When everybody loves you, you can never be lonely...
If you watch just one of the many videos linked below, check out the Day 8 Highlights one from Mizzou Network. Morgan Steward races to the corner for a touchdown, and at the :31 mark, DGB does some serious tiptoeing in the back of the end zone for a touchdown. Freshmen making fantastic plays = fun to watch.
(Meanwhile, I realized that we're using different terminology here. I'm calling this the "Day 7" post because it was the seventh day with practice. Mizzou Network is calling it "Day 8" below because it's the eighth day since practice began. Good times.)
And judging by the Maneater link below, I guess Gahn McGaffie is officially the Counting Crows of Mizzou Football: He wants to play us his new songs, and all we want to hear is "Mr. Jones."
MUtigers.com: Defense Claims Thursday Morning Victory on Faurot Field
Mizzou Network: Day 8 Highlights
Mizzou Network: Pinkel likes energy at fall camp
The Trib (Dave Matter): Thursday Camp Report 1: Injury Watch
The Trib (Dave Matter): Thursday Camp Report 2: More From Practice
The Trib (Dave Matter): Thursday Camp Report 3: Shuffling the line
- The Trib: Mizzou quarterbacks are in this together
- The Missourian: Defensive line coming through for Missouri football
PowerMizzou: Thursday Practice Report
PowerMizzou: PMTV-HD: John Gibson
PowerMizzou: PMTV-HD: More Competition
PowerMizzou: PMTV-HD: Strength in numbers
PowerMizzou: PHOTOS: Mizzou Linebackers
- KC Star: Injuries hit MU offensive line, but help is on the way
Post-Dispatch: Baggett on top for now in MU kicker competition
- The Maneater: Camp Journal: Gahn McGaffie wants to be more than just a memory
We Are Mizzou: Jordan Williams
We Are Mizzou: Mizzou at the Pool
We Are Mizzou: Battle for the Black Jerseys #4
Mauk — who holds national high school records for passing yards, touchdowns and completion percentage — has impressed his new buddies so far.
"He's not a big guy, but he can really whip that thing," Berkstresser said. "He can throw it a country mile."
And he's not like other freshmen, said Franklin, a junior.
"He's definitely shown a lot of things that not a lot of rookies have picked up on in the past," he said. "I think he's going to be successful."
-- The Trib
I've said it once, and I'll say it again: that 2014 starting quarterback battle is going to be really, really interesting.
Once again, there is little going on in the backfield, it seems, other than Morgan Steward's push for playing time.
"Gahn’s shown up," Hill said. "He thinks through his routes, he has a plan when he gets to the line of scrimmage, he’s tough enough to block people. … Overall he’s doing great."
Hill lists McGaffie’s "super" quickness in space and ability to find a way to get open "at least 90 percent" of the time as his best attributes.
McGaffie put those skills on display during Thursday morning’s practice, finding holes in the defense’s zone and hauling in two passes – one for 25 yards, the other for 15 during 11-on-11. Earlier in practice during a passing drill, McGaffie baited senior linebacker Will Ebner to the outside with a head fake before cutting his route inside, although junior quarterback James Franklin’s pass was high and sailed out of the back of the end zone.
"Right now I’m just taking advantage of the opportunity, trying to go out here and make my teammates better, and to build a better relationship with James," McGaffie said.
-- The Maneater
Over e-mail yesterday, The Beef and I briefly chatted about ball distribution this year, and I just have no idea how that's going to play out. T.J. Moe and Marcus Lucas have earned a high number of targets (assuming Moe's ever completely healthy, ahem), but L'Damian Washington, Gahn McGaffie and Jimmie Hunt have earned opportunities, too. And assuming Sean Culkin and Eric Waters are actually healthy come September 1, they could very well get some chances. And Bud Sasser. And some guy named DGB. Oh, and five to 10 percent of the passes will probably go to the running backs. Add all of it up, and the combined target rates I expect for everybody is in the neighborhood of 150 percent, which ... probably isn't going to happen.
"He’ll be fine," Walker said of Fisher. "We’ve got to make sure we get him to the dance, so we’ll control him a little bit, but he’s going to be fine. He’s a frickin’ warrior, we’ll get him there, trust me on that."
Walker said Britt is probably seven to 10 days away from practicing at full speed.
"I’d be disappointed if he wasn’t ready to go by the first game," Walker said. "He’s going to have to work and get his timing and get used to the contact again, but the good news is he has a year of experience he can draw on."
