The Missouri Tigers practiced in full pads this morning on Faurot Field. This morning's practice was shortened to under two hours, in preparation for tomorrow's scrimmage. Instead of practicing this afternoon, the team will all go to a movie together. Tomorrow's scrimmage will feature about thirty-five plays apiece for each of the first three units, fewer for the fourth unit.
Coach Pinkel talked about today's practice, and tomorrow's scrimmage.
"I thought it was a good, spirited practice," said Coach Pinkel. "(There was) a lot of competition out there, as always. The offense won today, so we're tied up 4-4 for the summer championship. They're battling for that. Our goal tomorrow will be to get thirty-five plays or so with the ones, two, and threes. A little less than that with the fours. It's a real important day tomorrow again, to see where our football team is. To see where we've improved offensively and defensively. I'm talking more in terms of the first and second team. And, the competition for depth, and all of those other things that happen."
The injury list is shrinking a little. Dan Hoch and Kirk Lakebrink each practiced today without restrictions. Kendial Lawrence, Will Ebner, and Jared Parham wore red pull-overs, and were held out of contact. Kevin Rutland came up with a low back injury, and was held out of practice late. Of the injured WRs, Jackson, Hunt, and Stricker, it doesn't look like any of those three will be ready for tomorrow. Stricker's condition is awaiting further medical evaluation, and Hunt watched from the sideline wearing a boot.
After practice, Coach Pinkel addressed Hunt's situation, and talked about a few other players, as well.
"Obviously, this is hurting him a little bit." said Coach Pinkel of Hunt's injury. "When you're so young, and he wasn't in here this summer. So, he missed all of that teaching from the older players. He was doing really well, but that's going to be more for him, can he learn this stuff? And, missing this whole week, puts a lot of pressure on him. The other two guys, Bud (Sasser) and Marcus (Lucas), we're trying to find out if they can help us this year. And, they're doing a lot of good things. Again, those decisions will be made, certainly some will be made after Thursday, and then we go another ten days before we make the other ones."
Along the offensive and defensive lines, it appears to me that a red-shirt may be in order for all of the freshmen. Tomorrow may be the final opportunity for them to move up into serious contention for a spot on the two-deep. Anthony Gatti, Mitch Morse, and Lucas Vincent appear to be the ones who could get that done, but for Vincent, it will take quite a showing tomorrow. Even if one or both of the freshmen offensive linemen dent the two-deep, I don't expect them to play this year.
Michael Sam and Marcus Malbrough are in competition for that fourth spot at DE, and right now, George White and Brendan Donaldson are closely competing for the fourth DT spot. Vincent will have to outperform both in order to earn playing time this year. Marvin Foster could make a move tomorrow, as well.
On the offensive line, the top six appear to be set, with Britt and Palmgren likely to share playing time at the left guard spot. The Tigers are still having trouble finding a back-up center. Travis Ruth is doing a good job with his blocking, but continues to struggle with snaps. He air-mailed a couple of snaps again today, one that went over Jimmy Costello's head, and one that James Franklin leaped high into the air to save. On that one, Franklin not only made a real athletic play in saving the errant snap, but he kept his composure, and threw a strike to Andrew Jones on a slant for a nice gain on the play.
During 7-on-7s, Bud Sasser started off having a big day. He caught one down the right seam, and beat a defender after the catch, and took it to the house. Then he came right back and caught a pass on a post route for a big gain from Jimmy Costello. Eric Waters had a pass hit him in the hands, but he failed to hold on. After practice, Coach Pinkel talked about Sasser.
"Bud Sasser really looked good today," said Coach Pinkel. "For being a freshman receiver. So, we'll see how it sorts out. What you have to do now, if you're a receiver, is number one, you have to catch everything, and number two, you've got to stand out from the competition. You've got to do more, stand out and show us, and your teammates, that (you're) the best one. It all goes back to competition (between) the players, which is good."
In more 7-on-7 action, James Franklin hooked up with Gahn McGaffie sitting down over in the left seam. McGaffie absorbed a big hit and held on to the ball.
During 11-on-11 action, Blaine Gabbert found T.J. Moe sitting down in the right hash area for first down yardage. Blaine hit L'Damain %%MATCH_38%% out along the right side. Washington turned it up with a nice run after the catch for a first down. L'Damian Washington went up in a crowd, and came down with Blaine's pass out along the right sideline. Daniel Easterly and E.J. Gaines were among the defenders on the play. Blaine hit Moe on a quick out near the right sideline for a first down. Later, Blaine hit Bud Sasser on a shallow cross, and Sasser took it up field for a first down. Blaine found McGaffie sitting down over the middle for a short gain. Derrick Washington took a hand-off around the left side, and cut it up for a first down. Blaine connected on a pass to L'Damian Washington down along the left sideline. Washington took a bit hit with the arrival of the ball, and held on for a first down and more. In the red zone, Derrick Washington took an inside hand-off from Blaine, and took it around the left side, and just got the pylon for six. T.J. Moe laid out parallel to the ground, and fully extended his arms to catch Blaine's pass just inside the left front pylon.
James Franklin faked an inside hand-off, then took it around the left side for a nice gain. Franklin hit Rolandis Woodland on a slant, and Woodland took it up for a nice gain. Franklin faked a hand-off to Kendial Lawrence, and then quickly hit Bud Sasser out in the seam area. Following Woodland's block, Sasser turned that one up for a big gain. Franklin came right back to Sasser, sitting down over the middle for a first down. Franklin hit Marcus Murphy with a swing pass out of the backfield, and Murph turned it up for a nice gain. Down in the red zone, Franklin rolled right, then kept rolling right, then threaded one into Rolandis Woodland in the back corner of the end zone for six.
Jimmy Costello hit McGaffie with a quick out along the left side.
Ashton Glaser found Marcus Lucas out along the right sideline. Lucas made a nice catch, then turned it up for a nice gain, but was stripped of the ball. Later, Glaser threw a nice pass on a fade route in the back corner of the end zone, and Marcus Lucas went up and made the catch for the score.
Marcus Murphy took a pitch from Tyler Gabbert, and took it around the right side and up the right sideline for a big gain.
After practice, several receivers, including Michael Egnew, Andrew Jones, Beau Brinkley, Eric Waters, Matt Hoch, Wes Kemp, Bud Sasser, Jaleel Clark, T.J. Moe, and Gahn McGaffie all stayed after and worked on their blocking with Coach Barnes and Coach Hill.
There is no afternoon practice.
Tomrorow's scrimmage is at 7am.