On Saturday, the Missouri Tigers scrimmage for more than two hours on Faurot Field. Everyone got in a lot of good work, and the Tigers came out of the mid-spring scrimmage without major injury.
The defense won the day by a score of 24-10.
There was a lot of competition at virtually every position all over the field, but there’s no higher profile competition this spring than the three-way competition for Missouri’s starting QB. Saturday was a big day for all three QBs, as they each played a significant number of snaps with each of the first, second, and third units.
We’re trying to find the starting quarterback,” explained Missouri Assistant Coach Andy Hill. “We’re trying to separate them…………………………………. I’ve been pleased with all three guys. I think all three QBs are better than they were a year ago. There’s been positive with all three guys. We’re just looking for the guy who can move the football, move the team consistently.”
“We’ve been more sharp in practice than we were today,” continued Coach Hill. “I thought we did some good things today. Our offense has got to be to stay in the pocket and throw it, if it’s not there get out of the pocket and throw the football away. Just don’t take negative plays. We were not as sharp doing that today, but that’s good for us to be able to go back and learn from it.”
What I saw on Saturday was that James Franklin was the best QB on the field. He moved the offense well, and made few mistakes. It wasn’t his best day, but in my opinion, he won the competition on Saturday. His first and last drives of the day resulted in touchdowns.
Corbin Berkstresser had a bad day, really bad. He didn’t move the football, and most of his throws were off target.
Maty Mauk really helped himself. Saturday was the best that I’ve seen from Mauk, and in my mind, he narrowed the gap between himself and James Franklin. Mauk demonstrated big-play ability, especially outside of the pocket and on the scramble. Mauk still made too many mistakes, but he continued a recent trend for him of cutting down on his mistakes. He moved the football, and when he didn’t turn it over, he usually put it in the end zone. Mauk has improved significantly this spring, especially this week, since he returned from break. He’s making fewer mistakes, resulting in fewer negative plays.
Based on what I saw on Saturday, I think there will be movement within the Depth Chart following this scrimmage.
As the scrimmage got underway, Corbin Berkstresser brought the first-team offense out from their own 2-yard line against the second-team defense. A pair of red-shirt freshmen who lined up with the second-team defense had very productive days, as Michael Scherer and John Gibson each continued to impress with their play this spring. Scherer ended up with a pair of interceptions, one of which was originally tipped into the air by Gibson, who finished the day with 2 more pass-break-ups.
Berkstresser’s pass attempt intended for Marcus Lucas on a slant was broken up by Xavier Smith. Henry Josey took an inside hand-off, made a couple of guys miss, and raced up the right side for a first down and more before he was run out of bounds.
Josey would later say, "It felt good! I've been waiting to get back out here and do something. So, I finally get to do it, and it feels really good."
Maty Mauk brought the number two offense out from the goal line against the number one defense. Mauk faked a hand-off, then ran right, with Michael Sam in close pursuit. Mauk stayed alive long enough to move the chains with a completion up along the right sideline. Sam continued to have a big day, as he pressured QBs all day. He wasn’t the only one, but he was probably the most productive, as he finished with 1.5 sacks, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery. Marcus Murphy took a hand-off and picked up 5 yards. Mauk dropped back and hit Jimmie Hunt near the right sideline. Hunt made a couple of people miss, and picked up an additional 10-15 yards. Mauk move around in the pocket and tried to get it to L’Damian Washington on a cross. Gibson tipped the ball in the air, and Scherer came up with the interception.
Mauk began another drive from the 25-yard line, this time with the first-team offense against the second-team defense. Murphy took an inside hand-off and picked up about 7 yards over the right side. Another hand-off to Murphy was stuffed for a short loss. Scherer came across to lead the charge. Mauk kept it and ran around the left side for about 20 yards before Cortland Browning and Ian Simon ran him out of bounds. Mauk found Russell Hansbrough out in the right flat, where the sophomore TB went to work. Hansbrough made multiple defenders miss, utilizing his patented spin move effectively, as he picked up a first down and then some. Really nice run-after-catch! Mauk got it to Washington on a drag route. Washington fought hard to get about 5 yards. Hansbrough took an inside hand-off and managed to get a first down, despite the absence of a hole through which to run. Shane Ray burst through and forced Mauk to unload the ball out of bounds. Ray came through again, but Mauk dodged him and took off. Justin Britt peeled back to take Ray out of the pursuit, as Mauk made it up the sideline to just short of the first down marker.
