On Tuesday afternoon, the Missouri Tigers resumed spring practice in full pads on Faurot Field. It was sunny, but cool, and everyone appeared to be ready to get back to work.
There are very few injuries to report. Red-shirt freshman LB Torey Boozer suffered a concussion prior to the break, and he’s still wearing a red pull-over, which limits him to the non-contact drills. Eric Laurent QB continues to wear a red jersey and he sat out all drills.
“We had a real good practice,” said Missouri Head Coach Gary Pinkel. “I thought overall, it was a real good practice. It was very competitive. The defense won the day. It was very competitive.”
Coming out of the first scrimmage of the spring, there were a few changes in the Depth Chart, most notably at linebacker and along the offensive line. Kentrell Brothers and Donavin Newsom each moved ahead of Darvin Ruise at WLB. Evan Boehm is the starting center, and he is flanked by Connor McGovern and Mitch Morse on the right side, and by Max Copeland and Justin Britt on the left side. Taylor Chappell is back in, and he is lining up behind Morse at right tackle. Anthony Gatti lined up behind Britt, an indication that Gatti is currently the number four offensive tackle, followed by Chris Freeman as the number five tackle.
Henry Josey returned from Spring Break and took another step up in the level of his play. Coach Pinkel pointed out that Josey got tackled during the scrimmage prior to the break for the first time in almost a year-and-a-half.
“Today, (Josey) looked better than he did all of (spring),” explained Coach Pinkel. “I think that has to do with confidence……………………………….. But he’s got that quick change of direction. It’s really neat to see that come around.”
Jake Hurrell handled the long-snapping for the number one punt unit. The three-man wedge consisted of Brayden Burnett, Matt Hoch, and Kony Ealy. Christian Brinser performed well with his punting, and Marcus Murphy, John Gibson, and Levi Copelin each fielded punts.
James Franklin’s pass was right on time and right on target as he hit Sean Culkin on a deep slant route. Franklin hit Jake Brents right in the hands, right in stride, on a deep out pattern down along the left sideline. Franklin hit Jaleel Clark in the hands, right in stride on a deep slant. Franklin hit L’Damian Washington right in stride on a slant. Franklin laid that one right on Washington’s hands.
Corbin Berkstresser’s pass was thrown behind Washington on the slant. Washington stopped, turned around, and reached back for the ball to make a nice reception. Berkstresser hit Darius White on a deep slant. White had to reach for it, but he quickly regained his stride after making the reception. Berkstresser’s pass to Culkin on an out route near the right sideline was thrown slightly behind him, but Culkin quickly made the adjustment and hauled it in before stepping out of bounds.
Maty Mauk’s pass out in the left flat to Culkin was thrown low and behind the tight end. Culkin stopped and left his feet, laying out parallel to the ground to make the reception. Mauk’s pass intended for Clark was low and wide, and fell incomplete.
“All three QBs scrimmaged pretty well,” explained Coach Pinkel, indicating that there’s no change at present in the way that the repetitions are being distributed. “The competition’s good. They’re battling. The competitiveness will pick up even more (this week).”
Coach Pinkel suggested that “we’ll see” if there’s a need to adjust the distribution of repetitions next week.
“I don’t know how it’s going to play out,” explained Coach Pinkel, talking about the QB competition. “I don’t know how the whole thing’s going to play out. I just know that it’s competitive, and I think we have three really good prospects.”
After he suggested the idea of a timely resolution to the competition for the starting job, he stopped short of putting a time limit on the QB competition. Then, Coach Pinkel went on to shed some light on his early view of how James Franklin is playing.
“Right now, he’s competing at a whole different level (than) since he’s been here,” explained Coach Pinkel, speaking of Franklin. “What I see from him is I see this competiveness and this desire to be a heck of a football player, and probably to prove some people wrong…………………………………………….. He’s practicing really well…………………………………………… He’s got a lot of ability.”
From what I’ve seen, Franklin is performing several levels above the other QBs.
The two true freshmen QBs are not getting as many reps as the top three QBs are getting.
“They’re good athletes,” said Coach Pinkel, talking about Trent Hosick and Eddie Printz. “They’re doing well. They’re two good prospects.”