On Friday morning, the Missouri Tigers practiced in full pads for over two hours on Faurot Field. It was another physical and competitive practice, with the defense once again coming out on top at the end.
“I think overall, practice was very competitive,” said Coach Pinkel. “You know, the defense has been winning more than the offense. But it keeps going down to one or two plays at the very end, and the defense has been making the plays. Every single (day), either team has had a chance to win. I think overall, we’re doing okay. We’ll just keep getting better. Tomorrow, obviously, is a very important scrimmage for us. Our goal is to get them 35 plays tomorrow for the ones, twos, and threes. And a lot of situational things, as we always do.”
Matt Hoch, John Gibson (slight hamstring), Morgan Steward (hip), Gavin Otte, and Eric Laurent remained inactive, while Donavin Newsom practiced, but was limited to non-contact drills. It's unlikely that any of these will scrimmage on Saturday.
Brandon Lee (leg bruise) was also limited to non-contact drills, but he is expected to scrimmage on Saturday.
In Gibson’s absence, Kenya Dennis moved up to first-team corner.
Again, Coach Pinkel said that the staff will “probably narrow it down a little bit” after Saturday regarding which of the freshmen will play this year.
“We’ll narrow it down a little bit,” explained Coach Pinkel. “We’ll make some final decisions (after next Thursday). We’ve already kind of circled some guys that we think are real close (to playing this year). There’s always 3-5, roughly. I mean, right in that area. Also, any further injuries can change things also.”
If indeed, there’s only going to be 3-5 freshmen who will play this year, then there is some narrowing down that has to take place.
Coach Pinkel said that he’s looking for consistency for the offense.
“I just want to see consistency (on offense),” said Coach Pinkel. “I want to see that we’re better, and I want to see consistency. You know, there’s a lot of experience on that offensive football team. A bunch of those guys played a year ago, a significant amount of time. So, we can be a real good offensive team. You know, offense is always a little bit more difficult with the continuity, because the breakdowns are much more significant on offense than they are on defense, in terms of just executing a simple play. So, that’s a little bit normal. And we’ve got to work hard and get better.”
“(Duron Singleton) is doing really, really well,” said Coach Pinkel. “We had him play a little bit on the back end (early in camp), but we have him playing nickel right now. He’s really been doing well. He’s a very physical player. He’s a very good athlete. That position is not safety and it’s not corner. We get them from those two position groups, so there’s some teaching (that takes place). It’s between a safety and a linebacker, really, but you’ve got to cover people. So in our nickel defense, that’s where he’s playing. And, he’s doing a real good job.”
“Darius White has had a real good camp,” said Coach Pinkel. “We’re expecting really good things from him.”
Coach Pinkel also said that the competition for the back-up job at QB continues.
As Coach Pinkel would say, “the god news” is that they’re going to get all of their injured players back, probably in time for the season. In the meantime, there are opportunities for other players to step up and show what they can do, and to get the practice reps.
The two-deep is starting to come in to focus, and it will become even more clarified following this weekend.