On Tuesday, following a 12-day break from practice in conjunction with Spring Break, Missouri resumed Spring Football with a two-and-a-half hour practice in full pads. April showers in the central Missouri area forced the team to practice indoors. Enthusiasm ran high, as players were ready to return to spring practice. For the second straight practice, the offense won the daily competition. Afterwards, Missouri Head Coach Gary Pinkel talked about getting back at it, and what he thought about the first day back at practice.
"I think overall, for our first day back, I'm really pleased," said Coach Pinkel. "A lot of coaches do not like to break up their spring ball. They don't like doing it. A lot of times, they feel that when they get them back after the break, they just don't get the practices and the effort that they would expect if they wouldn't have had the break. But I thought we had as high energy practice today as we've had since we've been here. I thought it was really good. It was very, very competitive at the end. It was nice to see that. We're making progress. And, we've got a long, long way to go."
Coach Pinkel confirmed that Kentrell Brothers is expected to be back in time for fall camp. He said that Brothers had five real good practices and a real good scrimmage before the break. He said that they wanted to make sure that they'll have Brothers back at one-hundred percent for this fall. He also said that Ernest Payton is getting closer to a full return.
"There's a lot of good things happening," explained Coach Pinkel, talking about how Spring Football is going. "There's a lot of young players competing. I think that's important. Everything is based on competition here. I'm pleased with that, thus far. But yet, we've got a long, long way to go. The whole key is for a player, as we go through spring football, is how many more guys at the end of spring ball can you say at each position, is ready now to play and compete for a championship in the SEC. That's the ultimate question. You've got guys who, oh yeah, he's getting ready. He's getting himself in position to play. And there's other guys that we're going to say that guess what? With a great August camp, he's got a chance to push himself in. And, everybody's continuing to try to get better. That's what we're really looking for at every position. And, making sure that we've got guys in the right spots on the field. That's another thing that's important."
Coach Pinkel said that Maty Mauk has practiced well, and the he "scrimmaged really well" before the break. He said that Mauk is very confident. "He can compete and play," said Coach Pinkel, speaking of Mauk. "We'll see where the rest of the competition goes. It will be interesting to see how that sorts itself out."
I asked Coach Pinkel how J'Mon Moore is doing?
"He's a very talented young player," replied Coach Pinkel, speaking of Moore. "He had a good practice today. He just needs reps. There's only one way to get better. And that's to practice better. There's no magic way to become a better football player. You come out here and you've got to improve by your practice. That's the only way that you become a better player."
"We're working hard," explained Coach Pinkel. "That's the most important thing. We're working hard."