(And yes, consider this your Saturday Live Thread. EPL is back at 9am CT!!!)
Two specific stories dominated during Friday practice:
1. First-string safety Braylon Webb underwent arthroscopic surgery in his left knee to repair a slight tear of the meniscus. He is expected to miss about a week or so.
2. Former 2011 prospect Mitch Hall, who originally committed to Ole Miss and was buried on the depth chart, announced he is transferring to Mizzou immediately. Because he's transferring within the conference, the redshirt freshman will lose a year of eligibility. That means, I think, that he will be a junior in 2013. (UPDATE: It's still a bit confusing, but it appears the SEC might not have that "transfer within the conference, and you give up a year of eligibility" rule.)
The Trib (Dave Matter): Starting safety out 7-10 days after knee surgery
KC Star: MU starting safety has knee surgery, out 7-10 days
PowerMizzou: Ole Miss OT transfers to Mizzou
The Trib (Dave Matter): Former Ole Miss O-lineman: "I'm transferring to Missouri"
KC Star: Former football recruit says he's transferring to Mizzou
MUtigers.com: Offense Gets Back in Winners Circle
Mizzou Network: Inside Access, Episode 4
The Trib (Dave Matter): Friday Camp Report: Rookie back impresses
The Trib: Defensive tackle Richardson gets chances to stand up and stand out at MU
The Trib: For McGaffie, time to 'Rise' is upon him
The Missourian: Will Ebner takes second shot at senior season
PowerMizzou: Friday Practice Report
PowerMizzou: Sasser finds a home
PowerMizzou: His Brother's Keeper
PowerMizzou: PMTV-HD: Sean Culkin
PowerMizzou: PMTV-HD: Dave Steckel
PowerMizzou: PHOTOS: Friday Practice
KC Star: MU practice report: Freshman running back sees his stock rise
Fox Sports MW: Wily vet Fisher having fun with his final season
The Maneater: Camp Journal: Hansbrough joins the mix
We Are Mizzou: K.C. Stewart Mic'd Up
We Are Mizzou: Battle for the Black Jerseys #9
The next two plays sealed the win for the offense, as Franklin stood tall in the pocket despite pressure, and delivered a 10-yard scoring strike to McGaffie near the right seam on a sit-down route. McGaffie made the catch despite getting hit off his feet by a hard-charging Matt White instantly after the ball got there. The next play went to the other side of the field, and again Franklin found McGaffie from 5-yards out for the score.
Sounds like James Franklin responded well to what seemed like a wretched scrimmage on Thursday.
"You can see [Hansbrough] coming along," offensive coordinator David Yost said. "He’s a guy we’re still evaluating, but he’s shown some glimpses of a guy who could get on the field this year"
Yost made sure to point out Hansbrough has "fresh legs" compared to his teammates after missing a chunk of practice time, but had high praise for the youngster’s aggressive running style.
"For not being the biggest guy, he’s a physical runner," Yost said. "He runs with a low center of gravity and he brings a ‘whomp.’ He’s not afraid to throw it up in there."
-- The Maneater
Pinkel did, however, acknowledge that Hansbrough is making a positive impression and rising up the depth chart.
"He's moving up a little bit, and he's obviously got some quickness," Pinkel said. "And a lot of (the decision) has to do with maturity and other things. We're fortunate that we've got some depth there (with) two real good freshmen. We'll see how it shakes out."
Fellow freshman Morgan Steward, a graduate of Staley High School, has had his moments in camp, but was sixth in the running back stretching line behind Jared McGriff-Culver, walk-on Tyler Hunt and the aforementioned players.
-- KC Star
Yeah, if Hansbrough's lining up at the No. 3 spot on the depth chart after missing quite a bit of practice, I'm just going to assume he's playing in 2012. It's certainly exciting to see how much ground he has made up in a short amount of time.
"At times, I might think I'm at another spot," Sasser said. "Someone would have to say, 'Bud, do this,' but it always clicks again. For the most part, once you really figure out one, you kind of know all of them.
"You're just more relaxed and focused. You don't have to think as much. You just react."
Sasser finally figured out that one position in the spring. It was then that the staff moved Sasser to Y-receiver, usually where the tight ends line-up.
"That opened up a lot of things," Sasser said.
Sasser has trouble describing what clicked. Maybe it was simply comfort at the position. Maybe it was the lack of shuffling inside and outside. Maybe he just liked being a slot receiver, usually getting early looks from the quarterback in his progressions.
*Wesley Leftwich mad a couple of nice catches. I don't know if he will be able to fight his way up through a deep position, but he has had some good days in camp. […]
*Levi Copelin made a pair of sliding catches. Again, I think he could be a player right on that decision line between playing and redshirting.
