On Saturday, the Missouri Tigers scrimmaged indoors for over two hours. The top three QBs received most of the work, while rotating with the top three offensive units. The defense came away with a 29-9 victory per the Tigers’ usual scrimmage format.
“We got a lot of good work today,” said Coach Pinkel, following Saturday’s scrimmage. “There’s certainly a lot of good things that we’re doing, and there’s certainly always things that we can improve on.”
The defensive line led the way for the Missouri defense, with junior DT Matt Hoch and senior DE Michael Sam leading the defensive line. On the day, Hoch recorded 1.5 sacks, and forced a fumble, while Sam had a sack and two fumble recoveries.
Only the first-team offensive line was able to provide adequate time for the QBs to effectively throw the football, as not only Hoch and Sam, but also sophomore DE Shane Ray, junior DE Markus Golden, and RSF DT Harold Brantley spent much of their time in the back field while going up against the number two offense.
Several defensive players enjoyed success on this day that belonged to the defense. RSF LB Torey Boozer saw his first scrimmage action of the spring. Working mostly with the third-team defense, Boozer showed well, and in addition, he came up with a fumble recovery. Boozer plays fast, and he was flying around, even though at times, he found himself out of position.
The offensive star of the day was sophomore Dorial Green-Beckham. He’s been practicing better and better, and it showed in Saturday’s scrimmage, as Green-Beckham made play after play to finish with a team-leading 8 receptions for 135 yards and 1 TD.
“He’s a different guy,” said Coach Pinkel, talking about Green-Beckham’s development. “I mean, his maturity level, you can see it now. He catches the ball so well, and he can turn an average play into a big play. I think we’re starting to see really how good he can be. He can be a lot better than what we see right now. And, he will be. Once he finishes spring ball, and then you take all of the summer work, and August preparation, we’ve got 27-28 practices, we should see a considerably different guy than we saw a year ago. He’s working very, very hard. And obviously, he’s got tremendous big play potential!”
Missouri Offensive Coordinator Josh Henson talked about Green-Beckham.
“We’ve got to get him down the field, and put the ball up in the air, and let him go get it,” said Coach Henson. “He kind of makes it easy for the QB in that manner and fashion. He has progressed. He’s gotten lot better. He’s better assignment-wise. He’s better executing his routes. He’s doing a lot of things really well. So, we’ve just got to keep him going.”
James Franklin won the day in the QB competition, as he was 15-24-1 for 170 yards and 1 TD passing. His best play was the completion he threw to Green-Beckham on 4th and long for first-down yardage that Green-Beckham then turned into a touchdown. With pressure in his face, and right before he got walloped, Franklin dropped that ball in between two defenders near the left sideline for the first down. Green-Beckham spun away from an arm tackle and outraced the safety to the end zone for a 50-yard catch and run.
On the other side of the ledger, Franklin was flushed out of the pocket to his right, with Andrew Wilson hot on his trail. Running right, Franklin saw L’Damian Washington break off his route from near the right sideline and begin to run back across the field from right to left. David Johnson was a half-step behind Washington, as Franklin attempted to lead Washington away from the defender. Instead, his pass was behind the speedy receiver and Johnson made the play on the football.
Maty Mauk completed a pass on Saturday that I had not seen him complete before. He stood in the pocket, and he threw the ball over a defender and in front of a second defender to hit L’Damian Washington right in the face mask up along the right sideline. To me, that shows that Mauk is developing. Yet, Mauk had his struggles on Saturday. He finished 12-25-1 for 143 yards and 1 TD, but he very easily could have had a couple of more passes intercepted. It looked to me like Mauk was trying to remain in the pocket more than he had a week ago. He had just four scrambles for 25 yards. Late in the scrimmage, Mauk found senior LB Donovan Bonner wide open right over the middle, and he hit him right in the hands. I didn’t see a receiver in the area; only black shirts.
Corbin Berkstresser made some good throws, but also many errant ones. He finished the day 13-27-0 for 130 yards and 1 TD. He also was fortunate not to have thrown multiple interceptions, as several of his off-target throws hit defenders in the hands.
