After a high-intensity scrimmage that saw several players fare well Saturday afternoon, Missouri held a low-key practice Sunday. The Tigers practiced in shells and shorts on the practice fields, going for 75 minutes and with very little contact.
Compared to the high-stakes feel of the scrimmage, the atmosphere was much more relaxed Sunday. After a series of walk-throughs, the Tigers did a little 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 work, with some of the usual suspects standing out.
Sophomore WR Andrew Hoskins continues to make a pitch for playing time. He has caught nearly everything thrown his way the past few weeks, including several fine catches and the only touchdown in Saturday's scrimmage. His strong play continued Sunday, when he made a leaping catch over the middle of an overthrown pass from sophomore QB Brandon Coleman.
The defense is becoming more aware of Hoskins, though; freshman QB Chase Patton tried to squeeze a ball to Hoskins through double coverage later in the 7-on-7. He was not successful: sophomore LB Dedrick Harrington picked it off and had only Patton between him and the end zone.
Freshman TB Marcus Woods had a nice run off left tackle, picking up extra yards thanks to a strong downfield block by junior WR Sean Coffey, who wore the red, no-contact jersey. Coffey also skied for a catch on the sideline, showing few ill effects of his nagging shoulder injury.
Patton continues to look more comfortable every day. He made a very nice play under pressure in the 7-on-7 drill, as he stepped forward to avoid the oncoming rush, moved to his right until his receiver found an opening, and then hit him 10 yards downfield. Patton looks more like the elite quarterback that recruiting analysts pegged him to become every practice.
Freshman TB Jimmy Jackson continues to practice at least as well as more heralded freshman Tony Temple. To his credit, Temple missed a week of practice and is suffering from a shoulder injury, but Jackson looks like a smart runner, following his blocks and breaking through holes when they open. To this point, remembering that the season opener is still two weeks away, it would not be much of a stretch to find Jackson ahead of Temple on the depth chart.
Injury update: Four players donned the red jersey Sunday: Coffey, Temple, freshman T Kyle Riggs and senior T Scott Paffrath.
Paffrath suffered a sprained MCL in his right knee early in Saturday's scrimmage and his leg remains heavily bandaged. After practice, coach Gary Pinkel said Paffrath's condition appears promising.
"They're gonna try to take the walking splint-cast, whatever it's called, they're gonna try to take that off on Thursday," he said. "That's right now the plan. We feel real good that he'll he be fine."
Coffey re-aggravated his right separated shoulder near the end of Saturday's scrimmage, but looked strong Sunday, despite the red pullover.
"He just tweaked it," Pinkel said. "He's OK. We just wanted to make sure he didn't bump it again today."
Riggs had offseason shoulder surgery and is still recovering from it.
Feeling fine: Besides Paffrath's injury, the Tigers have come out of two-a-days very healthy. Several players have been slowed with minor injuries, particularly the dreaded hamstring, but for the most part, those dings have healed, even with the coaching staff having scheduled two full-contact scrimmages.
"For the most part, we're OK," Pinkel said. "The big thing is, you want to get all the work done, you want the players to play well and everything else. But I tell you one thing: from a coach's standpoint, you want to come out of (scrimmages) healthy. You want to be able to get to that first game with your whole football team."
Slowing down: Forgive the NCAA if it had come to sniff around Columbia after a Pinkel comment from a few days ago.
In response to a question about how the coaching staff must adjust its players' schedule once classes start, Pinkel said the players were limited to 40 hours of football work a week.
That is twice the actual limit, of 20. Pinkel said Sunday that he knew right away that he had made a mistake, although he did not correct himself at the time.
"Forty hours, I'll have to go in front of a committee," Pinkel said, with a grin. "It's a 20-hour rule. The sun was getting to me."
That said, the coaches still must limit what their players can do as a team, a sharp turnaround from having them full-time the past two weeks.
"Even when they put that rule in, we'd always been about that anyways," Pinkel said. "Obviously kids have to watch video on their own and they come in and do extra things. It's not real difficult to keep it under 20 hours…
"They have the full Monday off, which is really good. It's good for us, because it allows the players to meet the professors, they want study sessions and do extra things."
Looking ahead: As Pinkel noted, the Tigers have Monday off, their first day without a practice or scrimmage since the fall season began. They return to the practice field Tuesday, but that day's session, along with Wednesday's, will be closed to media.
A scrimmage held Thursday afternoon will be your final chance to read this reporter's fascinating practice reports. So don't miss it.