Aug. 9, 2012
Columbia, Mo. -
The Mizzou Tiger football team held another spirited practice this morning at Faurot Field under sunny skies and pleasant temperatures. The action Thursday morning was even on both sides of the ball, but the defense, as it has done each day since pads went on, pulled out a victory in the final period to win the day overall, and retain the black jerseys for Friday.
The Tigers will return to the practice field this afternoon for a short one-hour session in shorts and helmets, and then they'll hit the Mizzou Student Recreation Center to get in some pool time. They will return to the field for a single morning practice Friday, as they prepare for the first major scrimmage of the fall, set for 7:30 a.m. Saturday at Faurot Field.
Junior QB James Franklin returned to throwing, and he looked sharp after taking two practices off to rest his shoulder. In 11-on-11 scrimmaging, his top two throws of the day both went to senior WR Gahn McGaffie, who continued his strong camp. The first was a 20-yard connection down the seam, and the last one was a nicely-timed sideline route that picked up 12 yards on a 3rd-and-8 play against the #1 defense.
The offense and defense were tied going into the final period of the day, meaning the final few series were a "winner takes all" proposition. The #1 defense went up against the #2 offense initially, and junior DT Sheldon Richardson made a couple of big-time plays to get the defense off to a good start. Richardson was in on a tackle behind the line, along with senior LB Will Ebner, to stuff a play for a safety. A couple of plays later, Richardson got more penetration into the backfield and wrapped up senior TB Jared McGriff-Culver for a loss.
Next up, the #1 offense took on the #2 defense, and senior TB Kendial Lawrence
ran tough up the middle for a 5-yard gain, and then Franklin hit sophomore TB Marcus Murphy
on a swing pass for a nice gainer of around 8 yards. Murphy next hit a gain for 5 yards to score another point for the offense.
Lastly, the #1 units squared off with the game on the line, and the defense was able to get the upper hand by stopping a couple of runs for little to no gain, to wrap up the win.
A few other highlights from Thursday morning's session included:
TB Kendial Lawrence bounced a run outside in red zone work against the #1 defense and got into the endzone from 12 yards out. On the next snap, junior CB Randy Ponder crashed from the edge and dumped Lawrence for a loss. Sophomore DE Kony Ealy later got into the backfield to get a touch sack of Franklin, and junior LB Andrew Wilson put a big pop on Lawrence a few plays later to stuff a run for no gain. Lawrence later caught a swing pass from Franklin and took it for a gain of close to 10 yards, and that was followed by Murphy, carrying to the right side for a gain of 10, as well. CB Xavier Smith had a couple of pass break ups while seeing time with the #1 defense, as well...
McGriff-Culver had a nice run against the #2 defense when he got to the right edge and carried for about 15 yards before first contact. Freshman QB Corbin Berkstresser hit TB Tyler Hunt over the middle for 10 yards, and he followed that with a nice timing route to WR Jimmie Hunt for another 10 yards...
True freshmen Maty Mauk and Dorial Green-Beckham are quickly developing a good chemistry, as they combined for perhaps the play of the day. With the #3 units squaring off in red zone work, Mauk found his target in the back of the endzone, and lofted a pass perfectly feathered over coverage. Green-Beckham leaped to secure the ball, and came down with a nifty tip-toe effort to get both feet in before falling out of the back of the endzone for the score...
On the injury front, freshman TE Sean Culkin has a broken ring finger in his left hand, and will require surgery to get it fixed up, which is scheduled for Friday. It is believed that he will be able to return in 2-3 weeks time, and shouldn't miss any game action. Senior OT Elvis Fisher was held out of practice today, after he tweaked an ankle Wednesday in practice, and he's considered day-to-day. Junior OL Chris Freeman left practice early after sustaining a knee injury, but the extent of it wasn't immediately known. There were no new injuries to report.
Stay tuned to www.mutigers.com for continuing coverage of fall camp. MUTigers.com will have official stats from Saturday's scrimmage.