2012 Mizzou Fall Football Practice: Day 11 Links And Analysis

Kendial Lawrence is having himself a lovely fall camp. (B&G Game photo via Bill Carter.)

It appears that about half the team is fighting a nagging injury right now. But hey, better for that to happen in mid-August than mid-October, right?

This means it won't also be happening in mid-October ... right?

Quarterbacks

Corbin Berkstresser had as good a day of camp as I've seen so far. One throw stood out when Berkstresser rolled right out of the pocket and threw a strike to freshman receiver Levi Copelin in double coverage. The ball was delivered on the money, but Copelin couldn't hang on. Still, doesn't take away from the throw. Offensive coordinator David Yost told me on Monday that he thought Berkstresser's numbers in the scrimmage were not indicative of how well he played. You can hear more of that interview on our podcast later in the week, but there is little doubt in my mind Berkstresser will back Franklin up this season.

-- PowerMizzou

It really is a luxury to know that either Corbin Berkstresser, who looked like at least a reasonably competent No. 1 this spring with James Franklin out, or Maty Mauk, who looks like he knows this offense really, really well, is going to be Mizzou's No. 3 quarterback this fall.

Running Backs

Lawrence, a redshirt senior who weighs 195 pounds, knows that [Trent] Richardson, who is the same height (5 feet 9) but checks in at 230 pounds, runs with more power than he does. But with Lawrence’s speed — he is the fastest Tiger, clocked at 4.31 in the 40-yard dash this spring — he figures he can attack defenses in a similar manner, at least some of the time.

"The steps he takes, the patience he has, the way he sees the hole," Lawrence said. "You can always take something from film."

And just like Richardson, the No. 3 overall pick in last April’s NFL Draft, was the perfect fit at Alabama, which runs a pro-style offense under Nick Saban, Missouri’s coaches contend Lawrence’s strengths make him the perfect fit in the Tigers’ prolific spread offense.

-- KC Star

Was there any one habit you can think of you had to break?

[MORGAN] STEWARD: One thing is with the ball, they don't switch the ball, the running backs. They keep it in the same hand. That's one adjustment, and just having it high and tight, more stable. I kept it tight, but not as high in high school. That's a habit I had to learn.

-- PowerMizzou

I'm not sure I want Kendial Lawrence trying to truck linebackers the way Trent Richardson could at Alabama, but in terms of footwork and patience, there are certainly worse backs for him to be studying.

Receiving Corps

Senior Gahn McGaffie showed good hands on a couple of occasions today, as he hauled in a diving catch for a short gain and also caught a ball along the left sideline where he had to catch the ball and get a foot down...freshman receiver Dorial Green-Beckham appears to be the backup at one of the inside receiver positions, behind tight end Eric Waters. Green-Beckham made another nice play today in practice, hauling in a long catch over safety Matt White. Missouri is banged up at the receiver position, but it's worth noting that DGB did get a couple reps with the first team today..

-- KC Star

"Banged up at the receiver position" is a bit of an understatement. But hey, Mizzou's offense won its first practice in forever with the backups, so that certainly hints at depth. Gotta love seeing players like DGB, Gahn McGaffie and Bud Sasser making the most of their opportunities.

That said ... anytime you want to heal up and get onto the field, T.J. Moe, is fine with me. Anytime now. Don't make us worry about you...

Offensive Line

"He's a good freshman in that he's not too cocky," Meiners said. "He still goes and gets us Gatorade and helps us out, instead of being all high-headed like he came in a No. 1-recruit."

Boehm wasn't a No. 1-recruit, but he was close. Boehm was a four-star lineman, ranked 148th in the nation according to Rivals.com. He was the nation's seventh-ranked offensive guard. Despite committing, de-committing and then re-committing to Missouri, Boehm didn't travel to Columbia with the mentality that Missouri was lucky to keep him. Instead, he's showing that the Tigers investment was well worth it.

That mentality jumped out to Meiners.

"He's very humble and he's working hard," Meiners said. "He's getting better every day. He's picking up the plays, stuff like that. He's still a little overwhelmed with the ones, just because we know all the little terminology that James uses with the coaches and calling plays. The ones have their own language, I would say."

-- PowerMizzou

It cracks me up just how much upperclass linemen give the youngsters the cold shoulder. (Read the whole article for some fun tidbits in that regard.)

Defensive Line

* Defensive tackle Evan Winston wore a red non-contact jersey and missed his second straight practice this morning. He felt woozy after his head hit the ground during a drill in Monday's practice.

* Defensive tackle Lucas Vincent, who just returned to the practice field after a missing a good deal of camp with a pectoral injury, had to be helped off the field Tuesday morning with an apparent leg injury. No word yet on the exact nature or the severity of the injury.

-- KC Star

Defensive tackle Harold Brantley continues to get work with the second and third units and appears to be pushing for a role in the rotation this season and not a redshirt. Brantley also worked on the No. 2 punt unit as part of the three-man shield, along with freshman linebacker Michael Scherer. "He’s competing. He’s getting after it. We’ll have to see where that goes. That’s a tough position to play, but he’s big. He’s athletic. He certainly has an opportunity. … With Lucas struggling the way he is, we’ve got to get backup players ready to play. You can see that on the field right now. We’ve got half our receivers out." No, that doesn’t mean the 280-pound Brantley can play receiver, but if you recall from his recruiting video, he played some fullback and returned kicks for his high school team in Hershey, Pa.

-- The Trib

Lucas Vincent has been a little snake-bitten this summer. Hopefully that stops soon.

Linebacking Corps

It certainly wasn’t all offense Tuesday. DE Shane Ray batted away a Franklin pass attempt early in scrimmaging, and later, when the #1 offense and #1 defense went against each other, LB Zaviar Gooden hog-tied Murphy in the backfield and pull him down for a loss of 2 yards. With the #2 units squaring off later, the defense snuffed out a jet sweep and held the play to no gain. That was followed by LB Donovan Bonner crashing hard to stop TB Russell Hansbrough for no gain.

-- MUtigers.com

Ho hum, just more solid play-making from the linebacking corps.

Secondary

Those daily challenges are what pushed Gaines to play cornerback at Missouri even though Pinkel's staff was open to him trying tailback. He starred at both positions at Fort Osage High School and ran for 1,500 yards as a senior. But he was done carrying the ball.

"He said, 'I like playing corner. I like being out in space. I like the challenge of trying to lock down on a receiver,' " Pinkel recalled. "He loves the position. He's very, very talented. There's reasons why he had all those pass breakups. If you watch him on film, he's got a gift."

"Not to say running back isn't a tough job," Gaines added, "but corner is where the competition is. It's one of the hardest positions on the field."

-- The Trib

He sought out the corner position because it's hard. Love that kid.

Special Teams

Andrew Baggett, currently the Tigers' No. 1 field goal kicker, has always been grouped with the defense at practice since joining the team as a walk-on. So if he makes the kick, he makes his own side lose.

If he misses it, he and the defense would retain the black jerseys and get to watch the offense do up-downs after practice, as they have every day of camp so far. But with redshirt senior Trey Barrow behind him on the depth chart, Baggett needed to make the kick to maintain his job security.

Baggett lined up and kicked it straight through the uprights. The offense erupted with cheers.

-- The Missourian

Wait ... why was a kicker grouped with the defense when a kicker's job is to score points? Is it because he's also a punter? Is he also a punter? So many questions here.

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