On Thursday morning, the Missouri Tigers held their second scrimmage of fall camp. The defense dominated the day, posting a 16-4 win over the offense. The defense got on top early and stayed there. Coming out from their own end, the first-team offense mishandled the center-QB exchange on the first play, and the defense recovered the football just inches away from the goal line to set the tone early and to get on the scoreboard from the outset.
"I think overall, we got in a lot of good work here, as we always do," said Coach Pinkel, following the dominating performance by his defense in the second scrimmage of fall camp. "I think we can learn from it. The defense dominated the scrimmage. We've got a lot of guys out on offense. We've got to get them back. I think we'll get most of them back. That'll help us."
"There's a sense of urgency in getting better as a team," Coach Pinkel continued. "And, certainly back-up players. We had a lot of guys that didn't scrimmage today. We had freshmen receivers with the number one offense at times. So I think we learn a lot from this, and that's the most important thing. And, the clock's ticking. So, Saturday when we wake up, it's fourteen days. So, we recognize that, and we've got to make sure we get better………………………………………….. It'll be nice just to get everyone back."
Coach Pinkel went on to talk about getting everyone back in there, and developing some continuity in the offense.
I counted fifteen players who sat out the scrimmage in red jerseys, five on defense and ten on offense. Coach Pinkel said that was the most players that he can remember missing a scrimmage.
James Franklin struggled early in the scrimmage, beginning with the fumbled snap on the first play. But, he recovered late in the scrimmage to put together a beautiful two-minute drill for a score. Coach Pinkel talked about his junior QB.
"It was a little bit like Kansas last year," said Coach Pinkel. "That's disappointing. So, we'll talk to James about that. He's capable of being a great football player. We just need more consistency from beginning to end. And we have to get that cleared up. That's his responsibility as the starting QB for Missouri to do that."
While I'd like to see Franklin have a great day every day, what I really took away from this scrimmage was that the top two defensive units are very, very good, and that's not a bad thing at all in mid-August.
The Tigers are loaded with multiple talented players at every position on the defense, but there are three defensive players who continue to stand out above the rest and who elevate the defense to another level when they're on the field. That is the trio of DT Sheldon Richardson, DE Kony Ealy, and CB E.J. Gaines. Those three players are significantly better than they were a year ago, almost immeasurably better. Other defensive players such as Michael Sam, Brad Madison, the linebacking corps, and the top safeties, Kenronte Walker, Braylon Webb, and Ian Simon, are playing very well. But, that trio of Richardson, Ealy, and Gaines just take it to another level.
It is here that I'll note that the offense had most of their success when those three were on the sidelines. Marcus Lucas is a very good receiver! He's a lot better than he was a year ago. But, when Gaines is out there, Lucas was a non-factor. As soon as Gaines left the field, Lucas immediately exploded with a series of big plays. And, Ealy and Richardson are all over the field making plays, mostly in the backfield. Ealy was in the backfield so much, I was sure that he was going to take a hand-off!
As you can probably see from the statistics, Dorial Green-Beckham had a pretty good scrimmage. If he were merely mortal, I'd say he had a great day! What he did was continue to play at a faster pace, the way he has been doing this week, and for the last four or five practices. His run-after catch was awesome! He'll keep getting better, and that's really exciting!
The kicking derby really heated up on Thursday. Trey Barrow outperformed Andrew Baggett, going a perfect 6-6 on FGs, including a 48-yarder. It looks like T.J. Moe is the number one holder on placements, and Jake Hurrell was doing most of the snapping, although Mitch Hall did some of the snapping.
After the scrimmage-opening mishandled snap, which Marvin Foster covered inside the 1-yard line, Corbin Berkstresser brought the second-team offense out and took over at his own 1-yard line. Marcus Murphy ran inside for maybe a yard. Murphy got it again for another yard. On third-and-eight, Berkstresser dropped back to pass. Immediately, the pocket began to collapse and Berkstresser took off up inside and picked up a first down.
Maty Mauk brought out the third-team offense. Tyler Hunt went over left tackle for a short gain. Russell Hansbrough danced his way up inside for about three yards. Mauk's pass intended for Joe Plevel along the left sideline was incomplete. Earnest Payton was there on the coverage.
