On Saturday, the Missouri Tigers scrimmaged for two hours on Faurot Field. The offense won the day over the defense by a score of 19-11.
“I think we had a real good practice,” said Coach Pinkel. “It was physical. I thought the guys were really working hard………………………………….. It was very spirited. It was very competitive, which is great! And, there’s just a lot of things that we’ve got to do to become a real good football team, which is typical this time of year.”
The first-team offense ran the football very effectively, and after Marcus Murphy (ankle) and Russell Hansbrough (shoulder) each got banged up, Morgan Steward continued to have a big day with 117 rushing yards and 3 TDs on 13 carries, and he closed out the scrimmage with an impressive 58-yard TD run. On that one, Steward cut through the middle of the line, and Shane Ray went for the strip. Steward spun away from Ray, and then turned on the jets, as he outran Aarion Penton to the right corner of the end zone. He also scored on runs of 4 yards and 18 yards.
“Morgan Steward, obviously, is a real talent,” said Coach Pinkel. “He’s just like the other guys……………………………………… He’s talented. He can run! I think he’s the fastest of the three (TBs). They all are 4.3 guys. But he’s really, really, really fast! He’s also the biggest one of the three. He’s about 205 pounds. The other two are about 190, right around there.”
“I’ve just been working,” explained Steward. “I think today, I took it up a little bit to another level. I finally got the opportunity out there to go and show it. And, when you get opportunities, you’ve got to take advantage of it.”
Maty Mauk played well, as he posted the top QB performance of the day. He was 14-23-0 (61%) for 164 yards and 1 TD, a very well thrown 19-yard strike to Darius White who went up in between John Gibson and Ian Simon in the right front corner of the end zone to high point the ball in traffic. Mauk also connected on a beautifully thrown 25-yard reception down the right sideline that Levi Copelin hauled in over the shoulder before he was run out of bounds near the 5-yard line.
Trent Hosick (8-13-0 (62%) for 61 passing yards) also played well, as he posted the next best QB performance on the day.
Corbin Berkstresser was 11-17-0 (65%) for 129 yards and 1 TD, a 31-yard toss down the left hash to Gavin Otte, who made the over-the-shoulder grab in the end zone.
Eddie Printz had a rough day, as he was picked off twice, and he finished the day 11-19-2 (58%) for 96 passing yards.
Mauk, Berkstresser, and Hosick were each stymied by their green jerseys, as each were touched down on their way to what appeared to be TD runs. On the day, Mauk had 6 carries for 20 yards. Berkstresser had 1 rushing attempt for 6 yards. And, Hosick rushed 3 times for 21 yards.
But overall, Coach Pinkel wasn’t as impressed with the passing game as he was with the running game.
“(Mauk) is doing pretty good,” said Coach Pinkel. “Our passing game, on the first drive, we had two balls dropped…………………………………. We’ve got to practice better! We’ve got to practice better. If you want to be a great throwing team, you’ve got to be able to make catches. As the scrimmage went on, there were some great throws, and there were some great catches. There were some big catches in the scrimmage, and making tough plays. And, you have to have play makers to do those kind of things. But if you want to become a really good passing team, you’ve got to be able to play catch! And, you can’t stop yourself with making a bad throw or dropping footballs. You can’t do it, because you’re just beating yourself. Again, there’s a lot of good things. But, there’s things we need to do to get better.”
In addition to the two TBs, other players who were injured during the scrimmage are Matt Hoch (ankle) and Donavin Newsom (shoulder). The severity of those injuries are, as yet, unknown.
Top receivers on the day included White (5 receptions, 65 yards, 1 TD) and Otte (5 receptions, 75 yards, 1 TD).
Coach Pinkel talked about some of the things that the Tigers need to do to get better.
“I mean, it’s everything! I could go on and on,” said Coach Pinkel. “Everybody’s got to get better! We’ve got to coach better. We’ve got more offense and defense that we’ve got to put in. The Depth Chart is going to probably be moving around a little bit. That’s good. There’s a lot of competition out there, which is good, too. I thought the enthusiasm was real good in the whole scrimmage.”