Final practice report of the spring

In this final practice report installment, Michael Daugherty makes some observations, sees some old friends, and talks to Coach Pinkel and DeQuincy Howard.

Sunshine, 68 Degrees
Northerly Wind 8-12 mph
Shorts & Shells

PRACTICE LIGHT: Not only was it shorts and shells, it wasn't very long. This was the shortest practice, by far, of the spring. It started just after 4p.m., and was over by 5 p.m. Work was short and sweet, about half of which was drill work. The other half was 7-on-6 passing work, with lineman continuing to do drills.

FAMILIAR FACES: A few friendly faces got in about an hour workout prior to Tigers practice. James Kinney, Nino Williams, and Tauras Ferguson were all working together on some dummy drills. Ferguson, physique-wise, looked better than when he was a player for MU. It was my understanding he worked out at Pro Day at Missouri.

FAMILIAR FACES, II (The Hobbled): Strolling the sidelines, was a crutches-bound Van Alexander, and one Kurtis Gregory. His arm was in a sling. He has just had a scope done on his shoulder. He apparently had some ligament damage, which had damaged his rotar cuff. He expects to be out of a sling in a couple of weeks, and should be ready to go for the fall. What side of the ball you ask? Yea, so did I! He says he hasn't had any official word, but that he has gotten the "feeling" that he'll be asked to work on the DEFENSE (read: worst kept secret of the season).

FAMILIAR FACES, III: I didn't get a lot of studying done today, due to limited time, and the fact that I was helping a certain P-D writer re-acclimate herself to the team. Yep, Graham Watson has hit town. (Is Fox-Sports Midwest sure to follow?)

RED OUT: Pinkel mentioned that anyone wearing a red jersey today would NOT play in the Black-and-Gold game on Saturday. Here are your game day scratches: WR Sean Coffey, WR Will Franklin, WR Andrew Hoskins, TB Marcus Woods, T Tyler Luellen, and LB Van Alexander. According to Pinkel, "It presents opportunities for those other kids. We really go player-by-player on how long they are going to play. Real established players generally go about a quarter. That's all designed. A lot of our freshman players haven't played a football game in two years. First really game day type environment they're going to be in."

PINKEL ON SUMMER WORKOUTS: Players participate in "voluntary" workouts during the summer, and all players attend summer school as well. They will workout four times a week, and those workouts could consist of many things. When we first got here, there were only about 30% of the players involved, but that has changed to full participation. We don't even talk to our players about it now. They know that being here in the summer is a real plus because they get to advance their degree program, and they get to work out together. It's a win-win situation all the way around. Basically, they will lift and condition four days a week, and three evenings a week have a mini-practice organized by the seniors to work on skill development.

PINKEL ON THE BATTLES: "Things in the offensive line that are happening, things on the defensive line that are happening, things at quarterback that are happening, competition at wide receiver that's happening."

PINKEL ON SPRING FOOTBALL: "I feel pretty good overall. Defensively we retooled ourselves a couple of years ago and were starting to see the carryover now. You can just see they've been in the program. Offensively, its just the opposite, because we put a lot of new things in. We need a lot of work. We got most of things in that we want to look at, but we need significant improvement. I expect to see a huge difference in our offense coming back for two-a-days."

DQ HOWARD: Media, fans, teammates, coaches; they have all noticed it. DeQuincy Howard is no longer a slacker. The thoroughbred that came to Mizzou with some growing up to do, has apparently done just that. "Maturity, as the years have gone on, and I've got older it's just maturity. Mentally, a couple years ago I couldn't do this," said Howard. "(For example,) A couple of scrimmages ago, close to the end of scrimmage I dropped a ball. Last year, or the year before, I would have shut my whole body down, and wouldn't have done nothing else after that, but I caught like three balls after that and had a great scrimmage that day. It's just maturity."

Only three tight ends on the spring roster has put pressure on the unit to play well, and they are improving. "Even Barmann's playing good right now," he said. "He's a good player. He's a better catcher than me and Ruck. He's got the hands of the group."

DQ, who reminded many of Victor Bailey physique-wise when he arrived, has added and subsequently lost some weight. "I got rid of a lot of fat. I'm down from 260 to 248. I'm starting to get a six-pack back," he added. "We're looking forward to the season, it's going to be a good one."

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