Aug. 5, 2013
COLUMBIA, Mo. - The pads were popping Monday morning on the Kadlec Athletic Fields, as the Missouri Football team held its first fully-padded practice of the 2013 season. As per NCAA rules, teams aren't allowed to put on full pads until the fifth practice, and that's what Monday represented for Coach Gary Pinkel's squad. The result was a spirited and physical practice that had Coach Pinkel pleased.
When the pads come on, the competition steps up a notch, and every period during the day is scored in an offense versus defense format. At the end of the day, the side with more periods is declared the winner, and they get the black jerseys for the following day.
"I thought we had a really good practice," Pinkel said. "I thought we were really, really competitive. It got down to the end and the last couple of plays, and the defense won. But very, very competitive. When it goes down to the last two or three plays, we're getting out of it what we want to.
"I thought the effort was really good, and I thought we became a lot better football team."
On Monday, the competition went to the wire, and the Tiger defense made stops down the stretch to claim the win and take a 1-0 lead for the camp.
Late in the day, in 11-on-11 scrimmaging, senior CB E.J. Gaines made several nice plays to give his defense the edge. On one play, he had blanket coverage of WR Bud Sasser in the flat, and forced an incompletion. Even though Sasser caught a pass from QB James Franklin on the next play, Gaines later was strong in run support, and helped hold a couple of runs to no gain.
Senior LB Andrew Wilson and junior DT Lucas Vincent combined to stuff junior TB Henry Josey for a short gain at one point in the scrimmaging, but Josey later got even as he burst up the middle for a 12-yard touchdown run against the #1 unit. To end the third period, Franklin and Sasser connected for a gain of around 15 yards on a third down to score points for the offense. On the play, Franklin showed impressive arm strength, as he threaded the needle and placed the ball perfectly in the breadbasket of Sasser, past the diving arms of a defender. Senior CB Tyler Davis made a big play for the reserve defense a few plays earlier, when he stepped in front of a pass in the flat and ran it back the other way for what would have been a pick six touchdown.
Earlier in the day, in 11-on-11 work, sophomore QB Corbin Berkstresser had a pretty touchdown connection with redshirt freshman WR Levi Copelin on a deep crossing route for a 30-yard score against the reserves. Sophomore TB Russell Hansbrough got around the right edge soon after for a gain of 10 yards against the #1 unit, showing his burst of speed on the play. Defensive highlights included a big stop on a Marcus Murphy run by seniors Matt White and Donovan Bonner, as the duo made a nice run fit to stuff the play for a loss, followed next by junior DE Markus Golden pursuing redshirt freshman TB Morgan Steward in the backfield to string him out for a loss.
From an injury standpoint, junior CB Xavier Smith was held out of Monday's practice with a foot bruise, and he is considered day-to-day, while freshman DT A.J. Logan was limited in a red jersey as he continues to heal from a knee injury. During practice, sophomore WR Wesley Leftwich (hamstring) and redshirt freshman DB John Gibson (ankle) left early, and their status going forward will be further evaluated.
The Tigers will return to the practice field Tuesday for another full pad practice, and they will hold single sessions each day this week, leading up to the first scrimmage of fall camp this Saturday.
In case you missed it, a couple of former Tiger standouts had some nice moments last night in the NFL, as TB Kendial Lawrence scored on a 7-yard touchdown run for the Dallas Cowboys, while TE Michael Egnew caught 4 passes for 52 yards for the Miami Dolphins, in the Cowboys' 24-20 win Sunday. Here's a clip of Lawrence's run...
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