-- KC Star
The coaches have shuffled the offensive line to get through some of the recent injuries. On the No. 1 offense, Jack Meiners moved from right guard to right tackle and Max Copeland shifted from left guard to right guard. Evan Boehm moved up from the second unit at left guard. Anthony Gatti got the first-team work at left tackle while Elvis Fisher nurses a sore ankle. Mitch Morse remains at center.
Once right tackle Justin Britt returns — the staff thinks he might be able to rejoin team drills in a week — Meiners can move back to guard and the Copeland-Boehm competition for a starting job can resume. Chris Freeman, who had been playing with the No. 1 unit at right tackle in Britt and Taylor Chappell’s absence, was in a red jersey with a brace on his right leg in the afternoon session. He hurt his knee in the morning practice, but Gary Pinkel said it wasn’t considered serious.
-- The Trib
I guess they made it official yesterday that Taylor Chappell is done for the season (which, duh) and Travis Ruth probably is, too. As discussed in comments yesterday, this does good things for the 2013 line if Ruth is able to secure a sixth year of eligibility, but it dings the 2012 depth pretty well. If no more injuries occur, Mizzou can handle these losses. Any more, though, and more walk-ons than Copeland will be needed to fill out the two-deep...
The defensive line had a strong performance, with redshirt junior defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson, Ealy and junior defensive end Michael Sam getting in the backfield often to disrupt the offense. Madison sat out 11-on-11 drills with with a rib cartilage injury, but he said he expects to be back soon.
On one play, Sam got through the offensive line and tackled senior running back Jared McGriff-Culver in the end zone for a safety.
After the defensive line caused quarterback James Franklin to leave the pocket on one play and throw the ball out of bounds on the next, the offense adjusted to try and take advantage of the aggressive pass rush.
On the next play when Sam and Ealy got through the offensive line quickly, Franklin lofted the football over the pass rushers to senior running back Kendial Lawrence, who was stopped on the left side of the field for a short gain.
-- The Missourian
It sounds like the defensive line has looked great this fall. Now let's just hope that's because the defensive line is great, not because the offensive line is scrambled, thin and ineffective.
He might have been flagged for pass interference in a game, but middle linebacker Will Ebner showed off his wheels in a 7-on-7 drill, drifting back almost 40 yards in coverage and swatting away a pass from Franklin in the end zone. Through a week of camp, it’s fair to say linebacker is probably Missouri’s strongest position as far as starters go. I can’t imagine many teams in the SEC have a trio as good as Ebner, Zaviar Gooden and Andrew Wilson.
-- The Trib
Love this unit. Love it.
The first-team nickel defense appears to feature Will Ebner and Zaviar Gooden at linebacker with Kenronte Walker, Matt White and Ian Simon as the three safeties. On the second-team nickel, Andrew Wilson and Bonner are at linebacker with Braylon Webb as a safety. Webb is still getting most of the first-team snaps at safety with Walker in the Tigers' base 4-3 look.
CB Xavier Smith had a couple of pass break ups while seeing time with the #1 defense, as well...
Good to hear that perhaps Braylon Webb is securing his starting role a bit. In theory, that means he is playing well (and not that everybody else stinks). In theory. Meanwhile, we've seen David Johnson and Xavier Smith taking advantage of extra playing time at corner while Kip Edwards is out with a minor injury. That is not a bad thing.
Andrew Baggett, the field-goal kicker at the top of Mizzou's depth chart at the start of this year's fall practice, is only slightly more experienced than Wolfert, who went on to be one of the best kickers Mizzou has seen, making all 185 of his extra points and 59 of 72 field goals. Baggett, a redshirt freshman, kicked for one season at Lee's Summit (Mo.) North High. Does it matter? He doesn't think so.
"I don't mind if people are rushing," Baggett said. "It gives me more focus I guess. It's the same kick."
Mizzou does have an experienced kicker on the roster, Trey Barrow, a senior who was the team's kicker at the end of last season after Grant Ressel got injured. Barrow did well there, making seven of nine field goals and all 23 of his extra points. But he missed a 27-yard field goal against Kansas and then had an inconsistent enough spring camp to put Baggett in the lead by the spring game.
But by no means is the competition closed.
I haven't talked much about special teams (and the iffy display the kickers put on in the spring) because Mizzou kickers always seem to stink until the season starts. Until last year (when they kind of stunk in the games, too), this hasn't ended up a problem. So I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt for one more year before I start paying attention.