Defense Wins In First Day Of Full-Pad Action for Mizzou

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Monday morning brought the first full-pad practice of the season for the Missouri Tiger football team.  That addition helped make Monday's two-and-a-half hour session extra physical with some big plays on both sides of the ball.

With pads being introduced, it also marked the first day of competition for the black jerseys, as various drills and scrimmaging situations were scored throughout the day - with the coveted black jerseys being awarded to the side of the ball with more wins. 

The competition was very close and fiercely-contested, as it came down to a tie in the end.  An extra play was called as a tie-breaker between the #1 offense and #1 defense on a 3rd-and-goal play from the 3-yardline, with the winner taking all.  With their teammates cheering on the sidelines, the top strings lined up, and it appeared as if the offense got the job done, as QB Blaine Gabbert hit WR Rolandis Woodland on a slant in traffic for a touchdown.  However, coaches determined that an offensive lineman jumped on the play, and they awarded the win to the defense.

One play late in practice that helped the defense get the win came on what was definitely the play of the day.  With the #1 offense and #1 defense going against each other in redzone scrimmaging, Blaine Gabbert found WR Jerrell Jackson in the back of the endzone, but just as Jackson was bringing the ball in, senior CB and co-captain Kevin Rutland broke from his man on the sideline and raced in to hammer an unsuspecting Jackson in the back, sending him and the ball in different directions.  Jackson definitely got crunched on the play, but he was able to get up and return to scrimmaging a short while later.  The pass break-up denied a touchdown and was indicative of the physical nature of Monday's practice...

In non-practice news...

Junior LB Will Ebner sat out Monday due to a hamstring strain he suffered in Sunday morning's practice.  Ebner's status is listed as day-to-day...

A pair of Tigers were out of practice today, but they had an excused absence, as redshirt freshmen Michael Sam and Corey Sudhoff attended the services for former teammate Daniel Schatz, who was tragically killed in the St. Louis area Thursday morning in an automobile accident...

Here were some other highlights from today's session...

True freshman QB James Franklin is doing very well with his opportunity at the #2 spot, and he was sharp early on in practice, as he made three nice completions against the #2 defense in 11-on-11 scrimmaging.  His first completion went to TE Andrew Jones over the middle, and then he found WR T.J. Moe on a delay over the middle for a gain of around 15 yards.  After a good gain around right end by TB Kendial Lawrence, followed by a sack by DL Brad Madison, Franklin hit Moe on a tunnel screen, and Moe weaved his way through some outstanding downfield blocking for what appeared to be about a 60-yard touchdown...

Senior CB Carl Gettis made a big play early for the #1 defense, when he raced stride-for-stride downfield with WR Rolandis Woodland, before he turned and was able to intercept a long bomb lofted by QB Blaine Gabbert.  It was a good sight to see for the Tiger backfield, which is looking to be a big factor in the team's success in 2010...

Senior LB Luke Lambert made his presence felt on Monday, as he made a de-cleating hit on WR Jerrell Jackson on an attempted sweep play that went for no gain.  Earlier in the day, Lambert forced a fumble during inside run drills that the defense was able to recover for a turnover...

Sophomore TB Kendial Lawrence had some impressive bursts today, as he got up the middle several times for nice gainers, using his speed to get to the hole and quickly into the free...

Junior QB Jimmy Costello had a good series with the #2 offense against the #2 defense late in the day.  The Liberty, Mo. native completed a crossing route to TE Andrew Jones for 10 yards, followed by a sideline out to WR T.J. Moe for 10 more yards.  Two plays later, Costello hit TE Beau Brinkley in stride on a delay over the middle that Brinkley hauled in on his fingertips beautifully for about a 15-yard gain...

In the next series of ones vs. ones, the defense held the upper hand.  Blaine Gabbert tried to hit TB Derrick Washington on a screen, but FS Jasper Simmons had it diagnosed and came up to snuff out the play for no gain.  On the next snap, sophomore LB Zaviar Gooden used his eye-popping quickness to close like a shot out of a cannon to bring down WR Jerrell Jackson for little to no gain on a quick out he caught from Gabbert.  After the tackle tandem of Dominique Hamilton and Terrell Resonno combined for a sack of Gabbert, Washington got a big gain up the middle on a nice cutback run.  But the defense responded with two more plays, as LB Luke Lambert applied tight coverage to TE Michael Egnew, leaving a small window that Blaine Gabbert couldn't fit the ball into, with the pass going incomplete.  The series ended with Simmons closing to snuff out a sweep play for nothing...

The team entered the final period with the score tied between the offense and defense, and the scrimmaging moved to redzone work.  Sophomore QB Ashton Glaser took his turn at the helm of the #2 offense from the 10-yardline, and he found TE Andrew Jones on a nice timing pattern on the left seam down to the 1-yardline.  Glaser next hit T.J. Moe in the left flat but Moe couldn't find room to maneuver and was held short of the endzone from about five yards out.  Glaser next found WR Jaleel Clark in the back of the endzone, but was denied a 5-yard TD pass as Clark couldn't get a foot in before falling out of bounds.  On the final snap, Glaser kept it himself from the 1-yardline for an apparent TD, but he was ruled down before crossing the goalline because he was tagged just as he was going over (in practice, QBs wear green jerseys, and are always ruled down when tagged for their safety).  A tough break there indeed for Glaser and the offense, as it appeared he was easily into the endzone for the score...

That left one last series between the top strings to determine the winner for the day.  Jerrell Jackson tried a reverse but was held to a short gain as DE Jacquies Smith stayed home to deny the TD.  James Franklin was in at QB and called his own number, but the keeper was held to no gain, but he responded with a 5-yard TD pass on the next play to Rolandis Woodland, who went up high to grab the ball, while coming down with one foot just inside the boundary for the score.  Following the crushing blow by Rutland on Jackson, Zaviar Gooden applied a big lick to Kendial Lawrence on an option play for a loss of a couple yards.  After a pass interference call against the defense put the ball at the 1-yardline, junior TB De'Vion Moore bulled in for a TD off right tackle...

The Tigers will return to the practice field Tuesday, and they're set for the first of five scheduled two-a-day practice sessions.  The morning session is set for 7:15 a.m., with the afternoon follow-up at 3:45 p.m. in Columbia.  Stay tuned to www.mutigers.com for continuing coverage of camp!

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