On Thursday afternoon in the searing heat, the Missouri Tigers opened fall camp with their initial practice of the season, in helmets and shorts, on the Kadlec Fields located immediately behind the MATC.
After practice, Coach Pinkel talked about the start of fall camp.
"A lot of enthusiasm," started Coach Pinkel, "Now, we want to carry the enthusiasm over to every practice we have............. There are a lot of good athletes out there. We're real impressed with our young players. We have a lot of them out there. My head's kind of on a swivel, trying to look at things and evaluate."
Mark Hill and Tony Randolph are the only players on the injury list at the start of camp. Both are rehabbing knee injuries, and it sounds like both will miss all of camp.
Chris Earnhardt was absent from practice. Someone reported that he had transferred to Missouri State. Everyone else was present and accounted for.
There were some depth chart revelations, especially the placement of the freshmen, which I will update on the Depth Chart thread stickied near the top of the premium message board.
Lorenzo Williams and Monte Wyrick were present at practice, and were closely observing the linemen. Zo and Monte have recently opened a new business here in Columbia, The Galactic Fun Zone, at 3412 Grindstone Parkway.
All three freshmen wide receivers really jumped out at me today. Marcus Lucas is as good-looking of a receiving prospect as I've seen in a Tiger uniform. He has impressive size, but it is his obviously superior athleticism, and fluidity of movement, to go along with his extremely soft hands, that immediately impressed me. He's lined up at the XWR position, at the bottom of the chart. He won't stay at the bottom.
I was very impressed with what I saw of Jimmie Hunt today. He's fabulous! He's similar to Jerrell Jackson, but appears to be quicker, and more athletic, more explosive. He catches everything. OK. No pads, yet. But for the first day, and my first real look at Hunt, I came away very, very impressed. He's lining up inside, at the HWR spot.
If not for the other two freshmen WRs, everyone would be raving about Bud Sasser, who looks really good, too. He was especially effective working the sideline, and turning up field for yards after catch. He's another receiver with good size and athleticism.
At one point today, I remarked to someone standing close by that the offensive unit on the field at that moment may very well open against Illinois on September 4th. It was the currently listed first team offense. The biggest question mark appears to me to be at the XWR position, where we could see someone supplant Rolandis Woodland from the starting line-up. I don't know how you can keep T.J. Moe or L'Damian Washington on the sideline.
Coaches Walker and Henson were doing a lot of individual instruction with the many offensive linemen. There was a lot of sled work, and one area of emphasis was in keeping low while at the same time maintaining proper head and hand position. I was very impressed with Mitch Morse. He has great feet, and appears to be very flexible and agile.
Blaine Gabbert stuck one in low and inside for a completion, as Jerrell Jackson went down for the grab, as he was coming across the middle. Later, Blaine found De'Vion Moore across the middle. He hit him in stride, and Moore tuned it up for a nice gain.
Jimmy Costello connected with Moe on a long pass down the seam for a score.
Greg White hauled in a pass from Ashton Glaser as he was coming across the middle, then turned it up for a nice gain. Glaser hit Bud Sasser out along the right sideline, and Sasser turned it up for a first down. Glaser found Waters out along the right sideline for a first down.
During the special teams' portion of practice, Carl Gettis, T.J. Moe, and Tristen Holt were fielding punts. During warm-ups, Henry Josey, Marcus Murphy, Kip Edwards, and Jimmy Hunt were also fielding punts.
During 11-on-11 action, Kendial Lawrence took an inside hand-off from Franklin, and cut up inside, but he was stopped after a short gain by Matt White. Franklin tried to hit Jaleel Clark, who was streaking down the right sideline. Clark had gotten behind the defense, but the pass was overthrown. Actually, I thought that the pass was on the money, but that Clark slowed up when he turned his head to locate the ball. Franklin came back with a completion to Clark for a first down, out along the right sideline.
Blaine Gabbert dropped back to pass, then scrambled to his right, showing good speed. Jacquies Smith was rapidly in pursuit, and Zaviar Gooden closed from the inside in an instant, forcing Blaine to run out of bounds after a very short gain. Blaine hooked up with Wes Kemp along the sideline for a nice gain. De'Vion Moore took an inside hand-off, and cut around the left side for a first down and then some.
Costello handed off to Nikko Sansone, who slipped and fell in the backfield. Gettys came up and stuffed Jared Culver at the line of scrimmage, after Culver had taken a Costello hand-off.More photos and video from today's practice will be coming soon...