On Monday afternoon, the Missouri Tigers resumed fall camp with a two-and-a-half hour practice in full pads on the Kadlec Athletic Fields. It was hot and humid, and the players weren’t used to the heat. The defense came out on top, and won back the black jerseys for Tuesday’s practice.
“I thought it was an okay practice,” said Coach Pinkel. “It was the first time we were in the heat all year, and I thought it affected our team a little bit. We’re going to be on the field turf tomorrow in the same heat. It’s probably going to be a little bit warmer. And Wednesday, we’ll be on the grass. And Thursday, for our final scrimmage, we’ll be back on the field turf. On the field turf, it goes up about 15-20 degrees. So, I’m glad we’re getting the heat. We’ve just got to get more mentally tough, to work through it.”
The injury report showed some improvement, although Jimmie Hunt came up with a new hamstring injury. Donavin Newsom was back at it full go, and he worked with the number one defense at the SLB. Matt Hoch and Brandon Lee practiced, but were limited to non-contact drills. John Gibson (hamstring), Morgan Steward (hip), Gavin Otte (ankle), and Eric Laurent (finger) all sat out.
Following Saturday’s scrimmage, Nate Crawford moved to the number two left tackle position.
“He’s really doing well,” explained Coach Pinkel, speaking of Crawford. “I mean, he really wanted a shot at defensive line in the spring. We were going to ask him to switch to offense before the spring, but I don’t like players to go where they don’t want to go. So, what happened was he got there late. He worked there this summer with the veteran players. You know, he’s worked at both guard and tackle. But I think he’s going to be a really, really good player. We’re trying to catch up now. You know, that’s a tough position to learn, and a lot of things to do. But we think he can be really, really good.”
On the other side of the ball, Coach Pinkel praised starting MLB Michael Scherer.
“Michael (Scherer)’s had a great, great camp,” said Coach Pinkel. “He’s really doing well! And, it’s really great to see.”
Missouri Offensive Coordinator Josh Henson talked about Nate Crawford’s move to left tackle.
“Nate’s been doing well,” said Coach Henson. “We just wanted to give him a shot to maybe see him versus some better competition……………………………………….. Right now, we just want to get Nate in there and get him some reps there this last week of camp.”
Coach Henson said that he thought Maty Mauk responded well to Coach Pinkel’s challenge.
“Based on today, you would say that he responded tremendously,” said Coach Henson, speaking of Mauk’s Monday practice. “He had a great practice today.”
With Brandon Lee on the sidelines during the contact drills, and with the injury on Monday to Jimmie Hunt, Lawrence Lee is the freshman that has moved front and center at this time. He’s working on special teams as well as taking some first team reps in the slot.
Coach Henson said that Wesley Leftwich has improved to the point where he can play.
“He’s getting better,” said Coach Henson, speaking of Leftwich. “I think he’s improved himself to the point where he can play.”
Coach Henson said that the jury is still out on the two freshmen running backs.
“I think it’s still to be determined over the next two to three weeks to see if one of those guys can help us this year,” explained Coach Henson.
Coach Henson said that the development of the tight ends, and the utilization of Marcus Murphy in the slot, gives Missouri “a lot of flexibility”.
“It gives us some different things that we can do formationally,” explained Coach Henson.
Coach Pinkel said that the focus on his team at this point is the development of continuity and consistency.
“We have to make sure that we just get better, and improve” said Coach Pinkel. “I think you always look at continuity. I don’t really look at continuity outside of the number one offense and number one defense. Because the other ones, it’s constantly changing the personnel. So I don’t really look at the continuity of those groups. I look at the continuity of the number one offense and the number one defense. And I just think, both sides of the ball, we’ve just got to keep getting better.”