On Tuesday afternoon, the Missouri Tigers resumed their practice schedule with a two-hour workout in full pads on the Kadlec Athletic Fields. The offense received a boost, as two starters, right tackle Justin Britt and slot receiver T.J. Moe, each returned to full participation.
On the defensive side, three starters, Matt Hoch, Will Ebner, and Kip Edwards, each wore red pull-overs and went through most drills. All three appear to be close to getting back to full participation. Braylon Webb wore a red jersey, but he seemed to be moving around fairly well, especially for just four days after surgery.
"We had a good practice today," said Coach Pinkel. "They had class today for the first time and coming to practice. So, I thought it was pretty good focus. Generally it takes a little while to get going, just because they're not used to getting up early and going to class all day and then coming out here to practice. So overall, I thought we got in some good work. We cut back the time a little bit to kind of get their legs back. When we wake up tomorrow, it's ten days to kick-off……………………………………… We're winding down."
With school underway, the Tigers ranks were swollen with another twenty or so walk-ons. And, freshmen Torey Boozer went through his first practice with the team.
With Britt back on the field, the Tigers had their starting offensive line at work together for the first time this fall, and the running game appeared to immediately benefit from it. Coach Pinkel said afterwards that developing continuity was one of his goals for the offensive line for this week, and during Thursday's scrimmage.
During 7-on-7s, James Franklin found Marcus Lucas out along the left sideline. Randy Ponder was there in coverage and forced Lucas out of bounds, but not before he moved the chains. Franklin hit L'Damian Washington in stride on a drag route. Washington had room to run.
Corbin Berkstresser hit Gahn McGaffie in stride on a slant. Will Ebner was just about a half step behind McGaffie, who looked to have a lot of room to run. Berkstresser found Rolandis Woodland in the back of the end zone.
During 1-on-1 pass rush drills, Michael Sam ripped his way past Justin Britt. Sheldon Richardson blew past Jack Meiners. Elvis Fisher picked up a win over Kony Ealy. Ealy had taken an outside track and Fisher had pushed him to the ground. Justin Britt took Michael Sam on past the QB. Meiners stayed in front of Richardson but Richardson pushed him back into the QB. Jimmy Burge won a closely contested battle over Mitch Morse. Max Copeland blocked Marvin Foster. Fisher picked up a protracted win over Ealy. Ealy got to the QB, but not within the allotted time. Evan Boehm stayed in front of Harold Brantley, but he gave up too much ground and Brantley got to the QB. Brad McNulty blocked Marvin Foster. Rickey Hatley beat Mitch Hall off the ball and ran past him on the outside. Hatley anticipated the snap so well that he was past Hall before the newcomer could get a hand on him. Hatley is getting bigger and better. Hall came back a few moments later and won the rematch. Jordan Williams won a protracted battle with Keric Lickerman. This one became rather heated and continued on past the whistle. Williams won the pre-whistle as well as the post-whistle battle.
During 11-on-11s, Kony Ealy batted Franklin's pass down at the line of scrimmage. Franklin dropped it off to Marcus Murphy out in the left flat. Ponder came up to make the stop but not before Murphy moved the chains. Ealy burst through and stopped Kendial Lawrence in the backfield. Kenronte Walker came up and put a big hit on Greg White, stopping him in his tracks near the first down marker. Franklin found Eric Waters in the center of the field for about 5 yards. Darvin Ruise and Michael Scherer were there to make the stop. Under pressure from Ealy, Franklin started to scramble to his right and then rifled it to Moe who was coming back up the right sideline for about 6 yards. Franklin tried to get it to Bud Sasser out near the left seam. Sasser was covered up and the ball was tipped into the air and fell incomplete. That was an ill-advised attempt. Franklin's pass attempt intended for Woodland in the back left corner of the end zone was incomplete. Payton was there on the coverage. Lawrence ran left for about 6 yards. Zaviar Gooden was there to get him out of bounds. That was very well blocked! Waters dropped Franklin's pass. Franklin quickly found Moe near the right sideline. Kenronte Walker got him out of bounds, but not before Moe picked up the first down.
Berkstresser had to cover a bad snap for a loss. McGaffie took a hand-off running left. He picked up blocks from Jared McGriff-Culver and Jaleel Clark. Earnest Payton was there to run him out of bounds, but not before McGaffie had picked up the first down and plenty more. Under a rush from Brantley, Berkstresser stepped up and ran up the left seam for a first down. Berkstresser found McGriff-Culver along the left sideline. Donovan Bonner came up and knocked McGriff-Culver backwards and out of bounds. That one was loud! McGaffie took a hand-off running right and found the end zone. That play was so well blocked that no one even got close to McGaffie until he was right at the goal line.
Mauk got it out quickly to Brandon Holifield in the left seam for about 6 yards. Clarnece Green was right there to make the stop. Mauk found Morgan Steward out in the left flat. Steward started up the sideline, then hit the brakes and let the pursuit run by him before he cut back inside of a block from Holifield and took it into the end zone. Steward demonstrated excellent vision as well as tremendous stop and go. He really set Holifield up to be able to make a block for him. Mauk showed his wheels as he scrambled for a first down near the left hash. Mauk found Miles Drummond near the right hash for a nice gain. Mauk faked a hand-off and ran up inside where he was met by Markus Golden after about a 4-yard gain. Golden started to level him, then pulled up and through his hands in the air as if to say, "I didn't hit him!" Greg White took a pitch from Mauk and was met near the left sideline by Daniel Easterly, Golden, and John Gibson after a short gain.
It wasn't just the offensive line doing a nice job of blocking on some of the running plays. The receivers were out there on the perimeter creating running lanes, as well.
More than one player told me after practice that they're ready to get started playing games. They're tired of hitting, or not hitting, each other.