2012 Mizzou Fall Football Practice: Day 2 Links And Analysis

Apparently Jimmie Hunt has picked up where he left off in the Black & Gold Game. (Photo via Bill Carter.)

Consider this your Saturday live thread.

Once again, I'll try to cull a blurb from each of the above articles, along with some Twitter posts, to figure out the ongoing narratives from camp. And the positivity is making me downright nervous.

Quarterbacks

It was another promising day for quarterback James Franklin, who looked sharp throwing throughout the day and was able to pull the trigger on more downfield throws. Gary Pinkel was especially pleased with Franklin, who is exactly 19 weeks removed from labrum surgery in his throwing shoulder.

"Honestly, he looks right now like he did during the bowl practices," Pinkel said. "Honestly, I think we’re all really surprised. Even the medical staff. You’d have to ask" trainer "Rex that or" surgeon "Pat Smith that. … I thought we’d be nursing it through August. I’d see James walking through the hallways this summer and he’d say, ‘I’m doing great. I’m feeling good.’ And that was the same information I was getting from the medical staff. But if you would have told me when he had the surgery in the spring that he’d look like this, I would have had a much better summer."

-- The Trib

"They're going to tell me the same thing as last year, just slide and stuff," he said. "I'm probably going to be more cautious … just because of my shoulder and just being extra safe, even if it feels fine and I feel like I can run into a brick wall."

Receiver T.J. Moe said Franklin's arm appeared "back to normal" and was especially comforted to see Franklin pump-fake, tuck the ball and run when a receiver broke off a pass pattern differently than Franklin expected.

"And that's kind of how you can tell he's back to normal," Moe said, "because you won't be able to do that if you have any kind of problem with your shoulder."

-- The Trib

"From a quarterback standpoint, they want me more vocal," Franklin said. "Coming into this, and how my dad (Willie) raised me, I just lead by example. I really had to make the adjustment of being more vocal. … I'm trying to attack that and be more vocal with it so I can get a better response from the guys. I see that over the summer it helped, and so that's what I'm really going to try to apply this summer in this upcoming season."

-- Fox Sports MW

It is an odd feeling, going from "I really hope James Franklin didn't lose much arm strength -- he didn't have much to lose" to "Wait ... his arm's stronger now?" in two days. Just don't overdo it, James. For the love of God, don't overdo it.

Running Backs

While running 10-yard sprints yesterday, Josey, his red injury jersey flapping atop his shoulders, made cuts without feeling pain on his reconstructed left knee.

He was ecstatic about it afterward.

"To me," the Missouri running back said, "that was a real test today. For me to be able to cut like I was and not feel any pain, that was really good." […]

In some of his first public comments since suffering a severe knee injury against Texas last year — he tore his MCL, ACL and ruptured his patellar tendon — Josey estimated he's "70-80" percent healthy and said he has "a good chance" to play this season. Missouri Coach Gary Pinkel and trainer Rex Sharp aren't so sure about that.

-- The Trib

Friend-of-the-blog Matt Moore wrote an interesting piece about Brandon Roy yesterday at Pro Basketball Talk. The gist is simple: watching Brandon Roy's comeback attempt makes you both thrilled and nervous as hell. Well ... he's not even a Blazers or T-Wolves fan. So multiply Matt's feelings by about 25, and you've got what I go through every time I read a "Henry Josey might play" quote. And if he actually does play in 2012? God, I don't know if I'll be able to watch. I'll be too nervous. If he plays, that means he's been fully cleared by Rex Sharp and the medical staff, so that helps. But still ... I don't know if I can handle it. I'm just going to assume (like Gary Pinkel) that we won't see him until 2013. That makes the nerves go away, and I'm going to keep thinking it.

Receiving Corps

Much like Egnew's situation, Eric Waters has not contributed very much in games heading into his third season. He has just two career catches for 46 yards and a touchdown.

Waters did not want to compare himself to his predecessor, though he said he tried to learn as much as he could from Egnew when the two used to room together on team road trips.

"I really learned how to practice hard," Waters said. "Just picked up little things as far as route running, what kind of moves to make, what to expect when I'm blocking off the line, what to look for, how to watch film. All of those different things because me and him were always the first ones to watch film before practice."

-- The Missourian

Before long, Yost was yelling at another player. "Burst up the field! Burst Burst!"

And then he called for Marcus Lucas, nearby in the drill line.

"Marcus," he said. "Get ‘em going."

"What he’s starting to do more and more is what he wants to do after he gets the ball," Yost said. "That ‘s what I see this year in practice. ... There’s a purpose to it."

Lucas responds: "I got it coach."

It’s Lucas’ turn in line and he runs the expected route and he makes the catch, ball away from his belly. Then comes the part where he separates himself.

-- The Maneater

If you didn’t know anything about Missouri’s receivers and tight ends and attended a practice for the first time, it would be impossible not to come away with a strong impression of the athletes at those positions, especially with the freshman infusion. Hunt is off to a strong start, catching everything thrown his way during team drills. I’m not sure Missouri will ever duplicate the mass of skilled receivers and tight ends that it had in 2007-08, but this group, if nothing else, passes the eyeball test.

