On Tuesday afternoon, Missouri practiced in full pads for over two hours on Faurot Field. Camp is winding down, as the Tigers are getting used to the heat, and preparing for Thursday’s final scrimmage of fall camp.
Once again, the defense came out on top, and they won back the black jerseys for Wednesday’s practice.
“Practice went good,” said senior nickel back Duron Singleton. “Getting acclimated to the heat is a big adjustment for everybody. Our first couple of games might be hot, so we’ve got to get used to it.”
As for the injury report, Matt Hoch and Brandon Lee practiced, but were limited to non-contact drills. John Gibson (hamstring), Jimmie Hunt (hamstring), Morgan Steward (hip), Gavin Otte (ankle), and Eric Laurent (finger) all sat out.
Singleton said that they’ve been working on defending the screen pass. And he said that they are all excited to start playing games.
“Our defense is out here flying around,” said Singleton. “We’re looking forward to that, breaking to the ball. We preach that every day, running to the ball, get to the ball.”
Tuesday’s practice was the usual eight-ring circus, with position groups scattered about Faurot Field working on fundamentals, and receiving individual instruction from their position coaches.
On the north end, Coach Ricker and Coach Henson put the offensive linemen through their drills, always emphasizing footwork, body position, and hand placement.
“Good job, Nate!” exclaimed Coach Ricker after Nate Crawford executed the correct fundamentals during one rep.
After a little bit of a slow start at his new position earlier in camp, Crawford appears to be on the fast track now. He’s getting noticeably better daily.
“You’re getting it, Mike,” said Boehm. “You’re doing good! Just stay with it.”
Coach Washington had his guys working on route running, precise route running. He kept telling them to square their routes, and to accelerate out of their breaks and with the football. Then individual routes progressed to combo routes.
“Good job, twenty-four,” said Coach Washington. “That’s the way.”
“He’s going to be real good for us,” said Singleton, speaking of Lee, who bench presses 300 pounds. “He’s a competitor. I mean, he’s real fast, and he can block. I mean, he’s doing everything. He’s not real big, but Coach Washington’s got him fighting. He’s a fighter.”
On the other end of the field, Coach Kool puts his wards through their drills. Again, attention to detail. Rip and strip. Markus Golden lends encouragement to everyone in the group.
As Coach Kool said earlier, these drills are the same drills that NFL defensive linemen are doing. Coach Kool intimated that he was trained by an NFL coach, and that when the Missouri staff looks to add something to their regimen, they look to NFL coaching staffs for ideas.
“When we go to an NFL training camp, they’re doing the same drills that we do,” explains Coach Kool.”
Coach Ford puts his corners through their drills in the heat, and after another nearly perfect rep, Aarion Penton grabs a water break while he waits for the line to come around to him again. Hydration completed, as he walks back toward the front of the line, he looks around and asks the other corners, “Did everyone go through?”. He wants another rep, but he wants to make sure that everyone else has taken their turn first.
Coach Pinkel is paying particular attention to the running backs. There are decisions to be made regarding the two freshmen, and time is running down. Meanwhile, Morgan Steward runs the stadium steps, and Tyler Hunt is currently the number three tailback.
“I can’t wait to get started!” said Singleton. “I mean, we’re excited! I mean, we’re coming out with a patch on our shoulder. Because, I mean, they still ranked us forty after we finished top five, and we’ve got a lot to prove.”