One of these headlines ... not like the other ones...
MUtigers.com: Fast Start Propels Defense to Victory in Second Fall Scrimmage
Mizzou Network: Tigers Scrimmage for Second Time
Mizzou Network: Pinkel after Scrimmage #2
The Trib (Dave Matter): Thursday Scrimmage Report: Rough start for Franklin
The Trib (Dave Matter): Thursday Scrimmage Report: Final Stats
- The Trib: Matured Sasser catching on with Tigers
PowerMizzou: Second Scrimmage Notebook
PowerMizzou: Freshman Q&A: Harold Brantley
PowerMizzou: PMTV-HD: Pinkel Scrimmage 2
PowerMizzou: PHOTOS: Scrimmage Photo Gallery
KC Star: MU scrimmage report: Ebner sits, defense shines
KC Star: Pinkel challenges Franklin, praises freshmen
KC Star: MU's Madison is feeling good and making sacks
Post-Dispatch: DGB shines, but defense controls Mizzou scrimmage
Post-Dispatch: Mizzou offense struggles in scrimmage
- KBIA Sports: Franklin has strong showing in Missouri scrimmage
We Are Mizzou: Donavin Newsome
We Are Mizzou: Scrimmage #2
-- The Trib
Franklin continued to struggle early, throwing an interception to safety Ian Simon and misfiring on several passes on the No. 1 offense’s first two drives. But he eventually warmed up, finishing the scrimmage 16 of 25 for 177 yards and a touchdown.
His touchdown pass – which came to Liberty High School grad Marcus Lucas – punctuated a dynamite three-play stretch where Franklin couldn’t miss. It began with a sideline strike to Lucas, continued with a deep bomb down the right side to Bud Sasser and concluded with a touchdown over the middle to Lucas.
"It was a little bit like Kansas State last year, or Kansas last year, where he wasn't playing very well and all of the sudden he looks like he's going to be first team all-SEC," said Pinkel said. "That's disappointing. We'll talk to James about that."
So far this offseason, the primary national Mizzou meme has shifted from "Can their rinky dink spread work in the SEC?" to "Okay, so their offense is good, but is their defense physical enough?" After yesterday's scrimmage, in which Mizzou's offense clearly struggled against an SEC defense, we should see a shift back to the former.
(Just kidding. I think.)
Murphy said the restructured line was a factor. Yost noted that when Franklin poses a running threat in games — he's not allowed to scramble in scrimmages — the running game will benefit.
"We don't really do an evaluation of the running game," Pinkel said. "It's more an evaluation of personnel and running the right play. So, I don't look at it in terms of being concerned about the running game right now. When we get all our guys who are going to play and get healthy, we'll establish ourselves."
Fellow freshman Russell Hansbrough showed off his speed for the first time in camp with a 36-yard run over the left side. He would later score on a short touchdown run.
"Russell's got great quicks," Pinkel said. "Anytime you're a freshman, the most difficult thing is not to be thinking when you're out there. You're out there and you've got to know what your formation is, you've got to know what the play is, the defense, and generally you don't play your speed. I remember when J-Mac was here, we were constantly on him to play 4.3. Don't play 4.6, play 4.3. That's typical of the young guys. That's what we're trying to work to get both those guys to understand."
Hansbrough doesn't have a lot of time to state his case, but apparently he got a pretty good start (enough so that he was apparently third-string as of this morning's stretch lines). I'm curious what happens if Hansbrough surges and Steward continues to play well. Do you play both even if you've got Lawrence, Murphy and a still-solid Jared McGriff-Culver?
Injuries have tested what appeared to be a deep collection of receivers, but Sasser's consistent play has helped him climb the depth chart at multiple positions. The redshirt sophomore from Denton, Texas, has bounced between the Z (outside) and Y (inside) receiver positions through the first two weeks of camp and worked with both the first and second units. He also knows the H (slot) position, making him one of Missouri's most versatile playmakers. His favorite position of the three?
"Whichever one's getting the ball," he said. "I really don't care."
Sasser (6-foot-2, 220 pounds) will gladly accept any role after a mistake vanquished his playing time last season. He caught his third and final pass of the season against Iowa State on Oct. 15 — a 9-yard grab along the sideline — but he fumbled and turned the ball over. He didn't touch the ball the rest of the year and saw his game reps nearly disappear.
"Man, I can probably count them on my two hands," he said.
-- The Trib
Apparently DGB dropped his first target of the day, then took off. Good to see. He could be pretty fun to watch on those bubble screens. Now if Mizzou could just get everybody healthy at the same time...
Can't imagine the mix-and-match pieces helped too much with the run game. But supposedly Justin Britt is due back soon, and as it currently stands, the line should be fine on September 1 (minus Travis Ruth and Taylor Chappell, of course).
Madison finished with a team-high two sacks on the day, helping Missouri’s defense earn a convincing 18-4 victory over the offense. But most importantly, the 6-foot-4, 265-pound defensive end was able to leave the field feeling better than he has in a long time.
"Honestly, this camp I’ve really felt better than I did all of last season," Madison said. He racked up 7 1/2 sacks and 12 tackles for loss as a sophomore, but saw those numbers fall off to 4 1/2 sacks and 10 tackles for loss as a junior, when he appeared in 13 games but played hurt all season thanks to a shoulder injury.
-- KC Star
PM: When you committed, you were around 280 pounds. Are you still around that mark now?
Harold Brantley: I'm actually up to 290. I'm trying to stay fast, but I'm putting on weight because of the weight room, things like that, good campus food.
PM: Did the staff give you a weight to shoot for?
Brantley: They thought naturally I'd get up to 300 pounds, just on how I lift and things like that, but they also want me to stay quick.
The ultimate zero-sum: Brad Madison and Kony Ealy have been looking fantastic lately ... against Mizzou's banged-up offensive line. Elvis Fisher is obviously still out there providing resistance, however, so there's that. (And yeah, I can't imagine that Brantley doesn't play this year.)
Senior middle linebacker Will Ebner sat out and wore a red non-contact jersey with a pinched nerve in his neck. Spring star Donovan Bonner replaced him in the Tigers' base defense, while starting outside linebacker Andrew Wilson did so in the nickel.
-- KC Star
Nice to have Bonner ready to fill in for an injured linebacker of choice ... especially considering Mizzou almost always has an injured linebacker...
Ian White picked off James Franklin, so there's that. Otherwise, not much written about this unit.
The kicking job appears to be wide open. Andrew Baggett, the leader in the clubhouse coming into the day, struggled, mixing 4 of 7 including a 48-yarder that was blocked. Trey Barrow, the incumbent kicker from the second half of last season, made his case to resume his job, making all six of his attempts. Pinkel said the competition could go down to the wire, as in the first week of the regular season. Late last season Barrow steadied a field goal unit that went into disarray when Grant Ressel began to struggle. "We’re going to be right in the position we were in last year, and that’s not a good position to be in," Pinkel said. "That really hurt us. We’ve got some time left. We’ve got a couple weeks left. But the sense of urgency to see who’s competing, who wants it … somebody better jump up and grab it because if we fix that, it’ll make us a better team."
-- The Trib
I don't care who wins this battle. Whoever it is, just please be able to make a 40-yard field goal with at least some regularity.