Really? Meiners, too? (Photo via Bill Carter.)
So would you rather have all of your significant injuries in one unit, so you have just one primary concern heading into the season, or would you rather spread them out? (And no, "no major injuries" is not an option, at least for Mizzou. This is getting absurd.) I vote the latter (and I assume most others do), but apparently Mizzou gets the former.
Jack Meiners' potential injury made Scrimmage No. 3 perhaps the most exciting (DGB breaks off a 65-yard touchdown like it's nothing) and discouraging day of fall camp.
MUtigers.com: Final Fall Scrimmage in the Books
Mizzou Network: Scrimmage #3 Highlights
Mizzou Network: Pinkel on last scrimmage
The Trib (Dave Matter): Thursday Scrimmage Report: Another lineman goes down
The Trib (Dave Matter): Thursday Scrimmage Report 2: Final stats & preseason totals
The Trib: Green-Beckham shines but Tigers dealt another injury
PowerMizzou: Thursday Scrimmage Notebook
PowerMizzou: Freshman Q&A: Jordan Williams
PowerMizzou: PMTV-HD: Pinkel Scrimmage 3
PowerMizzou: PMTV-HD: Craig Kuligowski
KC Star: Franklin responds to challenge in MU's final scrimmage
KC Star: MU scrimmage report: DGB draws comparisons to Maclin and Danario, plus other observations
KC Star: MU scrimmage report: Meiners carted off with knee injury
KC Star: MU practice report: Leftwich out 4-5 weeks with foot injury
- Post-Dispatch: DGB's big play highlights MU scrimmage
- Fox Sports MW: With camp over, it's time to learn about Mizzou
James Franklin with a 28 yard TD run. In scrimmages QB is down if he is touched. Franklin was not.— Gabe DeArmond (@GabeDeArmond) August 23, 2012
The run was arguably the highlight of a scrimmage performance that was much better than the one he turned in last Saturday, when he struggled early and was later challenged to do better by Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel.
"He’s a tremendously different player than he was a year ago at this time," said Pinkel, who noted that Franklin did well Thursday. "He’s potentially really good. We’re just pushing him to get it out. The good news is he wants to be really good, too."
-- KC Star
Pinkel's view in saying there's room for the Tigers to grow should be expected. After all, it's true. No program in the country – not even juggernauts in Baton Rouge and Tuscaloosa – knows how work in late August will translate into September results and beyond. It's all unknown.
"I'm definitely meshing with the offense a little better," says Franklin, who finished 7-of-12 passing for 80 yards Thursday. He also ran for 30 yards on two carries with a touchdown. "We are feeling good coming out of this scrimmage. Yeah, we had a couple mistakes. For the most part, I think we felt good for how it happened."
-- Fox Sports MW
As I wrote in my Mizzou preview at SBN this week, James Franklin's inability to avoid multiple mistakes is really my only issue with him. Scrimmage #2 (fumble, then pick) did nothing to assuage those worries, but a) it's hard to complain much about his cumulative scrimmage stats, and b) the bigger concern would have been his iffy shoulder, and that one is still somehow off the table. So I can't complain much, I guess.
Kendial Lawrence: 21 carries – 96 yards, TD, 4.6 yards per carry
Russell Hansbrough: 10-55, TD, 5.5 yards per carry
Marcus Murphy: 19-54, 2.8 yards per carry
Corbin Berkstresser: 5-45, 9.0 yards per carry
Jared McGriff-Culver: 9-44, 4.9 yards per carry
James Franklin: 4-35, TD, 8.8 yards per carry
-- The Trib
Scrimmage stats are funny. The first-stringers should be expected to do well, since they're facing mostly the No. 2 defense. The second-stringers (i.e. Marcus Murphy) should be expected to struggle in going against the No. 1 defense. And the third-stringers should probably dominate since half of the No. 3 defense is made of walk-ons. Or something like that. Regardless, that's what we see here. Kendial Lawrence was fine (excellent in the first scrimmage), Murphy got mostly dominated, and Russell Hansbrough looked good enough that he will probably avoid a redshirt despite missing half of camp.
Hey, reasonable expectations are dumb anyway. MT— Rock M Nation (@rockmnation) August 23, 2012
@dave_matter: Green-Beckhman just took a quick slant and cruised 65 yards for a touchdown.
In three scrimmages, James Franklin completed 69.5 %; Dorial Green-Beckham led all players in both catches (12) & receiving yards (159)— Dave Matter (@Dave_Matter) August 24, 2012
The play was just the latest example of the 6-foot-6, 220-pound receiver's freakish combination of size and speed. He finished the scrimmage with two catches for 71 yards.
"He can run, he’s got great speed," Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said. "Jeremy Maclin was the same way, and when he was a freshman I used to get on him all the time because he was thinking a lot out there...he’s thinking about routes, he’s thinking about route adjustments, he’s thinking about things he’s never had to do. And when you think, you don’t play instinctively and use all your speed.
"But speed is such a great weapon for any player, and he has that. He is, right now, a lot different than he was ten practices ago."
