Today, the Missouri Tigers continued to prepare for their December 31st game against Navy with a lengthy practice in helmets and shoulder pads. Following individual drills, in which defensive players once again worked on getting off of the cut blocks frequently utilized by Navy, the Tigers broke into offense and defense, and worked on their game plans against the scout team.
It was during this 11 on 11 period, that the second unit offense got some reps against the scout team. This is interesting competition, although at this point, the scout team defense isn't really doing any hitting. They pull up as soon as they get to the ball carrier. Still, there's a couple of things going on when these two units are out there. The scout team is made up largely of true freshmen who have not played this year. And, the second team offense is made up of mostly young players with whom the freshmen will be competing for spots on the depth chart come spring. Of course, they're on the opposite side of the ball, but it's still a glimpse into the future.
The trio of Michael Egnew, Rolandis Woodland, and T.J. Moe continue to impress, and appear to be establishing themselves as contenders for first or second string spots heading into spring. Each of these three made a number of plays again today, just as they have been each day.
Moe has established very good practice habits, and is catching everything thrown his way. He looks more like a polished receiver every day. Egnew is very impressive, as well, and runs well after the catch. One knowledgeable observer marveled at Woodland's foot speed. Rolandis is getting the ball on a number of different plays now, and really shows an extra gear.
On the other end of the field, Missouri's other freshmen receivers were running Navy's offense, with Gahn McGaffie and Kerwin Stricker taking turns at QB for the Midshipmen. During my interviews with the freshmen who will have ended up being red-shirted, I've heard a common theme from among all of them. They can't wait for the opportunity to earn their way onto the field. They're tired of watching.
During the 1 on 1 pass-rush drill, Terrell Resonno utilized a good spin move in getting past Kurtis Gregory. Jaron Baston powered his way past Tim Barnes. Dominique Hamilton and Jayson Palmgren split a pair of decisions while I was watching. Elvis Fisher moved his feet, and kept Aldon Smith away. Jack Meiners looked good in stopping Marcus Malbrough. Justin Britt and Michael Sam went at it a couple of times. That's a real good match-up between a couple of very quick and talented guys. Jimmy Burge overpowered Travis Ruth, as did George White against J.T. Beasley.
Blaine Gabbert went deep into the end zone to Rolandis Woodland, but Munir Prince got back in time to break up a potential touchdown pass. Moe hauled in a slightly errant swing pass with one hand, and quickly burst through an opening created by blockers Egnew and Beau Brinkley.
After practice, the Switch 7 on 7 was held. Not nearly as entertaining as the Big Man 7 on 7. Kevin Rutland played QB for the defenders, with Derrick Washington and Danario Alexander playing deep safeties. Rutland made some nice tosses, but there's a reason those guys play defense. Let's just say that numerous drops prevented the defense from realizing its offensive potential. It looked like they were all having fun.