Franklin took over at his own 30-yard line. He got it to Kendial Lawrence out along the right sideline. Lawrence made Ian Simon miss, and picked up the first down before Shane Ray and Xavier Smith brought him down. Lawrence ran left for little or no gain. Harold Brantley got penetration and arrived first, and Marvin Foster came in to clean it up. Franklin's pass intended for Gahn McGaffie down the left seam was batted away by Donovan Bonner. Franklin tried to get it to McGaffie out along the left sideline. Ian Simon stepped in front for the interception. Franklin took over at the 30-yard line. He got it out to Bud Sasser near the right sideline for a first down, but Eric Waters got flagged for holding. Facing second and eighteen, Franklin hooked up with McGaffie down the left seam for a first down near mid-field. That was a beautiful throw, over the linebackers and in front of the safeties. Franklin was under a rush from the outside and scrambled up inside for 4 yards.
Eric Laurent saw some action with the third-team offense. Miles Drummond ran it up inside for 9 yards. Keric Lickerman sacked Laurent. On third and seven, Laurent found Brandon Colbert for a first down. Laurent found Joe Plevel over in the left seam for a couple of yards. Markus Golden and Jared Parham were there to make the stop. Laurent's pass was off the receiver's fingertips and was deflected right into Matt Davis' waiting arms. Davis returned it for a TD. Later, Morgan Steward took a pitch running right. Steward was hit behind the line of scrimmage but spun off and fought his way up field for a gain of 8 yards after the initial contact. Laurent found Brandon Holifield out along the left side. Donavin Newsom got him out of bounds, but not before they moved the chains.
Berkstresser scrambled right and threw it away. Andrew Wilson was in pursuit. Berkstresser hit Dorial Green-Beckham right in stride, but the freshman dropped the pass. Berkstresser ducked an outside rush and took it up inside, then cut it up the right seam for a big gain before Sheldon Richardson ran him down from behind. Berkstresser found Marcus Lucas out near the left hash for about 5 yards. Wilson was there to make the stop. Lucas went high in the air in the right seam to catch a pass that was thrown slightly behind him. He picked up a couple of yards. Berkstresser found Jaleel Clark out along the left sideline. Braylon Webb was right there to make the stop, but not before they moved the chains.
Mauk got the ball to Holifield out along the left side. Holifield turned it up field for a nice gain across mid-field. Steward ran right for about 4 yards. Donavin Newsom and Michael Scherer combined to get him out of bounds. Mauk missed connection with Darius White. Earnest Payton had the coverage. Mauk eluded Derrion Thomas in the backfield and unloaded the ball out of bounds. Mauk found Darius White in the left seam for about 8 yards. John Gibson and Donavin Newsom were there to make the stop. Mauk got it to Green-Beckham in the left seam. Green-Beckham reached down to make the catch, then continued up field for a first down. Newsome made the stop. Coach Hill was talking to Green-Beckham afterwards, and he seemed to be pleased with what the youngster had done. Then, Mauk scrambled left and threw the ball away.
Lawrence ran straight ahead for a couple. Brad Madison burst through and sacked Franklin. Facing third and 18, Franklin found Bud Sasser near the left hash for about 14 yards. Lawrence took a pitch running right for about 24 yards before Matt White got him down. Lawrence picked up 7 yards right up the gut. Michael Scherer broke up Franklin's pass over the middle intended for Eric Waters. Madison came across and threw Murphy for a loss. Murphy took a pitch and ran left for about 8 yards. Darvin Ruise ran him down and made the stop.
Brayden Burnett was in the backfield again, and this time he got to Mauk. Kyle Peasel went up to make a nice reception near the left sideline for a first down. Mauk hit Russell Hansbrough in the left flat for about 7 yards. Hansbrough took a hand-off and ran off left tackle for about 30 yards. He made several people miss before Payton brought him down inside the 5-yard line. After Markus Golden stopped Steward for a gain of 2 yards, Mauk hit Holifield on the slant for a TD. Holifield had gotten inside position on John Gibson.
Hansbrough took a hand-off from Berkstresser and ran left. Sheldon Richardson stopped him for no gain. Wesley Leftwich leaped high to make a catch in the left seam for a short gain. Kony Ealy and Braylon Webb came across to throw Hansbrough for a loss.
