Alright, this is a MIZZOUEXPANSIONAPALOOZA™-free zone. There is a post coming up on that very soon. But yesterday was such a crazy, diverse day that I wanted to give everything else a share of the attention first. So here, we'll talk about all things Sheldon, GameDay, NCAA APR, etc. In a couple of hours, we'll shift gears.
I've actually felt bad for local media folks recently. At the start of fall practices, they all made a comment like "Sheldon Richardson isn't here, and that's my answer until he shows up." And then, over the course of the next week or two, got asked about nothing but Sheldon Richardson and had to address it in further detail at every single practice. So as I told The Beef via e-mail yesterday, with Sheldon officially reporting to practice yesterday we officially got to move from being tired of people asking about Sheldon not practicing ... to being tired of people asking about how well Sheldon practiced. But for one day, the attention was excusable. Sounds like he's huge (310 pounds) but still in decent shape, and it sounds like he's as physically gifted as we imagined. Now he has to actually learn how to play defensive tackle at the FBS level. He's got three weeks. No pressure.
The Trib (Dave Matter): Sheldon Central
Next up, Richardson faced first-team right guard Austin Wuebbels, the strongest player on the team and the current record-holder in the squat and bench press. Hamilton pulled Richardson aside before the snap and offered some advice. "I told him, ‘Just run him over. Run him over. He’s not going to expect that."
Richardson proved he's a good listener, eventually. On his first rep, Richardson burst off the snap, slid past Wuebbels' left shoulder and got to the dummy in a flash. The next time up, he bull-rushed Wuebbels back on his heels and pushed him into the dummy. In his first day on the job, Richardson won three of his four matchups, two coming against the team's most experienced and best interior lineman.
"I came here and everybody told me Weubbels was the guy to beat," Richardson said. "He’s a good guy, a good offensive lineman out here. They say he’s a first-round or good, high draft pick. I just had to see where I’m at. I won. There’s going to be tradeoffs. Long season. A lot of practice."
PowerMizzou: Thursday Practice Report
The talent isn't questioned. It's been evident for years. Richardson looks to have reported in good shape. Pinkel said he weighed in at 310 pounds and Sheldon said he felt better than he thought he would. The bigger question might have been how he would be received by his teammates. Dominique Hamilton was spotted counseling Richardson repeatedly after drills and the juco transfer interacted with his teammates just like anyone else throughout the day. Other than Elvis Fisher ribbing him as "The Paper Champ" once, an observer at practice wouldn't have known any difference between #34 and any other Tiger. T.J. Moe, who has known Richardson as long as any current Tiger, said the saga was of little import to the rest of the players.
"If you're here, you're here. If you're not, you're not," Moe said. "We've got other guys who can play. We'd love to have you here, but if you're not here, you're not here. But since you're here, let's play."
MUtigers.com: Camp Notebook: Defense Re-Claims Black Jerseys
The talk of the day among observers was the first appearance of junior college transfer DL Sheldon Richardson. After missing the first week of camp due to eligibility issues, Mizzou was informed Wednesday afternoon that Richardson was cleared to play. He took to the Kadlec Athletic Fields in full pads, and showed flashes throughout the day of just what he's capable of adding to an already stout defensive line.
"We're excited about having him back and I know he's real excited," said Pinkel. "He's worked real hard for this opportunity and he's got a lot of humility. Now, he starts at the bottom, like Jeremy Maclin started at the bottom, like everybody starts at the bottom, and you work your way up. He's a competitor, so we'll see where it goes," Pinkel said.
Richardson, who visited with media after practice for the first time as a Tiger, said that he's got work to do, but that he's ready for the challenge.
"I'm real excited to be out here, it's been a long process and I'm glad it's all done," Richardson said. "(My expectations are) to just do my job. Do my job and get some playing time. I've got a good defensive line in front of me, and it's going to be hard working my way up, so I'll just come out here every day and work hard," he said.
- KC Star (Campus Corner): A tease on Richardson's debut at Mizzou
- KC Star: Hoopla greets Richardson's debut at MU practice field
- The Missourian: Sheldon Richardson joins Missouri's fall camp
- Post-Dispatch: Richardson's day finally arrives at Mizzou
- Eric Blumberg: Dominique Hamilton talks about Sheldon Richardson
- PowerMizzou: PHOTOS: Richardson's First Day
- PowerMizzou: PMTV-HD: Sheldon speaks
- PowerMizzou: PMTV-HD: Coaches talk Richardson
Other Mizzou Football Links
As mentioned in fanshots yesterday, I have been going out of my way not to talk much about Jeremy Maclin because nobody knows anything, and idle speculation turns really negative, really quickly. But there's no question that it is extremely odd that whatever is ailing him hasn't been figured out yet. Even if it were really bad, you'd think we'd know by now. Alas.
- MUtigers.com: VIDEO: Behind the Scenes: Athletic Performance
- The Missourian: Missouri's practice grind put into perspective by Marine
We Are Mizzou: Mizzou Running Backs
PowerMizzou: In Focus: Linebackers
The Trib: Wesley Leftwich a study in production vs. potential
PowerMizzou: Freshman Q&A: Gerrand Johnson
Pro Football Talk: Blaine Gabbert's first preseason start is in the books
ESPN.com: Tom Brady-less Pats blow out Jaguars, spoil Blaine Gabbert's debut
The Missourian: Gabbert inconsistent in preseason start for Jaguars
Post-Dispatch: Maclin returns to St. Louis for medical tests
Lost Lettermen: Missouri's Kellen Winslow is Athletics Director at Ohio's Central State University
Other Football Links
Prevail and Ride: CFB Offseason Review - IN MS PAINT
The NCAA's Doing WHAT?
So the NCAA is officially using APR to determine postseason eligibility. Love it. Or at least, I love the intent. Now they just need to fix APR to make it more sensible. But it's a good start (other than the fact that it seems to end up most heavily punishing mid-major teams who can't afford the same level of academic support).
- SB Nation: NCAA President Announces New Minimum Academic Standards for Postseason Teams
- SI.com (Stewart Mandel): NCAA's APR ruling surprisingly timely and smart
- Dr. Saturday: Bowling for Grades: NCAA adds academic minimum to qualify for a bowl game
ESPN.com (CBB Blog): An NCAA tourney ban? It's getting real now
Mizzou Basketball Links
MUtigers.com: ESPN College GameDay Headed To Mizzou
The Trib (Steve Walentik): ESPN College GameDay will visit Columbia for hoops
Post-Dispatch: GameDay to Columbia for Mizzou-KU hoops
MUtigers.com: Denmon, Team USA Win Exhibition Finale
The Trib (Steve Walentik): Marcus Denmon struggles in U.S. exhibition victory
Other Mizzou Links
Wait, SHELDON RICHARDSON'S SO GOOD THAT HE WAS NAMED PRESEASON ALL-BIG 12 IN WOMEN'S SOCCER TOO?? Oh. Different Richardson.
MUtigers.com: Richardson Named Preseason All-Big 12
The Trib: Freshmen key for MU volleyball's return to Sweet 16
MUtigers.com: Volleyball Visits Kiwanis Club
MUtigers.com: Marston Named Premier Player of Softball