On Friday morning, the Missouri Tigers returned to the practice field following their second scrimmage of fall camp. The two-plus hour workout in full pads on the Kadlec Athletic Fields was very spirited, and very competitive, as the offense accepted the challenge thrown down by the defense in Thursday's scrimmage.
"I thought it was good work today," said Coach Pinkel. "Overall, I thought it was good. I thought it was intense. I thought there was a lot of enthusiasm. The offense had taken a little bit of a beating, and so they came out and competed hard today and I thought the defense did too."
After a very good showing in Thursday's scrimmage, freshman TB Russell Hansbrough lined up on Friday morning as the #3 overall TB, behind Kendial Lawrence and Marcus Murphy. Hansbrough's play was perhaps the highlight of the day, as he took advantage of the opportunity afforded by seeing considerable action with the first-team offense.
Late in practice during 11-on-11 action, Hansbrough put together several electrifying plays, as he ran outside and inside for scores, and he took a little flair pass out in the flat up the sideline for a score. He played fast, and quickly read his blocks, in addition to showing big-time explosive speed and elusiveness, as well as the strength to shed tackles.
"He's moving up a little bit," said Coach Pinkel, talking about the freshman TB. "He obviously has some quickness."
Another freshman, WR Dorial Green-Beckham, put together another good day of practice.
"These last three or four practices, he's really stepping up a little bit," said Coach Pinkel, talking about Green-Beckham. "He's doing less thinking, and he's just doing more reacting as an athlete. He seems to be making more and more plays every day."
During the 9-on-9 running game work, Kendial Lawrence got a good block from Mitch Morse and picked up a couple of yards before Donovan Bonner met him in the hole. Hansbrough cut it up inside for a short gain. Once again, it was Bonner in the hole to make the stop. Even with as well as Will Ebner has been playing, there's little or no drop-off with Bonner in there. Nick Demien pulled from his left guard spot and led Hansbrough over the left side for a nice gain. James Franklin faked a hand-off and ran around the left side. Matt White and Sheldon Richardson chased him down the left sideline.
During the 1-on-1 pass rush drills, Evan Boehm blocked Marvin Foster. Kony Ealy used a spin move to beat Anthony Gatti. Michael Sam went low and bull-rushed his way to the QB. He never got around Jack Meiners, but Meiners gave up too much ground, as Sam reached out from his knees to tag the QB. Brad McNulty blocked Harold Brantley. Nick Demien blocked Marvin Foster. Kony Ealy blew past Connor McGovern and got to the QB in 2.45 seconds. Brantley evened the score by powering his way past McNulty. Foster won a closely contested battle with Demien. Shane Ray used an outside-to-inside double move to pick up a sack.
During 7-on-7s, Franklin found Bud Sasser down the left sideline for about 15-20 yards. Zaviar Gooden was right there in coverage, but Franklin's throw was right on the money in a small window. Franklin found Dorial Green-Beckham in the right seam for a first down.
During 11-on-11s, Franklin tried to get it to Marcus Lucas down the right sideline. E.J. Gaines was in his pocket, as the pass fell incomplete. Franklin completed a pass to Jaleel Clark along the left sideline for about 7 yards. Xavier Smith was there to make the stop. Franklin dropped it off to Marcus Murphy out in the left flat. He took it up field for a first down, where he was met by Kenronte Walker and others. Zaviar Gooden sniffed out a draw play to Lawrence, but it took him 5 yards and a tug on the facemask to get Lawrence down. Franklin got it to McGaffie out in the left seam. McGaffie had Clark in front of him and he took it up for about 15-20 yards. Franklin faked a hand-off and scrambled right. He got it to Lucas near the first down marker along the right sideline. Clark dropped a TD pass. Franklin faked it to Murphy then hit McGaffie just across the goal line. That was a nice throw and catch. Franklin found McGaffie in the left front corner of the end zone. Andrew Wilson and Kenronte Walker were both right there. Those last two TD passes to McGaffie were perfectly thrown. Franklin started left and pitched it back to Hansbrough. Ealy put a hit on the freshman out near the sideline. Lawrence started left and was met in the backfield by Donovan Bonner.
Berkstresser pitched it to Hansbrough running left for no gain. Berkstresser scrambled right and picked up a first down along the sideline. Berkstresser scrambled up inside for a short gain. Berkstresser dropped it off to Hansbrough in the left flat. Hansbrough got blocks from Dorial Green-Beckham and Nick Demien and he took it up the left sideline for a TD. Berkstresser did a better job with the pitch play and that allowed Hansbrough to pick up 3 yards before Shane Ray made the stop. Berkstresser hit Jared McGriff-Culver near the left sideline for a nice gain. Berkstresser faked it to McGriff-Culver and ran it up inside behind a block from Demien for a short gain. Berkstresser hit Levi Copelin in the hands, but the freshman didn't secure the football. He had room to run too. Behind a lead block by Tyler Hunt, Hansbrough ran straight ahead for a score.
Mauk scrambled away from a rush for a short gain. Mauk faked a hand-off, then ran inside for a nice gain. On third and goal from the 6-yard line, Mauk dropped back to pass, then scrambled up inside to near the goal line. Markus Golden was there to make the stop, but he pulled up at the end to avoid hitting the QB, which allowed Mauk to cross the goal line. Later, Mauk had to retreat to cover an errant snap.
During the 11-on-11s, the enthusiasm and the competitive spirit shown by the players was at a high for this fall camp. There was even a pretty decent scuffle that broke out along the line of scrimmage between offensive and defensive linemen. I overheard one of the receivers say to one of the defensive backs as they grabbed each other on the periphery, "There's a bunch of 300-pounders in there". Order was restored and practice continued like nothing had happened.