony Ealy blew past Chris Freeman on the outside. Richardson knocked Meiners hands away and ran right past him. Marvin Foster picked up a win in a closely contested battle with Mitch Morse. Matt Hoch juked Evan Boehm and slipped past him to the inside. Hoch is very quick off the ball. Chris Freeman blocked Shane Ray. Ray appears to be hobbled and was a little slow getting up off of the ground. Brad McNulty gave up some ground but stayed square and stonewalled Foster. Harold Brantley just kind of threw Connor McGovern aside as he blew past him. Brantley is very quick and explosive, and appears to be very naturally strong, as well. Ealy ran right by Freeman. Michael Sam used a spin move to get past Taylor Chappell. Chappell had to be helped off of the field. Sam walked over to Chappell and patted him on the helmet. Nick Demien blocked Foster. McGovern won a closely contested battle with Brantley. Sam blew past Michael Boddie. Meiners stonewalled Jimmy Burge. Richardson won a closely contested battle with Mitch Morse. Hoch used a double move, including a spin, but Boehm kept his balance, and re-gripped to pick up the win. Boehm looked real good on that one. He didn't go for the fake, which had been leaving him off balance. Ealy used a rip move to get inside Freeman. Brayden Burnett ripped his way past Michael Boddie. Mitch Morse stonewalled Richardson.
The offense performed scout duty as the defense worked on defending the power running game. Coach Pinkel had said earlier that they would do this in preparation for playing in the SEC. That was a very physical segment, and overall, I thought that the defense was fairly dominant. It was during this drill that Morgan Steward gave us a glimpse of his considerable ability. Steward took a hand-off and started straight ahead. Then, he cut to his right and showed a burst into and through the secondary.
Steward continued to have a good day, as he appears to be a little more comfortable than he was earlier in camp. He's starting to demonstrate some of his considerable ability.
During the Tiger Drill, Jimmie Hunt ran through Daniel Easterly. Cortland Browning drove Bud Sasser backward. Ka'Ra Stewart separated Darius White from the football. Morgan Steward ran over and through David Johnson.
For the second straight day, I've seen Dorial Green-Beckham demonstrate remarkable strength. On Monday, Green-Beckham had taken a short pass and powered his way forward against a scrum of defenders. On Tuesday, it was during the Tiger Drill. Chaston Ward aggressively attacked Green-Beckham and tried to wrap him up with a vicious hit. But, Green-Beckham appeared unfazed, and barely flinched, as he continued forward as if he were passing through the turnstiles, and just ran over and through Ward.
During 11-on-11 action, Kendial Lawrence took a hand-off and started left. Kony Ealy came across and engulfed that entire play. Later, Ealy came through the line on a pass play and Lawrence tried to pick him up in the backfield. Ealy just ran over Lawrence, and got up in James Franklin's face, forcing Franklin to unload the ball out of bounds. A little later, Ealy came across the field and joined Zaviar Gooden, as they surrounded Morgan Steward, who had taken a hand-off and was trying to get around the right side.
Marcus Murphy took a James Franklin hand-off over the left side for a couple of yards before Braylon Webb made the stop. Franklin found Marcus Lucas on a screen pass out in the left seam. Lucas picked up a couple of yards before he was swarmed under. Kendial Lawrence picked up a yard running left. The first team defense is just looking really good! Franklin hit Lucas out along the left side for a first down. Murphy picked up about four yards running left. Webb was there to make the stop. Franklin stood in against a torrid rush and delivered the football intended for Sean Culkin on a slant, but it was broken up, as the defender got a hand on it and knocked it away from Culkin. Franklin and Gahn McGaffie hooked on for a first down over near the left sideline. Donovan Bonner was right there in coverage. Franklin tried to lead Jimmie Hunt away from the coverage, but Hunt couldn't get to it. Daniel Easterly had him closely covered. Lawrence got the edge and picked up about 15-20 yards. Franklin got it out to McGaffie in the right flat. McGaffie picked up a nice block from Jaleel Clark and took it for about 15-20 yards. Interestingly, Sheldon Richardson helped run McGaffie out of bounds. Franklin was under a rush and tucked it and picked up the first down. Franklin received a high five from Elvis Fisher for converting the third down. McGaffie went up over the middle for a nice leaping grab, and a first down. Ealy flushed Franklin out of the pocket, and forced him to unload the ball out of bounds. Ealy refuses to be blocked!
Corbin Berkstresser scrambled left and picked up a first down. Morgan Steward took a hand-off and ran right. Matt White came across unblocked and held Steward up until Darvin Ruise arrived to clean it up. Jared McGriff-Culver ran left and got the sideline for a nice gain. Marvin Foster submarined Greg White and dropped the sophomore TB for a loss. Berkstresser got the ball out quickly to Murphy, who worked his way up the left sideline for about six yards.
Tyler Hunt took a hand-off from Maty Mauk and ran up inside for a short gain. Wesley Leftwich went down and scooped Mauk's pass off of the ground for a short gain. Mauk faked a hand-off to Miles Drummond, then stood tall in the pocket and hit Brandon Holifield running down the right seam for about 15-20 yards. Mauk's pass was right on target, and Holified showed off his athleticism, as well. Steward ran left for about six yards. Tyler Hunt took a pitch a ran left foe a first down. Ka'Ra Stewart put a good hit on him as he knocked him out of bounds. Mauk put the ball on Holifield's back hip. Holifield turned at the hips and caught the football as he ran away from it. That play resulted in a first down, and demonstrated tremendous athleticism and flexibility by the freshman tight end! He also has very good hands! Mauk scrambled up inside, then turned it toward the sideline for a first down. Jordan Williams did a good job of taking his rusher on past the QB, which gave Mauk a big lane up inside. Drummond took a pitch around the left side for about three yards, where he was brought down by Harold Brantley and Derrion Thomas. Brantley is very impressive, as he roams from sideline to sideline, and is in on plays 15 yards down field. Steward took a pitch and ran left for about six yards. Mauk quickly hit Steward out in the right flat. Steward turned it up field, and with a head of steam, took on two tacklers near the goal line. It's pretty clear that the freshman tailback is getting into the swing of things.
It was an especially good day for the first team defense, which has been true for most of camp. Injuries are starting to mount, although most appear to be minor. Britt and Vincent appear to be close to returning to the field.
The competition is heating up, and things are beginning to sort themselves out among the competitors. Several true freshmen, as well as a number of other young players, are making bids to break into the playing rotation.