Summer practices are coming to a close for the Mizzou football team but the Tigers are still using every practice to prepare for the 2009 season.
"Wake up tomorrow and it's nine days, so we are counting down," head coach Gary Pinkel told the media on Wednesday.
The Tigers used most of today doing positional drills, but they also came together for a couple of 11-on-11 drills. Here are some notes from those drills.
• Danario Alexander, Wes Kemp and Andrew Jones seem to be the ones that Blaine Gabbert looks to when he drops back to pass. I'm sure Jerrell Jackson and Jared Perry will get looks this season, but expect these 3 guys to be the biggest producers in the receiving game.
• Alexander soared between 3 defenders to snatch a ball out of the air then he landed and juked a defensive back out so hard that he made him slip and fall.
• The first string offensive line looked like they were doing fine without Dan Hoch, opening holes for Derrick Washington and DeVion Moore. • Gilbert Moye didn't impress me during spring practices, but it looks like he has used this summer to work on his running skills. He looked a lot more fluid on the ground and through the holes.
• I noticed that the 3 pass rushers everyone is excited about (Aldon Smith, Jaquies Smith and Brian Coulter) were all on the field at once at one time. Could we see more of that during a game? That would be fun to watch.
The Tigers are looking forward to their last scrimmage, scheduled for 3:30 tomorrow, before they take the field in St. Louis to face the Illinois Fighting Illini.
"I think the scrimmage is important," Gary Pinkel said. "Most of our final decisions will be made Friday. Not that we won't take any till next Monday too, that's a possibility too."
The most interesting thing that happened at practice was when the whole team gathered around the kicking squad at the close of the 2-hour session and tried to simulate game noise while each of the 3 field goal kicker candidates took their turns kicking the ball.
"One thing that we've always done here, is that when you have new punters and kickers and snappers you kind of get them in more of a game day environment," Pinkel said. "It's going to be a difficult decision for who we are going to choose to be a field goal kicker."