Mizzou Football Camp Report - Aug. 5th

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Lindsay Petersen, contributing writer

The first day back to football camp was a warm one for the Missouri Tigers, but filled with hope for a new season.  The severe heat wave which had kept the heat index well over 100 for the past week in Columbia broke a little bit Thursday, which made the afternoon practice much more bearable for the Tigers, with temperatures in the high 80s.


As is standard procedure, the players wore shorts and helmets on the first day of  practice , which took place on the Kadlec Practice Fields.  NCAA rules prohibit full pads being introduced until the fifth practice, which is set for next Monday.  Even without pads, it was a good first day of camp.  Here were some highlights and notes from the day...

The day started off on a somber note as the team learned just prior to practice that former team member Daniel Schatz was tragically killed Thursday in the St. Louis area in a car accident.  Schatz was a walk-on freshman quarterback from Sullivan, Mo., who joined the team for the 2009 season, and stayed with the program through the 2010 spring camp.  Following practice, Head Coach Gary Pinkel told gathered media that the program wished their collective thoughts and prayers to the Schatz family...

An annual rite of the first day of camp is the selection of team captains.  It's arguably the biggest honor you can receive, as it is a vote conducted by the team.  The Tigers chosen to serve as the top leaders in 2010 included senior C Tim Barnes (Longwood, Mo.), senior LB Luke Lambert (Brookfield, Mo.), senior CB Kevin Rutland (Houston, Texas) and senior TB Derrick Washington (Raymore, Mo.)...

On the field, the coaches were sending the message on the front of their t-shirts to "Think Right" and on the back "Think Positive, Be Confident."  This was the first in a line of shirt messages that are worn throughout the season.  The messages encourage the athletes to do their best as they work to become better than before...

Pinkel told reporters after practice that he liked what he saw on day one...

"Overall it was a good first day," Pinkel said.  "There was good enthusiasm, we just have to carry that enthusiasm over every practice that we have.  There's a lot of good athletes out there, and a lot of young players out there, so my head was on a swivel, trying to look at things and evaluate them.  They also have been here all summer working out with our players, and the older players have been coaching them up a little bit.  A lot of good stuff there, just have to make every day count and tomorrow morning have a better practice than today," he said...

It was good to see junior TE Andrew Jones and junior LT Elvis Fisher back on the field, after both missed spring practice due to off-season shoulder surgery.  Each was participating in drills like normal.  Jones caught several passes in drills, and Fisher had no problem blocking.

A late addition to the roster just prior to the opening of camp was highly-recruited offensive lineman Chris Freeman.  Freeman, from Trotwood, Ohio, originally signed with Mizzou for the 2009 recruiting class, but he was unable to join the program for the 2009 season due to eligibility issues.  Freeman was able to get his clearance from the NCAA in time for the start of camp, and was on the practice field working with the Tiger offensive linemen, wearing number 67, and standing a towering 6-foot-8 and weighing in at 335 pounds...

"We thought he had a chance to be eligible, he worked real hard to do that, and he did it, he got through," said Pinkel of Freeman.  "He's a big dude, he's a really good athlete.  He vertical jumped 28 inches today, and for a guy who weighs 335 pounds, that's pretty darn good.  Potentially, we'll see where he can get to, he's going to have to work real hard at everything out there and develop his work habits, work with (strength coach Pat) Ivey, they're going to become best friends.  It's nice to have him out there," Pinkel said...

The play of the day went to redshirt freshman WR Kerwin Stricker, who made an acrobatic diving catch late in the day during 7-on-7 drills.  Stricker, who also had an impressive spring camp, laid out for the ball, gathered in the pass on his finger tips, and managed to hang onto the ball as he rolled over on the ground for what would have been about a 45-yard gain...

Several freshmen were noticed as stand outs on Thursday.  Freshman QB James Franklin, who was with the team for spring ball, began camp as the primary backup to Blaine Gabbert, and Franklin had an impressive day one, as he showed his considerable skills running the second-string offense.  Fellow freshman QB Tyler Gabbert also made some outstanding throws on the day, with one of them going to freshman TE Eric Waters, who turned the pass into a big gainer before being tagged down by a defender...

A couple of true freshmen with impressive days included WR Bud Sasser and LB Darvin Ruise.  Both looked very athletic during various drills and looked like they have a chance to potentially challenge for playing time in 2010...

Much has been made recently about many guys on the team shedding some weight and getting sleeker.  One of those players, senior TB Derrick Washington, definitely looked the part on Thursday, as he showed great quickness and agility that will keep Tiger fans excited when he's carrying the ball this fall...

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