Berkstresser hit Green-Beckham over the middle for a first down. Hansbrough ran left for no gain. Ealy got up from the bottom of that pile. A little later, Berkstresser got it to Green-Beckham out along the right sideline. Green-Beckham made a nice reception of a low throw, then ran up the right sideline for a first down inside the 5-yard line. Hansbrough ran it up inside for a TD.
Later, Berkstresser got it out to Green-Beckham along the right sideline. Green-Beckham made several people miss and ran it down to inside the 5-yard line. Morgan Steward ran straight ahead for the score.
Franklin found Marcus Lucas deep down the left sideline for a big gain. Lucas had gotten a step on David Johnson. Franklin hit Bud Sasser deep down the right sideline for another big gain. Sasser had a step on Simon. Franklin hit Lucas on a slant for a score. That two-minute drive was spectacular!
A little later, Franklin found Sasser down the right hash in another hurry-up series. He was quickly corralled by Donovan Bonner just shy of the first down marker. Franklin found Sasser in the right seam for a first down. Ruise, Johnson, and Cortland Browning were there to make the stop, but not before they moved the chains. Franklin hit Murphy out along the right sideline for about 8 yards. A few plays and a pass interference penalty later, Franklin hit Eric Waters in the left seam. Waters turned it up and got down to inside the 10-yard line. Field goal.
Tyler Davis 51 interception return
Brandon Holifield 8 pass from Maty Mauk
Russell Hansbrough 5 run
Morgan Steward 4 run
Marcus Lucas 11 pass from James Franklin
Tiger Comp. Att. Yds. TD Int.
James Franklin 16 25 177 1 1
Corbin Berkstresser 9 22 97 0 0
Maty Mauk 10 22 118 1 1
Eric Laurent 4 6 30 0 1
Brock Bondurant 1 2 8 0 0
TOTALS 40 77 430 2 3
Tiger Rec. Yds. TD
Dorial Green-Beckham 6 68 0
Gahn McGaffie 5 42 0
Bud Sasser 4 63 0
Marcus Lucas 4 41 1
Brandon Holifield 3 43 1
Darius White 3 36 0
Marcus Murphy 3 13 0
Kyle Peasel 2 29 0
Jaleel Clark 2 27 0
Eric Waters 1 16 0
Brandon Colbert 1 12 0
Kendial Lawrence 1 10 0
Miles Drummond 1 8 0
Russell Hansbrough 1 7 0
Tyler Hunt 1 7 0
Kerwin Stricker 1 5 0
Joe Plevel 1 3 0
TOTALS 40 430 2
Tiger FG-FGA Makes Misses
Andrew Baggett 3-7 38, 30, 28 48, 44, 34, 24
Trey Barrow 6-6 48, 44, 38, 34, 24, 30
Tiger Att. Yds. TD
Corbin Berkstresser 3 43 0
Russell Hansbrough 6 39 1
Kendial Lawrence 7 39 0
Morgan Steward 7 18 1
Marcus Murphy 7 13 0
Maty Mauk 4 9 0
James Franklin 1 5 0
Eric Laurent 1 4 0
Levi Copelin 2 4 0
Jared McGriff-Culver 1 3 0
Miles Drummond 3 2 0
Tyler Hunt 1 0 0
TOTALS 43 179 2
Tiger INTs Yds. TD
Tyler Davis 1 51 1
Ian Simon 1 0 0
Clarence Green 1 0 0
Tackles For Loss – Kony Ealy (2), Zaviar Gooden (1), Donovan Bonner
(1), Jimmy Burge (1), Derrion Thomas (1).
QB Sacks – Brad Madison (2), Clayton Echard (1), Brayden Burnett (1).
Passes Broken Up – Randy Ponder (2), Donovan Bonner (1), Andrew
Wilson (1), Michael Scherer (1), Kony Ealy (1).
Recovered Fumbles – Marvin Foster (1).
Blocked Kicks – Sheldon Richardson (1).
Tiger Punts-Yds. Avg. I-20
Trey Barrow 4-165 41.25 2
Christian Brinser 4-169 42.25 1