The Tigers practiced in full pads this morning for the first time this fall. This was a lengthy, physical practice in the heat and humidity on the Kadlec Fields that was very competitive and became heated and testy as practice wore on for well over two hours. Even the grueling conditioning work which followed didn't put a complete stop to some of the banter that went back and forth between offensive and defensive players.
During the Tiger drill, Jasper Simmons tackled Wes Kemp, wrapping up his legs, and driving him down. Kemp didn't like it, and heated words were exchanged. Actually, it was mostly Kemp yelling and doing the finger pointing. Apparently he felt that Simmons went after his knees. I didn't see it that way, but that seemed to set the tone for the rest of practice. It was already pretty physical, but after that it remained very loud and animated throughout.
The day ended in a dead heat, in a heated dead heat. Coach Pinkel stepped in and placed the ball on the three-yard line, saying that the day would be decided by one play, fully live, ones against ones.
Blaine Gabbert found Rolandis Woodland on an inside screen near the two, and Woodland made it into the end zone for the win. Hold everything! Josh Henson stepped in and said that Austin Wuebbels had moved before the snap. Defense wins the day! This, of course, was followed by lots of yapping, most of it good natured, some a little more heated.
Afterward, Coach Pinkel talked about the first day in full pads.
"Good work. Hot day. First day in pads," started Coach Pinkel. "I know the first-year players are probably glad it's over with. I remember back to the first padded day when I was in college, there's a little anxiety to it. They all made it through it. They did good. They'll continue to improve, and get better............. There's no question about it. You've got to be physical, and you've got to be able to hit if you want to be good."
Add Will Ebner to the current injury list. He sat out today with a sore hamstring, joining Donovan Bonner, Mark Hill, and Tony Randolph in wearing the red jerseys. Jeff Gettys and Adam Burton each moved up to second and third team, respectively. Michael Sam and Corey Sudhoff were absent from practice today, as they attended the funeral of former Missouri player, Daniel Schatz. Coach Pinkel indicated that they were close friends of Schatz, and that they were representing the team.
During a special teams period, Grant Ressel boomed several kick-offs that were fielded down near the goal line. Jasper Simmons, Wes Kemp, and Marcus Murphy were among those returning kicks. Carl Gettis, T.J. Moe, and Kip Edwards were the primary punt returners.
After practice, Coach Pinkel was asked if he would utilize a true freshmen on punt or kick-off returns.
"You'd rather not have a first-year player at punt return position," Coach Pinkel replied. "You'd rather not have a first-year player as a punter or a kicker............. Those are just such critical positions."
During 1-on-1 pass-rush drills, Justin Britt did a nice job against Dominique Hamilton's bull rush and registered a win in a close contest. Austin Wuebbels and Terrell Resonno wrestled to a draw. Dan Hoch countered Jacquies Smith's spin move and picked up a win. Aldon Smith's up and under maneuver left Elvis Fisher reaching for Smith's cape. Tim Barnes stonewalled Jimmy Burge. Anthony Gatti did a nice job on Kony Ealy, picking up the win. Brad Madison used an impressive outside rush to beat Jack Meiners. Brendan Donaldson bull-rushed his way past Travis Ruth. Brayden Burnett picked up a win against Mitch Morse with a nice spin move.
Aldon Smith put a spin move on Fisher that left Elvis spinning. Lucas Vincent easily pushed his way past Robert Luce for a sack. Kirk Lakebrink picked up a win against Marcus Malbrough. Dan Jenkins held George White to a stalemate. Malbrough beat Lakebrink with an outside rush. Wuebbels got the win against Resonno. Hamilton forced his way past Britt in another close contest.
Coach Pinkel talked about trying to identify the back-up offensive linemen, the back-up center, the third tackle, and the third guard. It was pointed out that he has enjoyed a run of talented centers during his time at Missouri, and that in ten years, he's only had three different centers. I asked him about finding the next one.
"We talk about it all of the time," replied Coach Pinkel. "You always take care of this year.............. We're looking at (the next center). We're not sure exactly what we're going to do. We're going to have to put one of those guys in there, probably one of the guys that are starting right now. I don't like putting a senior in there next year. I'd rather put a sophomore in there (at center)."
During 7-on-7s, James Franklin found Beau Brinkley running down the left side for a nice gain. Franklin then hit Jerrell Jackson on a deep out along the left sideline. Simmons and Zaviar Gooden were in coverage.
Jimmy Costello hit De'Vion Moore on a slant for a nice gain.
During the segment devoted to practicing the running game, Henry Josey and De'Vion Moore each had nice runs which showed good acceleration through the hole.
During 11-on-11 action, Brad Madison made the stop as James Franklin kept the ball on the zone read play. Franklin came right back and showed good vision, leading T.J. Moe away from the defense with a soft touch pass over the middle. Moe ran under the pass and kept going all the way to the house. Later, Franklin faked the inside hand-off, then took it around the left side and broke a tackle on his way in for six.
Glaser faked to the TB, then threw the ball out to Kerwin Stricker along the right sideline. Tavon Bolden came up quickly and tackled Stricker for no gain. Brendan Donaldson broke through and hit Glaser just as he delivered the football, and the pass fell incomplete. Glaser scrambled out of trouble, then dumped it off to Jared Culver, who was hit immediately by Jared Parham. Lucas Vincent burst through into the backfield and tackled Marcus Murphy for a loss. Kony Ealy batted down Glaser's pass attempt at the line of scrimmage. Later, Glaser scored on a QB draw.
Blaine Gabbert's pass attempt deep down the right sideline, intended for Rolandis Woodland, was under-thrown. Carl Gettis had the coverage, and he located the football, peeled back, and made the interception. Derrick Washington took a pitch from Blaine around the right side for a first down. Gooden and Luke Lambert stuffed Jerrell Jackson on the end-around. Gooden broke up Blaine's pass attempt out along the right sideline, intended for Woodland. Blaine squeezed one into a tight space over the middle, and L'Damian Washington pulled it down in traffic. Kendial Lawrence took an inside hand-off, and turned it up inside for the first down. Later, on third and three, Lambert blitzed around the edge. Fisher picked it up, and Blaine ran it straight ahead for the first down. Blaine went deep down the left side to Wes Kemp. He was closely covered by Gettis, but Blaine's pass led Kemp to the outside, away from Gettis. Kemp stopped, then got turned around, and never really got close to a pass that should have been caught for six. Derrick Washington took an inside hand-off up the gut for a first down.
Henry Josey took an inside hand-off from Tyler Gabbert around the left side for a first down. Josey showed some of his speed on that one.
Jimmy Costello found Andrew Jones coming across the middle. Jarrell Harrison was there to make the stop. Costello hit Moe out along the sideline for a nice gain. Tatum was the first of many to arrive.