The Missouri Tigers returned to the practice field this afternoon for over two hours in full pads on the grass fields. It was a spirited practice, with plenty of hitting. It was also very closely contested at all times between the offense and the defense.
Probably the biggest news out of today's practice was the announcement by Coach Pinkel following practice that freshman receiver Jimmie Hunt would "probably red-shirt" this season. Hunt practiced in a red pull-over today, but did not participate in contact drills. Coach Pinkel elaborated.
"The trouble with Jimmie (Hunt) is he just missed all of that detailed work," said Coach Pinkel. "So, we're most likely going to red-shirt him. Just because of the injury.................. He'll be a great player. I'll guarantee you that."
Another announcement of some note is that sophomore OL Dan Jenkins has been dismissed from the team for "disciplinary reasons". As an aside, Mitch Morse and Nick Demien are listed as even on the depth chart at right guard behind starter Austin Wuebbels.
There were a couple of other moves on the depth chart, but overall, not too much different from last week. Grant Ressel is listed as the only kicker, which seems to suggest that he's regained his starting status. Gahn McGaffie has pulled even with Bud Sasser behind starter T.J. Moe at the H WR position. Also Wes Kemp has regained sole possession of the starting job at the Z WR spot. On defense, Will Ebner is listed third at MLB, behind Luke Lambert and Jeff Gettys. Ebner began today's practice wearing a red pull-over, but shed the restrictive vest when the hitting got going.
Other injuries to report are Adam Burton (knee), who wore a red jersey today, and sat out all drills, and Kerwin Stricker (groin), who wore a red pull-over, and participated in non-contact drills. Jerrell Jackson wore a red jersey today, but he's getting in on some of the non-contact drills too, even catching the ball with his one good hand. De'Vion Moore (ankle) was wearing a red jersey, and sat out all drills.
Coach Pinkel talked about today's practice, and about finalizing the depth chart later this week.
"It was competitive, and that's good," said Coach Pinkel. "The defense won. It was a battle down at the end. It's fun to see the enthusiasm peak. It was really important to them. And overall, I thought it was a good day................ And, we became a better football team today............... We'll know after Thursday (who's going to play). We'll know pretty much for everybody. We'll have a few that we'll kind of keep working with to see if they come along, like we do every year. We'll know this week-end kind of where we're at. We practice on Saturday, and that's our first Illinois practice, and at that time we'll be locked in."
During the 1-on-1 pass-rush drills, Jacquies Smith took an inside release, and got past Jack Meiners for a sack. Dominique Hamilton bull-rushed Austin Wuebbels and pushed him back into the QB for the sack. Tim Barnes picked up a win over Terrell Resonno in a closely contested battle. Jayson Palmgren did a real good job, and picked up a win over Jimmy Burge. Aldon Smith knocked Elvis Fisher's hands off of him, and ran around the outside for a sack. Jack Meiners picked up a win over Jacquies Smith. Wuebbels came back and won a closely contested battle over Hamilton.
During 7-on-7s, Matt White broke up a pass from Blaine Gabbert over the middle that was intended for Wes Kemp. Blaine hooked up with Rolandis Woddland sitting down over in the left seam area, in front of Zaviar Gooden and Jasper Simmons. Michael Egnew made a juggling reception over on the right side, in front of Kevin Rutland. Moe hauled in a quick hitter over along the left sideline. Gooden put a big hit on Moe just as the ball arrived, but Moe held on and came down in bounds. Kemp made a nice reception on a slant, in front of Carl Gettis and Simmons. Blaine found Egnew in the back of the end zone for six. Gettis broke up Blaine's pass attempt, intended for Woodland, with a very nice play, stepping inside of the slant pattern.
James Franklin found Brandon Gerau along the right sideline for a first down. Bud Sasser made a nice reception of a Franklin pass out in the right seam. He beat Darvin Ruise, and turned it up for the first down. Franklin found Sasser again, this time out along the left side in front of Kenronte Walker. Franklin came back to Sasser for a score, as he found him hooking up at the goal line near the hash marks.
During 11-on-11 action, Blaine Gabbert hit T.J. Moe with a well-timed pass out along the right sideline, in front of Andrew Gachkar. Carl Gettis tried to rip the ball away as he wrestled his former high school teammate out of bounds. Blaine ran right, then pitched the ball to Kendial Lawrence, who took it outside, where he was run out of bounds by Gachkar, after about a four-yard gain. Luke Lambert knocked Derrick Washington down, and knocked the ball away, just as Blaine's pass arrived. Kendial Lawrence took Blaine's hand-off over the right side, and took it to the house. I don't think he was touched. Later, Blaine found Woodland in the back of the end zone. Derrick Washington ran one in for a score. Going against the first team defense, Blaine was flushed to the right side, where he found Moe late out along the right sideline. Moe made a great catch with Gettis blanketed all over him. Then, Gettis came back and jumped L'Damian Washington's slant route, intercepting Blaine's pass.
James Franklin's pass hit Brandon Gerau right in the pads. Gerau didn't get his head around. Jeff Gettys, on the coverage, almost had the interception. Later, Henry Josey hauled in a swing pass from Franklin, and turned it up for a big gain. Then, Franklin found L'Damian Washington in the back corner of the end zone. Franklin had lofted the ball over Carl Gettis' head, and Washington barely had to go up in the air for it.
Jimmy Costello hit Rolandis Woodland on a slant for a nice gain. Will Ebner ripped the ball away from Bud Sasser, after he and Jimmy Costello had connected on a throw and catch down along the left sideline. Kony Ealy beat Chris Freeman to the outside, and batted down Costello's pass behind the line of scrimmage.