April 6, 2002
COLUMBIA, Mo.- The Missouri Tigers held their first scrimmage of the spring on Saturday on Faurot Field in Columbia. The scrimmage lasted over two hours as each first, second and third team player played around 50 plays each. Head Coach Gary Pinkel gave his impressions of the first scrimmage.
"I think like most spring scrimmages, there was some good and some bad," said Pinkel. "The intensity is greatly improved, the enthusiasm is better and they're hitting harder."
The Missouri defense highlighted the scrimmage, holding the Tigers' offense to only three touchdowns. Two of those touchdowns came in red zone situations. Junior running back Zack Abron was the standout player for the Mizzou offense. Abron broke away from the first team defense for a 20-yard dash on the first play of the scrimmage. The third team All-Big 12 performer had Missouri defenders bouncing off of him all day. His most impressive run was a 10-yard touchdown run where he plowed over two would-be tacklers.
The defensive star of the scrimmage was redshirt freshman Quincy Wade. The product of Lindbergh High School in St. Louis was seemingly in on every tackle. Wade laid several hits on Missouri backs and receivers that had the crowd buzzing. He also had one of two Missouri interceptions on the day. The other interception belonged to walk-on linebacker Ryan Binkholder, a senior who lettered for three years at Westminster College.
"The No. 1 defense played well today, and they should," said Pinkel. "There is experience there, they're strong and they're quick. Keith Wright stood out today. He really made some good plays, as did Quincy Wade."
Missouri quarterbacks Kirk Farmer, Brad Smith and Santino Riccio all split time between the first, second and third team units. Farmer and Smith both threw touchdown passes to tight end Ben Frederickson in back-to-back series during the red zone portion of the scrimmage.
The Mizzou defense held the Missouri offense out of the end zone during the two-minute drill of the scrimmage. Smith led the first team offense to a field goal with four seconds to go in the scrimmage. Smith connected with junior wide receiver Shirdonya Mitchell four times during the two-minute drill, before redshirt freshman Ben Lambert kicked a field goal to end the scrimmage.
NOTES First team All-Big 12 wide receiver Justin Gage did not scrimmage on Saturday. Gage, who helped lead the Missouri basketball team to the Elite Eight just two weeks ago, is being brought back slowly to allow his body to rest.
Several former Missouri players were in attendance on Saturday, including all-time leading rusher Brock Olivo. Other former Tigers watching the scrimmage included All-Big Eight offensive lineman Mike Bedosky, and recent Tigers Jamonte Robinson, David Monroe and Duke Revard. Long time Mizzou assistant coach Harry Smith also attended Saturday's scrimmage. Smith was an assistant coach in 1941 and coached under Don Faurot and Dan Devine from 1952-1966.
A piece of Missouri's future was also in attendance on Saturday. Recent signee Zack Zwilling, a tight end from Fort Zumwalt South High School in St. Peters, took in the action.