Assuming T.J. Moe, L'Damian Washington and Jimmie Hunt are back, full-strength, when the season starts, the injuries in this unit might turn out to be a very good thing. Guys who were fighting for third-string spots (Bud Sasser, Leftwich, Copelin, etc.) have been making solid plays this fall. The depth here is outstanding (as long as everybody's healthy in two weeks).
He was voted a team captain … again.
He has peppered practice sessions with his wit … again.
He will approach this season with a carefree attitude like it is his last … again.
Forget talk of SEC pressure. Fisher is here for his pleasure.
"I'm going to have fun out here," said Fisher, an honorable mention all-Big 12 selection for the 2010 season. "I told everyone that I'm going to have fun out here. I don't care how mad the coaches get or who yells at me or how many games we lose or win. I'm going to have fun regardless. That's what I want to do, and that's what I'm going to do."
-- Fox Sports MW
Gatti had a brief scare when he planted his right foot and felt a pop in his ankle but he made it through the rest of the session and said he was feeling better after practice. He’s earned himself an important role as Fisher’s backup — and he knows he can’t afford to be the next lineman on the injury list. I’ll touch on Gatti more in Saturday’s Tribune.
-- The Trib
The family is open to talk about Robbie. Instead of a sensitive subject, the family wants to exalt Robbie and explain exactly how much he means to them. Mitch explained that it isn't a one-way street with his brother. For all the help that Mitch provided growing up, Robbie has returned the favor ten-fold.
"Without a doubt, he's my biggest inspiration," Mitch said.
"It's a hard subject to talk about," Kevin Morse said in an e-mail. "But it certainly helped Mitch develop into the kind of young man that makes his parents proud."
There's no hesitation in Morse's voice during a conversation about Robbie. But, it's clear the separation has taken a toll. Maybe it's the August heat or the residual effects of a nearly three-hour practice, but Morse gets teary eyed when he reflects on his baby brother. Part of that comes with the juxtaposition of the brothers.
"It's a tale of two sons," Catherine Morse said. "There's one son, this super-human son that plays college football. And there's Robbie, who's physically dependent on us for everything."
I very, very much encourage you to read the full story from PowerMizzou on Mitch Morse. (Well, I encourage you to read all of every link I share, every day, but you get what I'm saying. It's really good.)
(And no, Anthony Gatti, you are not allowed to get hurt again, so knock it off.)
The 6-foot-4, 295-pound [Richardson] played predominantly on two feet in yesterday's scrimmage, roaming the middle of the field and rushing the pocket as an inside linebacker in the "30" package that employs three down linemen and four linebackers. Richardson was the fourth.
"People look at my weight and my height and think I'm just a D-tackle, but I tell them I'm a lot more than that," he said. "I've got a lot more to offer than being a regular old nose guard or gap-control guy. I'm an actual playmaker. I'm an athlete."
-- The Trib
Sheldon Richardson seems to be swaggering more with every practice. That's a very good thing. And ... seriously? Inside linebacker in a 3-4?
For Ebner – known as one of the team’s big hitters – the hits just kept on coming.
Torn labrum. Strained neck. Broken foot. High ankle sprain. Concussion.
After being sidelined in 2011’s debut, Ebner found himself in a familiar situation, forced to watch from the bench while his best friends played.
"At times, you can feel distanced from the team because you’re not able to work with them and sweat with them," Ebner said after practice on Friday. "And that’s what you’ve been doing for the past four years to get to the point where you are now."
-- The Missourian
Again, it's nice to have somebody as good as Donovan Bonner around ... just in case Ebner can't stay on the field again.
The redshirt sophomore from Gilmer, Texas, has worked at free safety with the No. 1 base defense for most of the preseason and also plays on the nickel and dime packages. He started four games last year and played in 11 games. He missed two games after tearing the meniscus in his right knee against Baylor. He sat out games against Texas and Texas Tech and returned for the regular-season finale against Kansas and the Independence Bowl against North Carolina. He finished the season with 36 tackles.
-- The Trib
In Webb's spot with the first-team defense Friday morning was junior Matt White, who made 47 tackles and had four pass breakups in 13 games last year (including five starts).
-- KC Star
You really, really hate to lose any potentially solid safety right now, but as long as Webb is indeed back in 7-10 days, I guess this could be worse.
After outkicking Andrew Baggett in Thursday's scrimmage, Trey Barrow is getting closer to reclaiming the kicking job. Baggett, the No. 1 kicker coming into camp, made just 3 of 7 field goals while Barrow is 11 for 11 through two scrimmages. Pinkel said the competition could last through the final week of practices leading up to the first game.
"We're waiting for someone to grab it," he said. "We'll see where it goes. It'll probably go down to the end."
-- The Trib
Sounds like Baggett owns the practices, and Barrow owns the scrimmages. As long as somebody owns the damn games...