March 17, 2009
By Ted Bryant, Media Relations Student Assistant -
Columbia, Mo. - The Missouri football team participated in an intense practice at Faurot Field today as the theme of the day was "every rep matters." The players rotated quickly in and out of drills and scrimmages, and finished every play even after being knocked down. Practice began as usual with individual position drills as the quarterbacks and running backs worked on hand offs and hitting their respective gaps. The linebackers worked on shrugging off blocks and the defensive secondary practiced their ball reads.
The intensity picked up after individual drills when the team went back-and-forth from inside run drills to seven-on-seven. The team keeps score of which side of the ball wins each drill, and the overall winner at the end of practice gets to wear the coveted black jerseys during the next practice and avoids post-practice up-downs penalty drills - all done in good fun. The defense would go on to win today's practice, but not without some good showings from the offense.
Sophomore running back De'Vion Moore had another solid practice today. He looks sharp coming out of the backfield and is extremely quick to the edge. He is also a very heads-up runner and shows good vision in finding space to run. I mentioned this in last practice's coverage, but it is worth mentioning again how dangerous he will be catching the ball when the quarterback needs to check down.
Sophomore tight end Michael Egnew showed great hands in drills and in scrimmage as he made a handful of tough, athletic catches. Sophomore wide receiver Brandon Gerau has been getting quite a few reps due to injuries to the receiving corps, and has displayed a knack for running very quick, crisp routes and hustles hard every play.
On the defensive side of the ball, Missouri's talented group of defensive ends were giving the offensive tackles quite a bit of trouble during one-on-one drills, displaying good combinations of quickness and finesse in getting off the ball. The defense as a unit has really turned up the physicality of scrimmages, as they got a handful of big hits from the likes of free safety Kenji Jackson and linebackers Will Ebner and Jeff Gettys.
Gettys gets the honor of being my pick for the player who stood out the most at today's practice. He looked good in pursuit during early drills and recorded quite a few tackles during inside run drills. He closed seven-on-seven with a nice hit on wide receiver Jonnie Fields, and had a sweet diving fumble recovery on a botched Ashton Glaser toss during scrimmage. In a crowded group of players vying for the open linebacker spots, today's practice certainly helped Gettys plead his case for playing time.
The defense managed to win today's scrimmage, but it came down to the wire. The Tigers next practice will be this Thursday on Faurot Field if the weather allows.