On Friday afternoon, the Missouri Tigers went through a light pre-scrimmage practice in helmets and shoulder pads. There was quite a bit of emphasis during 7-on-7 on the hurry-up two-minute situation, and the kicking game. Afterwards, Coach Pinkel talked about his team’s preparation for Saturday’s scrimmage.
“This was actually a real good practice today,” said Coach Pinkel. “We got a lot of things done that we wanted to get done. We wanted to work on the fundamentals of the two-minute offense and defense. And, we got a chance to get a lot of that done today. So, that was good. And, we got some work on the kicking game. We had a real physical practice yesterday. Now tomorrow, our goal is to have about fifty snaps for our ones, twos, and threes, and close to that for our fours. I’m excited to see how we do.”
I didn’t see any changes to the Depth Chart. Eric Waters joined Randy Ponder, Torey Boozer, Eric Laurent, and Kyle Peasel in wearing red jerseys, as they all watched practice from the sidelines. Shane Ray practiced today, but he’ll be held out tomorrow. The good news is that all of these injuries appear to be relatively minor and these players should all be back before too long. The biggest loss is Boozer, who is falling behind in his opportunity to develop. The others are veterans who will re-enter the competition soon.
There were quite a few visitors at practice on Friday, including several former Missouri players who are in town for Jeremy Maclin’s charitable events. In addition to Maclin, I saw Sean Weatherspoon, William Moore, Dominique Hamilton, Sheldon Richardson, Martin Rucker, Kip Edwards, and T.J. Moe, among others. Brad Smith and Aldon Smith are expected in tomorrow.
On the day’s final two-minute drive, Maty Mauk drove the team down to the 25-yard line to set up a 43-yard field goal attempt for Andrew Baggett. Jake Hurrell’s snap was just a little low, but Braylon Webb smoothly handled it, and set the ball perfectly. Baggett’s kick was right down the middle to win the day for the offense.
Earlier, Christian Brinser boomed a series of punts out of the end zone to beyond midfield, where several players took turns fielding punts, including Marcus Murphy, E.J. Gaines, Ian Simon, John Gibson, Russell Hansbrough, and Levi Copelin. Copelin and Trent Hosick were also among several players who did some holding for placements. Sean Culkin continues to work as a long-snapper.
During the 7-on-7 two-minute drill, Berkstresser rifled one right on target down the left hash. Then, he missed a couple of throws before he forced one into coverage near the left hash. He was trying to get it to Dorial Green-Beckham, but David Johnson stepped in front of the pass. He didn’t make the interception, although he had it in his hands.
Mauk completed a well-thrown ball to Jake Brents on an out and up route near the left sideline. Mauk really showed off his arm strength, as there was no one in between he and Brents, no one to have to throw the ball over. Mauk threw a strike to Bud Sasser who was sitting near the numbers along the right side. Mauk hit Sasser running down the right hash for a 20-yard reception.
During the two-minute drill, Mauk moved the ball well. He showed his elusiveness as he scrambled for a first down. Then, Mauk scrambled left and rifled a pass off the wrong foot to Sheldon Gerau for a first down near the left hash. That was a very athletic, albeit unorthodox, play. Mauk found Gerau again down along the left side. Another scramble moved the chains again, and Baggett and company ran out onto the field for a last-second winning field goal.
Earlier, Trent Hosick completed a well-thrown pass to Jimmie Hunt on and out route near the right sideline.
Eddie Printz hit Jaleel Clark on an out route at the right sideline.
Dutifully, Coach Pinkel was asked about the QB competition?
“There’s a lot of completion there,” said Coach Pinkel. “We’ll just see where it goes. The beauty of it is the players decide the (competition). We don’t………………………………………………. I’m very pleased with what I’ve been seeing.”
Saturday’s scrimmage punctuates the first half, and effectively begins the second half, of Spring Football. There are a lot of players who are playing better than ever, and there’s good competition at nearly every position on the field.
“It’s a real good time, now,” said Coach Pinkel. “It’s a time when we see on film players that are getting ready to play, and they’re putting themselves in position that they’re out there showing us that they’re very close to playing, or they’re ready to play. So, it’s always a good time of the year, when you get a number of guys that are showing those things.”
Coach Pinkel indicated that we’re likely to see some changes in the Depth Chart following the scrimmage.
“Players determine the depth,” explained Coach Pinkel. “We just evaluate them.”