On Thursday, the Missouri Tigers closed out the pre-break portion of Spring Football with a short scrimmage held indoors due to inclement weather. Following the scrimmage, Coach Pinkel talked about the scrimmage and the team’s first 5 spring practices.
“Well, you know, our first scrimmage, and our fifth practice,” said Coach Pinkel. “There’s a lot of good things, and a lot of things (we) need to improve in. And that’s the message to our players, is the only way to become a better football team is every individual working on what he can do to become a better player. And, that sounds very elementary, but it’s the key to improvement. So, we’ll learn things, and hopefully we’ll come out here and have a good week of practice when we get back. And we’ll have scrimmages that are bigger and longer when we get back after break.”
Changes in the Depth Chart are likely expected, although most of the current starters will probably hold onto their jobs coming out of the break. There’s good competition at the left tackle position, one through three, with Taylor Chappell, Paul Adams, and Malik Cuellar competing for the starting job. On the other side, Nate Crawford and Clay Rhodes are competing for the starting job.
“We’ve got a lot of competition all over,” explained Coach Pinkel. “We got a lot of young people who have got to get better. We’ve got a lot of practices until our first game. That’s why we always talk about never waste a practice. Because a day, you know, shoot, you’re never going to get it back. I tell our players we’ve got fifteen (spring) practices. And we’re not going to coach you again on the football field until August. Man, you talk about having to make sure that you do your very best! Every day is so valuable!”
On the defensive side of the football, one of the more impressive rising players is junior defensive tackle Rickey Hatley.
“Rickey (Hatley)’s a different guy right now,” said Coach Pinkel, speaking of Hatley’s off-season physical gains and development. “He’s a defensive tackle that’s a player. And he’s a different guy. It’s neat to see that happen. It happens to so many players, all of a sudden the switch goes on. And he also came here at 250 (pounds) and now he’s 310 (pounds). And he’s a great kid.”
Coach Pinkel said that he didn’t think there were any new injuries from the scrimmage. He said that he’s hopeful of getting some of the currently injured guys back after the break.
Coach Pinkel said that some coaches refuse to take a break during Spring Football, because they're concerned that they won't get their players back into it after the break. But he said that he and his staff have learned how to make sure that the players get it geared back up right away when they come back from Spring Break. He said that he likes the break because it allows players time to heal up and get healthy enough to get back out on the field.
“I meet with the seniors, and I tell them, “I’m going to need you when we get back (after break)”,” explained Coach Pinkel. “And I get with the coaches, and I tell them, “We’re going to have a good practice”. Sometimes it takes a little bit to get it going, but we will get it cranked up, and then, we’ll continue to go. So, we’ve worked through that here. Also, there’s some guys injury-wise right now that might have a chance to get back with that break. Without that break, they wouldn’t ever have gotten back.”
Coach Pinkel was asked if they’re finding some wide receivers?
“We’ve got some young guys competing,” explained Coach Pinkel. “We’ll be working on that depth, and how it’s going to play out, and what we’re going to do, we’ll be working on that right up until our first game, probably. We’ve got some good young players out there. They’ve just got to keep getting better.”