Coach Pinkel identified mistakes on the offensive side of the football, and talked about developing continuity within the offense. He cited penalties, and some errant snaps among some of the mistakes that prevented the offense from establishing continuity.
Coach Pinkel tied that theme into the QB competition.
“I think all of the QBs did some good things out there,” explained Coach Pinkel. “All of them made some good throws. But then a lot of it at that position is not beating yourself. It’s not talking sacks. It’s not throwing interceptions. It’s not having QB-center exchange problems, although a lot of the time, that’s not the QB’s fault. We’re doing a lot of that stuff in our offense, and it affects everybody. Certainly, I’m pleased with the QB’s effort, and we’ll see where it goes.”
Each of the two true freshmen QBs had a good scrimmage.
Working with the third and fourth-team offenses, Trent Hosick was as sharp and as crisp on Saturday as any of the Missouri QBs. He was decisive, and he got the ball to the right guy at the right time. And, he was accurate, as accurate as any of Mizzou’s QBs. He finished the day 8-9-0 for 78 yards and 1 TD.
Eddie Printz threw the ball well, and finished 5-7-0 for 37 yards and 1 TD.
Junior WR Jimmie Hunt sat out the scrimmage with an ankle sprain. TE Kyle Peasel is still sidelined with a leg injury.
Franklin brought the first-team offense out against the second-team defense. Franklin ran right, then pitched the football to Marcus Murphy for a first down. Markus Golden came across from the left end position to knock Murphy off of his feet. Franklin faked the hand-off, then hit Green-Beckham out along the left sideline for about 9 yards. A quick screen out along the left side to Bud Sasser netted about 5 yards and a first down. Franklin threw the ball a little late intended for Marcus Lucas over the middle. It was there for an instant, but the window closed quickly, and Franklin’s pass was knocked down. Franklin quickly got it to Green-Beckham out along the left side for about 9 yards. Matt Hoch and Brayden Burnett got in the back field and sacked Franklin.
Working against the first-team defense, Franklin got it to Lucas sitting down over the middle for about 6 yards. Franklin faked it to Russell Hansbrough, then got it to Sasser out along the left side. Behind blocks from Lucas and Wesley Leftwich, Sasser picked up about 8 yards for the first down.
Mauk brought out the second-team offense, and quickly threw the ball off-target in the direction of Eric Waters. Mauk’s pass was throw to the side of the defense, and he was fortunate that it wasn’t picked. Henry Josey took a hand-off up inside for about 4 yards. Mauk’s pass intended for Levi Copelin was knocked down by Matt White. Mauk misread the zone read, and handed it off to Murphy when he should have kept it. Murphy was thrown for a loss. Michael Sam and Darvin Ruise got into the back field for a sack.
Berkstresser scrambled right and tried to get it to Darius White out along the right sideline. Xavier Smith was right there, as the pass fell incomplete. Berkstresser tried to get it to Cameron Chancey deep down the left hash. Chancey failed to adjust to the ball in the air, and the pass fell incomplete.
Trent Hosick got it down the right sideline to Reid Swearingen for a first down. Hosick scrambled out to the right, then threw the ball up and out along the right sideline. The ball was tipped before it was completed for another first down. Myles Drummond took a hand-off and picked up a first down.
Eddie Printz got one out quickly along the left side to Jake Brents. Rolling to his left, Printz found Swearingen in the end zone down the left hash.
Afterwards, Coach Henson said that he felt that he should’ve gotten more carries for his top TBs. Murphy had 5 carries for 19 yards. Hansbrough had 4 carries for 29. Josey had 4 carries for 27 yards. Coach Henson explained that his play-calling was focused on the QB competition. He said that the offense would function better if they ran the ball more. He said that Missouri has a number of high-quality TBs, and that utilizing them more would make life easier for the offensive line.
The TBs did get in a lot of work at pass blocking and picking up the blitz. That’s an area where Morgan Steward is very effective. Steward also capped off his best week of practice at Missouri with 39 yards rushing on 5 carries.