With the summer coming to an end and September 5th looming just around the corner, the competition during practices is really heating up. Also on Tuesday as players fight for the final starting jobs, many new walk-ons took the field.
These young players include AAron Bolton, Daniel Carpenter, Alex Edwards, Trenton Heard, Danny Hernandez, Josh Herndon, Jordan Levy, Kyle Peasel, Tony Randolph, Shawn Scott, Corey Sudhoff and Hassan Yusuf. They participated in just about every drill with the rest of the tigers, however received fewer reps because they were at the bottom of the depth chart.
After stretching and working on punts, the Missouri football team broke up into position. The defense worked on coverage and blitz schemes while the offense practiced running routes and blocking patterns. The two units soon took the field against each other for some 9-on-9 rushing drills. As always, the team kept score of each drill that they completed from here on out. During 9-on-9's the offense fell behind early, but won the drill on the final play; a designed QB draw which left Gabbert untouched.
The feeling of competition that has been instilled in these players all year was clearly evident on the practice field late Tuesday afternoon. Each drill that was completed had coaches and players of the offense on one side of the field and the defense on the other, all continuously yelling and screaming for their team to win. After the defense lost the 9-on-9 drill on the final play their coaches were disgusted.
Other competitions of note were one-on-one passing drills during which Gabbert and the first string look very good. Also trench drills pitting the lines against each other. The D-line again got off to a good start however after being berated by coaches, Tim Barnes led the offensive line to victory. Finally, the receivers took on the secondary in a passing drill but came up short on the scoreboard.
One thing that I certainly believe is worth mentioning is the leadership of the upperclassmen. On more than one occasion I saw some of the new players looking confused and lost, however seniors like Sean Weatherspoon and Carl Gettis would pull the aside, show them what to do, and pass along some encouraging words. While it is unlikely that any of the new players see the field this season, the seniors still do all that they can to help. It is important for any team to have that type of chemistry and leadership to succeed.
*Blaine Gabbert looks to be one the same page as the receivers that missed spring camp, Danario Alexander and Jared Perry. It seemed like every time I would look towards the offense Gabbert and Alexander were connecting on a pass.
*Sophomore Dominique Hamilton was very impressive during both the 9-on-9's and the line drills. He will likely back up Jaron Baston at nose this season.
*Both Derrick Washington and De'Vion Moore took snaps with the first string during drills today. Expect both to see the field often this fall.
*Check back soon for an updated roster
The Final Week of Fall Practice
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