On Monday morning, Missouri practiced in shells (helmets and shoulder pads) for less than two hours. It was a shortened practice, and the level of contact was reduced, in preparation for Tuesday’s first scrimmage.
“We’ve got a big scrimmage tomorrow,” said Coach Pinkel, following Monday’s practice. “We went out in shells, and I thought we got really good work done today. Tomorrow’s going to be a really big day! You know, it’s a live scrimmage, and a lot of evaluation of personnel, like it is every day. But certainly, in the scrimmages, it’s kind of like a game day type atmosphere, so there’s a little bit more weight on that practice tomorrow.”
Monday was the 8th straight day of practice, on the way to 13 straight days of practice, including two scrimmages this week, and the nicks and bruises, as well as fatigue, are starting to mount. An increasing number of red jerseys and red pull-overs abound. But thus far, none of the injuries appear to be season-threatening.
Coach Pinkel said that Darius White, who has a sprained ankle, will scrimmage on Tuesday, but that all of the other injured players will not scrimmage on Tuesday. That list includes Matt Hoch, Braylon Webb, Cortland Browning, Morgan Steward, Connor McGovern, Donavin Newsom, Grant Jones, and Eric Laurent.
“The good news is that everybody’s going to be fine,” said Coach Pinkel. “That’s the good news. What bothers you is if you get an injury and somebody’s out for the season. The level that we play and how we practice, the intensity in what we do, we do everything we can to be safe in terms of how we practice, but you’re going to have guys get banged up. It’s going to happen. That’s the reality of it. The most important thing is all of these guys are going to get back, and that’s good.”
Coach Pinkel said that Marcus Murphy will likely scrimmage on Tuesday primarily at receiver. They’re going to take a good look at some of the young tailbacks.
“The most important thing is to get young players ready to play,” explained Coach Pinkel. “That’s the answer (to the injuries). Get back-up players ready to play! (Injuries) are inevitable.”
Coach Pinkel said that each of the top three units will get approximately 45 plays on Tuesday. He said that per their usual, players who are in close competition within the Depth Chart will split reps between a couple of units.
“Those discussions will take place this afternoon,” explained Coach Pinkel. “After our team meeting, we look at tomorrow’s scrimmage. And we go through every personnel area, and we decide who’s going to be where, and who’s going to get the number of reps they’re going to get, whether it be with the ones, the twos, or the threes. Sometimes we get competition between the two and the three, or the one and the two. You might divide the reps, where they would go one and two, go with the one half the time and with the two half the time. We do that at every position. And we’ll make those decisions, most of them this afternoon.”
Coach Pinkel said that he’ll talk to the players in their team meeting tonight to explain how they’re going to be evaluated.
“We don’t just look at their stats,” explained Coach Pinkel. “We look at a lot of different things when we evaluate. We look at what teams they’re going against. If you were going against the first and second defense the whole time, that’s a lot different than going against the third and fourth defense the whole time. So there’s a lot of scenarios that we look at. And, all of those are in our evaluation. And that’s what I’ll talk to our team about tonight………………………………………….. I think educating them and letting them know how we analyze is real important.”
“We look at performance,” said Coach Pinkel. “What it’s about right now is who are the players at every position that have the best chance of helping us win.”
Coach Pinkel said that the staff will also project what a younger player will be in a few weeks, if with the investment of a few weeks of practice, he can be better than an older player.
Red-shirt freshman safety Anthony Sherrils has a very bright future ahead of him. Many within the staff consider him to be a future star player. But for now, he’s still learning the position after moving from corner midway through the spring. He’s the fastest player on the team (4.31-second forty), but he has to learn his position well enough so that he doesn’t have to think, and he can just play at top speed.
“He’s a great athlete who is learning how to be a great football player,” explained Coach Pinkel, speaking of Sherrils. “There’s a big difference between being a great athlete on the field and being a great football player on the field. He has remarkable potential! He’s working hard daily (on fundamentals and on the mental aspect)…………………………………………… We’ve got a lot of talented young players. They’ve just got to become good football players.”