On Monday, the Missouri Tigers returned to the practice field in preparation for the Cotton Bowl.
“It’s just fun to be playing in a bowl game,” said Coach Pinkel. “One of our goals is to win championships, and certainly to win a bowl championship. That’s just the nature of our business. To be able to achieve that goal is certainly a plus.”
According to Missouri head Coach Gary Pinkel, Missouri’s bowl practice schedule includes three days of what Coach Pinkel calls AB practices, which includes extra work for the young Tigers, many of whom have been working on the scout team throughout the season, followed by a typical bye week practice schedule, which will allow the Tigers to double up in preparation for Oklahoma State, like they would coming off of a bye week. “It’s good to get back out here and get going again,” said Coach Pinkel. “You get out of it kind of what you want to get out of it. We choose to, you know, real early, the first few practices, to focus on our opponent. But also, with our younger players, as you can see right now, all of our younger players are out here putting in extra work. They’re out here working on fundamentals.”
During the AB practices, there’s a little more emphasis on fundamentals, and getting more reps for the younger players. In addition, nearly all of the younger players, and some of the veterans, stayed after practice to do individual fundamental work.
“Everything we’re working on out here is for (Oklahoma State),” explained Coach Pinkel. And that’s mixed in with what we’re doing with these (AB) practices…………………………………………. The way we organize it, we think we get a lot out of it.”
It was evident that the players were enthused to return to the practice field. Veteran players encouraged the younger players as they competed in the various individual drills. A few veteran players who will be returning next year stood out in terms of already accepting the mantle of leadership, including of course, Evan Boehm and Henry Josey, but also Jimmie Hunt and Markus Golden.
“I thought overall, the players were excited to get back out here and get going again,” said Missouri Offensive Coordinator Josh Henson, who pointed out that younger players and veteran players were all staying after practice to get in more work. “To me, that’s a very positive sign. I think they’re going to be ready to go play this next football game.”
It was great to get a look again at Eddie Printz, as he quickly read the defense and found Sean Culkin down the right hash. In some one-on-one competition, Josh Augusta was nearly unblockable, and Charles Harris blew by the offensive tackles with the speed to rival Shane Ray and power comparable to Markus Golden or Kony Ealy. Speaking of Ealy, who may very well be preparing to play his final game at Missouri, he and OT Justin Britt put on quite a display when they went head-to-head in the one-on-one pass-rush drill.
“(Justin Britt) will no doubt get drafted,” said Coach Henson.
Coach Henson talked about some of what he saw from some of the younger players on Monday.
“I thought that every position today, for the young guys, looked good,” said Coach Henson. “You know, I mean, it looked like maybe with some more work, it’ll have a shot to be successful. I think we’ve got some good, you talent. They’re not anywhere (near) where they need to be yet, but I think when you look at it, you see a lot of potential.”