2012 Mizzou Fall Football Practice: Day 8 Links And Analysis

It's a big day for Daniel Easterly (No. 4) and the safeties today. (Photo via Bill Carter.)

Scrimmage No. 1 of the fall is today at 7:30 a.m. CT on a chilly Faurot Field, and there are a few (safety) interesting (safety) battles (safety) to watch. Plus, we might get at least a small peek at how ball distribution is going to play out at receiver. (Okay, no we won't. Not if T.J. Moe is still out. But still.)

Quarterbacks

What do the Tigers have behind James Franklin?

Corbin Berkstresser had an up-and-down spring while Maty Mauk has improved after a bumpy first couple of days of fall camp. There is no doubt Franklin is the starter, but how good is the quarterback play if he goes down?

-- PowerMizzou

LA LA LA LA JAMES FRANKLIN ISN'T GOING TO GO DOWN LA LA LA.

Running Backs

Asked later about freshman tailbacks Morgan Steward and Russell Hansbrough, he didn’t rule them out either.

"They’re learning," Pinkel said. "Tomorrow will be an interesting day for those guys. Again, they’ve got a lot of ability. You look back to Henry" Josey "and" Marcus Murphy "a couple years ago when they were freshmen, they were young players that kind of looked like these two guys. We just have to see where it falls depth-wise and see how it works out for them."

-- The Trib

Right now, I would almost be a little surprised if both Steward and Hansbrough play, both because of Hansbrough's injury issues and because, with Jared McGriff-Culver, Marcus Murphy and Kendial Lawrence, you've already got three guys in a four-man rotation. Granted, last year Mizzou could have used a fifth running back, but in most years that's not the case. (And if a fifth is needed, well, tear the redshirt off then.) I'm guessing Steward plays at this point (unless he regresses in the coming weeks). Hansbrough ... we'll see.

Receiving Corps

PLAY OF THE DAY: Corbin Berkstresser had Dorial Green-Beckham streaking down the left sideline, but the freshman was in double covereage. Berkstresser had to get rid of the ball fast, however, and chucked it in Green-Beckham's general direction. DGB lept up, over Cortland Browning, and reached down behind Browning's back to catch the underthrown pass.

-- PowerMizzou

I still expect DGB to drop a pass or two against SE Louisiana, and I still expect him to come along slowly in terms of blocking and concentration closer to the line of scrimmage. But it does appear that, when he's downfield and the ball is in the air, he's going to be really, really good, really, really quickly.

Offensive Line

With Britt sidelined, Chappell facing surgery and Hill retired, Walker has looked at Chris Freeman at right tackle. Guard Connor McGovern received some reps at that position this week. Freeman added to the instability of the line when he left the program for two days and then asked to return. Several days later he "tweaked" a knee, Pinkel said, although it's not considered serious.

Fisher, meanwhile, is dealing with a sore ankle. The coaches are willing to cut him some slack in camp to have him ready Sept. 1.

-- Post-Dispatch

Yeah, I'd say Elvis Fisher has earned some "slack."

Defensive Line

Nose guard Matt Hoch sat out his second straight practice while nursing a sore hamstring. Team trainer Rex Sharp will work with Hoch to possibly have him ready for Saturday morning’s scrimmage, but he might be sidelined. Jimmy Burge got most of the work with the No. 1 defense in Hoch’s absence.

-- The Trib

It would be very disappointing if Matt Hoch couldn't go today. With Lucas Vincent still wearing the red injury bib, I want as many opportunities as possible to find out how Hoch and Richardson are playing together. (Then again, with Hoch out, Harold Brantley is getting more reps, so maybe that's a good thing.)

Linebacking Corps

Once again, there was very little to read about the linebacking corps. And once again, I consider that a very good thing.

Secondary

The first preseason scrimmage is tomorrow, and for now, Grinch is still figuring out who fits where. He's not looking for specialists but the complete package.

"It used to be you just had run-stopping safeties," Grinch said, "or if a guy was just a cover guy, you found a role for him. Now, you have to be able to cover. If you've got a guy who's what I call an 'ankle-biter,' but he can cover, there's still a place for him out there. If your only quality is being physical, those guys are finding their way out of college and pro football."

Or, as White put it: "You've got to be a jack of all trades. If you're only good at something, they'll exploit you in something else."

-- The Trib

At free safety, sophomore Braylon Webb and junior Matt White have been splitting reps with the first-team defense throughout fall camp, which is nine days old.

Pinkel said four safeties typically see playing time, while the rest are relegated to scout team duties. That leaves redshirt freshmen Cortland Browning, Michael Godas and Ian Simon and redshirt sophomore Daniel Easterly battling for the fourth safety spot.

-- The Maneater

White, who has five career starts, is the only other safety on the team who has started any games for the Tigers, but sophomore Daniel Easterly and redshirt freshman Cortland Browning are also competing for a spot. Pinkel said the team usually keeps only four safeties on the team during the season. Despite the lack of experienced players there, Pinkel said the position is "strong."

Walker agrees, but he also said it's hard to tell who is leading the competition.

"Right now, everybody is making plays. It's going to be a big day for everybody," Walker said.

-- The Missourian

I like that Pinkel seems confident in the safety position -- lord knows he has no trouble expressing his anxieties from time to time -- but I'm still going to be nervous about this crew until I see, with my own eyes, reason not to be.

Special Teams

Should Baggett win the job, he wouldn't be the first walk-on to rise from obscurity to seize the job. The redshirt freshman kicked just one season in high school, electing to instead play soccer until his senior year at Lee's Summit North. Even then, his most memorable kick was a miss in a 13-10 loss to rival Lee's Summit, quarterbacked by Missouri teammate Corbin Berkstresser.

"It was a 52-yarder," Baggett said, reliving the pain. "And just a foot to the left."

-- The Trib

YOU CAN'T GO TO WAR WITH A CHOKE ARTIST FOR A KICKER, PAWWWWWWWL.

(I think that's my first ever PAWWWWWWL joke. I ... am conflicted about it.)

Anyway, first scrimmage starts shortly ... so expect about 118 links about it tomorrow. I love our beat writers.

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