-- KC Star
Dorial Green-Beckham has made some impressive catches the last two weeks and was the leading receiver in the second scrimmage. But on Thursday he unleashed his first BIG play. Against the No. 1 defense the freshman took a quick slant from Maty Mauk out of the slot, broke a tackle and raced through the middle of the defense for a 65-yard catch-and-run to the end zone.
Green-Beckham is off limits for interviews, so I asked quarterback James Franklin if he could sit in for the freshman and describe the touchdown as if he were Green-Beckham. He dropped his voice a few octaves and played along: "I think I did a good job. Just caught it, broke a tackle and took off. I was just burning, you know. I’m not the No. 1 recruit for nothing."
-- The Trib
Since an unremarkable first few practices as his mind was cluttered with learning a sophisticated system, the nation's top recruit has made major strides in the last week or so.
"Even you guys can figure that out," Pinkel joked with the media after the controlled scrimmage in which no score was kept.
But the 6-foot-6, 220-pound Green-Beckham's burst on Thursday after shedding a would-be tackler on a short slant from Mauk was another level of affirmation of his potential.
"What you see is a dynamic guy with the ball in his hands," said offensive coordinator David Yost, who compared DGB to a hybrid of former MU All-Americas Jeremy Maclin and Danario Alexander. "It wasn't always about what route you ran with them; it was just, 'Can you get them the football and give them a chance?'
"And then he's got some of Maclin in him with his speed and then some of Danario in him with the size, so you want to use that to the best of his ability."
"I think we can be one of the best (receiving corps) in the nation. It's all about guys coming out every day and just living up to the potential," Washington said. "Because right now, it's just potential until we get a chance to go out on the field and show what we got."
"I think we've got some guys who are going to make some plays on offense," Pinkel said. "I think we're going to up the playmaker type numbers. In our offense, that helps us tremendously if we can do that. We haven't done it yet, but if we can do that."
A good receiving corps, with lots of quick-passing ability, is certainly one way to take pressure off of a suddenly, terrifyingly thin line. So we've got that going for us...
— Gabe DeArmond (@GabeDeArmond) August 23, 2012
#Mizzou OL Jack Meiners left todays scrimmage with a spwrained knee.Will have an MRI. Pinkel said "we hope it's not serious."
Missouri has already lost one projected starter this camp in guard Travis Ruth, who is out for the season with a triceps injury. Starting left tackle Elvis Fisher missed all of last season with a knee injury, starting right tackle Justin Britt missed the first two weeks of camp with a foot injury and redshirt freshman Taylor Chappell – perhaps the top backup at offensive tackle - was also lost for the season during camp with a knee injury.
-- KC Star
Should Meiners be out extensively — the Tigers have another week of practice before the Sept. 1 opener against Southeastern Louisiana — freshman Evan Boehm will likely join the starting lineup at left guard and shift junior Max Copeland to right guard. Up until Tuesday Copeland had been a walk-on but earned a scholarship after outplaying several other backups for the spot vacated by Ruth’s season-ending torn triceps tendon.
The Tigers could start the season with only one offensive lineman who’s started a college game at his current position: Fisher, who hasn’t played since 2010. Britt started all 13 games at left tackle last year as Fisher’s replacement. Morse has never started a college game, just like Copeland and, obviously, Boehm, the nationally touted recruit from Lee’s Summit West High School.
"Max is one of the hardest working guys I’ve ever met," Fisher said. "He’s progressed tenfold. And Evan, shoot … I knew he was going to be good. But I didn’t know he was going to be that good that quick. He’s able to soak everything up."
-- The Trib
Sigh. Technically speaking, the injuries here might not hurt much as long as Max Copeland and Evan Boehm are solid and FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, NOBODY ELSE GETS HURT. Still ... sigh. After last year's injury ridiculousness, I was hoping Mizzou was due some good luck from the Injuries God. Nope. But here's to hoping Meiners' injury is nothing serious serious ... somehow I'm not holding my breath...
Thursday was all about the offense, for better and for worse.
Tackles for Loss – Darvin Ruise (1), Marvin Foster (1), Harold Brantley (1), Matt White (1);
Passes Broken Up – Darvin Ruise (2), Kony Ealy (1), Harold Brantley (1), Xavier Smith (1);
QB Sacks – Brad Madison (1), Jimmy Burge (1), Clayton Echard (1)
Fumbles Recovered – Harold Brantley (1)
Quite a bit of Darvin Ruise and Harold Brantley there, huh?
PK Trey Barrow was 13 of 17 on scrimmage FGs. 10 of 11 from inside 38; 3 of 6 on 39-plus yards— Dave Matter (@Dave_Matter) August 24, 2012
I'll take that. It isn't Groza Award-worthy, but after last year ... I'll take it.
"We're probably going to have four or five - or maybe more, maybe one less, I'm not sure - freshmen play," Pinkel said.
OK, this is just my opinion, so don't hold it against me if it doesn't come to fruition. But at this point, based on what we've seen in practice, I think WR Dorial Green-Beckham, Evan Boehm, Sean Culkin, Russell Hansbrough and Harold Brantley are the favorites to play. All five have consistently earned reps with the second team (or better) during camp, and shown the physical maturity to hang with the big boys. Culkin looked great before a broken finger sidelined him a little over a week ago.
-- KC Star
As expected, I guess.