QB James Franklin
Aug. 20, 2011
COLUMBIA, Mo. - The Missouri Tiger football team held its final practice Saturday morning prior to a two-day break, and worked out for over two hours in a non-contact session. The Tigers were forced inside due to storms that rolled through Columbia in the morning. There was no scoring kept on the day, without full contact, but there were still some highlights to report when the action went to 11-on-11 scrimmaging...
DE Michael Sam, getting a lot of reps with the number one defense, got around the edge to get a touch sack of QB James Franklin early in the scrimmaging. When the reserves came out, QB Jimmy Costello fired a nicely timed ball to WR Rolandis Woodland, who caught it perfectly in stride for a gain of at least 20 yards before being touched. DE Matt Hoch and CB Ernest Payton both broke up passes, and that was followed by QB Corbin Berkstresser hooking up with WR Jimmie Hunt on a perfectly-executed go route down the seam that Hunt caught in stride just behind the coverage for what amounted to a 50-yard touchdown...
Later, when the top units got together, TB Henry Josey got around the right side for a gain of 10 yards before he was touched, and Franklin followed with completions to WR Brandon Gerau of 12 yards and to WR Wes Kemp for 15 yards on a well-thrown sideline ball from the far hash, showing good arm strength and accuracy on the play. DE Brayden Burnett, also getting reps with the #1 defense, got in the backfield for a sack, and linebackers Zaviar Gooden and Luke Lambert also plugged gaps to stop rush attempts by TB Kendial Lawrence and TB De'Vion Moore for little to no gain...
Practice closed with work on the 2-minute drill for all strings. With the #1 offense going against the #2 defense, Franklin completed several nice passes, then he found Kemp on the left sideline about 15 yards downfield. Kemp jumped to make the grab, and avoided a pair of would-be tacklers, and slid free to run the rest of the way for a 35-yard touchdown. Next up, the #1 defense allowed three completions by Costello and the #2 offense, but then dug in and forced three straight incompletions, before CB Randy Ponder stepped in front of a desperation fourth-down pass for an interception to end it. With the reserve strings facing off, Berkstresser directed a nice drive, and DT Sheldon Richardson also got into the backfield for a couple of touch sacks...
In off-field news, the Tigers learned after practice that they have been ranked 21st in the Associated Press pre-season top-25 poll, released Saturday morning. That matches Mizzou's #21 ranking in the USA Today Coaches' poll. Head Coach Gary Pinkel announced that freshman linebacker Brandon Durant sustained a knee injury late in practice Friday that is believed to be an ACL tear. The injury will require surgery and will sideline him for the season, unfortunately. Additionally, Pinkel confirmed Saturday morning that freshman DT Gerrand Johnson has left the program and will transfer to another school...
Mizzou's next practice will be Tuesday afternoon, as the Tigers are traditionally given Sunday and Monday off in conjunction with the start of the semester. Stay tuned to www.mutigers.com for continuing coverage of pre-season camp.
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