First Spring Practice Report

A fiesty group of football Tigers kicked off spring practices yesterday and we had a chance to check out some of the new offensive wrinkles, the redshirts and get an early read on key depth battles.

Date: March 10, 2005

WX: Cloudy, Cold, and Windy

Temp: mid-40's WD: mid-20's

Facility: Faurot Field

Uni's: Sweats & Helmets

Well it is finally here. The Tigers roared into Spring practice today, but what roared the loudest was Mother Nature. A stiff wind and cool temperatures greeted the squad as they made their way onto Faurot Field just before 3:30.

The team practiced a lot on special teams, and one-on-one drills, as they tend to do this time of year. This is a time for many players to learn, and for others to move up, or solidify their place on the depth chart. Halfway through the practice we started seeing more match-up work, or skeleton work, as teams went 5-on-5, or 7-on-7.

THE NEW PINKEL: It was probably the best interview session he has given, not by much, but it was a good step in the right direction with the media.

HELLO UTAH?: Well, only on a couple of occasions. The team worked out of a lot of five receiver sets, which Pinkel described as their normal base set after practice. "We are doing a lot of the same things we did a year ago, and we are doing some new things… How good we are going to be on offense is how well we block, and catch and throw, and run the football… That was our base offense, our three wide receivers, tight end, and tailback; we never had any sets out there besides that, just spread people out more."

However, they did run an option off of an option that is new. The little single back option dive that we run now has the weak side wide receiver pulling off the line, and becoming the option man for the q.b. going that way.

Expect to see several new sets and wrinkles in Missouri's offense this spring, and even more in the fall. It's not a new offense, but it is expected to be a more enhanced version of what the Tigers have run in the past.

SPEED KILLS: Per Pinkel, this is the fastest football team he has EVER coached. "Faster than we have ever been based on pure numbers."

LETTING IT FLY: As we indicated on the cover of the April issue of Inside Mizzou Magazine, the Chase was indeed "on" today as Patton had the best practice of the three quarterbacks. His ball was a little high (which led to one AJ Kincaid interception off the hands of Brian Barmann). Brad had a good practice, but got picked cleanly by Dedrick Harrington. Brandon Coleman also got picked (maybe twice), and also lost two pitch outs in a 5-on-5 pitch drill.

RACING AHEAD: Marcus Woods, said he ran a 4.34 this winter (straight from the horse's mouth). He looked quicker than any of his backfield mates today. He was a step ahead of Tony Temple and Jimmy Jackson (honestly, all three looked capable). Earl Goldsmith might have been down a half a notch from that group. Another step down was Kevin Duncan (reminded me a little of Ty Roberson), and John Ruth (reminded me a little of Beau Viehmann), a 5-11, 218 RsFr.

Pintola, Cook, Speiker and Palmer

HERE IS THE HOLE: Can you say defensive line. We have some serious work to do if we want to make this defense as good as last years. Coming into today I felt like we had okay depth. I don't feel so good after today (Hey, it was only one practice, and things can change over the summer, and with our incoming recruits). I had hoped to be blown away by Lane, frankly I wasn't, BUT he will be okay, I think. Scott probably needs a year, and looks a lot like Lane.

RED-SHIRTED (injured): Earl Stephens… "He came off surgery in January. He's doing pretty good." Zach Kauflin… He's having a little bit of trouble, coming back from his knee, but he's overcome everything else, walking story of courage there." Tyler Luellen… "He will not be able to have contact (entire spring), definitely not be able to have contact. We'll get him healed up. We are hoping he can do some things toward the end." (all quotes from Pinkel)

BACK ON THE FIELD: It is nice to hear about the Tigers getting back to the football aspect of workouts, right Coach? "Yeah it is, especially after having a difficult year, we've been working real hard the last couple months, and players are doing a great job, great effort, and great attitude. They want to get some respect back, like I do." Tiger fans should not under estimate this comment by Coach Pinkel.

TIGER GRABS: Hoskins looks a little bigger in the upper body. Deke just looks bigger. Saunders looks a little smaller in the upper body (I thought he was too bulked up as a RSFr..see Maurice Clarett), Kincaid looked VERY GOOD today. With Barbo at DT, am I the only concerned about TE depth?

NOTE: This is a very casual look at these guys. It was cold, they were bundled up with a couple of t-shirts, and their jersey in some cases, and baggy sweat pants. It was hard to read physiques in this type of environment. The picture will clear a little more on Saturday when they go to shells.

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