April 4, 2013
Columbia, Mo. - The Mizzou football team continued preparations for Saturday's first major scrimmage of the spring with a full-padded practice Thursday on a sun-splashed Faurot Field. Working out for nearly 2-1/2 hours with temperatures in the 60s, the practice once again went down to the wire, with the defense claiming a victory in the final period of play.
Here were a few highlights from the 11-on-11 scrimmaging:
Senior QB James Franklin had a productive day Thursday, as the top three Tiger quarterbacks continued to share snaps with the first three units. Franklin made the most of his chances, as he had four straight completions at one point with the #1 offense going against the #1 defense. He first hit senior WR Marcus Lucas for an 8-yard gain on a nicely-timed out route, which was followed by a connection with freshman TE Sean Culkin for a gain of 6 yards. Franklin and junior WR Bud Sasser hooked up for a 7-yard gain on a quick slant, and then Franklin hit Lucas again for a 15-yard completion, zipping the pass perfectly into Lucas' hands near the sidelines. On the play, sophomore TB Russell Hansbrough did a great job of protecting his quarterback on a chip block to stymie a blitzing defender.
On the final play of that series, senior CB E.J. Gaines came off the edge and made an all-star play when he dumped Hansbrough for a short loss. Gaines came off his coverage duties to blitz, and despite getting picked up by a blocker on the edge, he strung the block out and shed it just in time to upend Hansbrough for a loss of 2 yards.
The biggest play of the day offensively came from freshman QB Maty Mauk, when he hit Lucas on a 35-yard pass down inside the 10-yardline. Lucas got behind single coverage on the play to get separation and make the play. Later in the day, while guiding the #2 offense against the #2 defense in red zone action, Mauk scrambled for a 7-yard touchdown and also threw a 5-yard TD strike to senior WR Jaleel Clark. The defense also snagged an interception of Mauk, as safety Ian Simon picked off a pass at the 1-yardline on what appeared to be a miscommunication on offense, as Mauk threw an out while the receiver ran a different route.
The defense brought home the overall win in the final redzone series with the #1 units squaring off, as senior safety Matt White intercepted sophomore QB Corbin Berkstresser in the endzone. Junior CB Xavier Smith also broke up a fade route in the endzone intended for Lucas, making a nice play on the ball just when it looked like Lucas was going to haul in the pass for a score.
Other defensive highlights included a QB sack by junior DT Lucas Vincent of Mauk for the #1 defense against the #1 offense, and a pair of QB hurries by speedy senior rush end Brayden Burnett while the #2 units did battle.
The Tigers will hold a light practice Friday afternoon as final preparation for Saturday's scrimmage at Faurot Field. Stay tuned to www.MUTigers.com for continuing camp coverage!
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