James Franklin came out of his own end with the number two offense against the number one defense. He quickly found Dorial Green-Beckham along the left side for a first down. Josey took a hand-off and picked up about 5 yards. Franklin hit Levi Coplein in the left seam for a short gain. Greg White took an inside hand-off and picked up the first down. Franklin got it out quickly to Green-Beckham near the left sideline. He picked up a block from Copelin, and gained about 6 yards before he was run out of bounds. Sam chased Franklin out to the right, but Franklin unloaded the football out of bounds. E.J. Gaines broke up Franklin’s pass attempt intended for Washington along the right sideline. Josey picked up the first down on a delayed draw. Greg White took a hand-off over the left side and made the left pylon for a 27-yard TD run.
Berkstresser took over at the 25-yard line. His first pass hit Donavin Newsom right in the hands, although the red-shirt freshman LB didn’t hold on. Most of Berkstresser’s passes were off-target. He easily could have thrown at least 3 interceptions on the day.
Franklin brought the number one offense out from the 25-yard line against the number one defense. Franklin’s pass attempt intended for Jimmie Hunt on a slant was thrown behind him. Hunt reached back and tipped it dangerously into the air, before it fell incomplete. This time, Franklin’s pass to Hunt was on the money, out along the left sideline. Gibson was there to make the stop. Franklin got it to Green-Beckham, who broke a tackle and picked up the first down. Andrew Wilson, and Donovan Bonner were there to stuff Josey for no gain.
Berkstresser brought out the second-team offense, and handed it to Murphy who picked up about 25 yards. Then, Berkstresser found Green-Beckham out near the left hash. The sophomore receiver made the first guy miss, and picked up about 5 yards. Chris Freeman was getting some second-team reps. David Johnson broke up Berkstresser’s pass intended for Marcus Lucas out along the left sideline.
Mauk came in with the third-team offense. He handed it to Greg White, who ran it up inside for a first down.
David Johnson appeared to be in good position to intercept Berkstresser, but Green-Beckham won the battle for inside position and made the catch, shielding Johnson away from the ball. As the pocket collapsed in Berkstresser’s face, Michael Sam knocked the ball out of his hand and came up with the loose football.
Mauk scrambled out to the left for a first down and more. Mauk moved the chains again, this time with a completion to Marcus Lucas, who was sitting down near the left hash. Mauk’s pass intended for Lucas near the pylon was under-thrown and fell incomplete. On third down and goal, from the 13-yard line, Mauk scrambled to his right and made it to the pylon.
On the day, Mauk finished 11-19-1, for 140 yards and 1 TD passing, while he rushed for 81 yards on 8 attempts, almost all of which were scrambles.
Working with the second-team offense, Franklin missed connection on a pass attempt down the left seam intended for Jaleel Clark. Franklin stood tall in the pocket and tried to force it in over the middle to Sheldon Gerau. Michael Scherer made an excellent pass-drop and came up with his second interception of the day.
Franklin came back with a beautiful throw to Green-Beckham for a 25-yard TD. Green-Beckham had gotten behind Xavier Smith down the left sideline.
Franklin finished 13-22-1, for 115 yards and 1 TD. Green-Beckham led all receivers with 7 receptions for 82 yards and 1 TD.
Berkstresser found Levi Copeland out along the right side for a short gain. Berkstresser’s pass intended for Jaleel Clark was on target, but Gibson was there to break it up. Berkstresser’s pass was thrown behind Sheldon Gerau. Scherer nearly had his third pick of the day, as Berkstresser stared down his receiver, and drew a crowd of defenders. Berkstresser stared down Jaleel Clark, and Gibson jumped in front to break it up. Gibson thought he should have had the interception. Then, Green-Beckham shielded Gibson away from the football and made the reception on a pass from Berkstresser.
Mauk scrambled over the left side for about 20-25 yards. Mauk looked down field, then dropped it off to Miles Drummond in the left flat. Drummond made Newsom miss, and then he worked his way up the sideline for a 30-yard catch and run.