-- The Trib

You’ve got Dorial at the X position (outside receiver). Is that where you envision him playing or could be become more of a slot receiver?

Dave Yost: That’s where we’re starting him, learning the X position because that’s a position we can single up in our offense and having that ability like we want to have with Marcus (Lucas) and Rolandis (Woodland). Also, he’s being cross-trained to play inside. Again, we can within the system, move guys inside. Danario (Alexander) we put him out by himself and moved him inside and moved him all around. We want to have that ability. It’s just how much do you want to put on his plate with formations right now? Because there’s a lot of plays to begin with. So we’re trying to keep the formations as simple as possible for him so we can get the basis of the plays down. Within the plays you still have to learn all the routes.

-- The Trib

Jimmie Hunt catches a nice touchdown pass, Eric Waters catches everything, Marcus Lucas steps up in the leadership category, Levi Copelin is looking good, and DGB is still floating out there, ready to make an impact. Oh yeah, and T.J. Moe is still T.J. Moe. There is so much to like about this group, and I'm not even sure I've read L'Damian Washington's name yet in two days.

Offensive Line

"I didn't know if I was going to be able to come back and play football period, so to come out here feels great," Fisher said. "My knee hurts, but I don't go into pass-rush drills and think, 'I'm going to kick back and my knee's going to get messed up again.' I don't think like that."

-- Post-Dispatch

I'm not going to lie: all of these comeback stories are just making me nervous. The volume of injuries last year was just too scarring and staggering, so with every "He's healthy now!" article (referring to anyone from Elvis Fisher, to James Franklin, to Henry Josey to a certain degree, to Wil Ebner, to Brad Madison and Sheldon Richardson below), the guard goes up.

Defensive Line

In a season full of injury-riddled inconsistency, there was one constant: A weekly conversation with the coaching staff concerning his shoulder, rendered largely useless by a torn labrum and a dislocation suffered in August camp.

"Do you want to get it fixed?," Gary Pinkel recalled asking Madison.

"No, no, I'll get it fixed next year," Madison would respond, according to Pinkel.

Madison's desire to continue to play as a junior made one word stick out in Pinkel's mind.

"Amazing."

-- PowerMizzou

[Pinkel on Matt Hoch]: "He weighs almost 300 pounds now, too, so he's had a little bit of a transformation body-wise. I think when he was playing tight end, I think he was really keeping his weight down. Honestly, he's where we thought he might go because we thought he had size potential, and obviously he's a real good athlete. He's very strong, very competitive, so we thought it was a great move for us. He's worked really hard, he's just got to keep getting better."

-- MUtigers.com

Richardson had fleeting thoughts about entering the 2012 NFL draft but knew his shoulder needed surgery. He's put off those dreams, for now.

"Right now, I'm trying to win the SEC," he said. "And I feel like I'm not leaving until I get it."

Richardson missed spring practices again after undergoing surgery in January and ballooned to 315 pounds. Finally part of an offseason regimen at MU, Richardson slimmed down to 285 over the summer and melted his body fat to 23 percent.

"I'm an entirely different person," he said. "I feel like I'm back at high school speed with college strength. … The game fits me now instead of me fitting the game."

-- The Trib

LA LA LA ... can't hear you ... la la la...

Linebacking Corps

I was also impressed with the focus and drive of the linebackers as I watched them drill, but if I had Dave Steckel watching, I’d probably be pretty focused and driven, too. This factor cannot be mentioned often enough as Mizzou prepares for the challenge of life in the SEC, they have a great advantage in the coaching staff. Not only does Gary Pinkel have a bunch of outstanding coaches like Steckel working for him, but the consistency of having eight coaches with at least 11 seasons at the school on their resume is highly unusual, and a big, big plus for this team. I was asked this morning if there are changes in how practice was run with the move to the SEC. No way. This coaching staff knows exactly how to do things "The Mizzou Way," and they’d be fools to try to change much at all.

-- KBIA Sports

With some positions (defensive line, receiver), you want to hear a lot about the progress of certain players. At linebacker, I almost don't want anybody to notice them at all. Apparently freshman Mike Scherer looks good so far, and that's awesome, but the less news, the better here. We know what we've got at linebacker; more stories about the LBs probably means injuries.

Secondary

Kip Edwards made a nice play slipping a block from Lucas and defending a screen to McGaffie. Corner is a position I'm interested to watch. For all the talk about how things will get much tougher for the Tigers in the SEC, cornerback may be easier. The Big 12 has been a who's who at wide receiver the last few years. Nothing Edwards and the other corners will face this year will be any tougher than defending the likes of Jordy Nelson, Michael Crabtree, Dez Bryant, Ryan Broyles or Justin Blackmon.

-- PowerMizzou

The SEC has more offensive talent than we sometimes want to give credit for (just like saying the Big 12 doesn't play defense, limiting the SEC to defense-only is a bit lazy). But Gabe has a solid point about the depth of the conference receiving corps. Arkansas is pretty deep, as is LSU, but outside of Tennessee and potentially Texas A&M, no 2012 Mizzou opponent has a ridiculously deep receiving corps. Kip Edwards has had quiet the up-and-down career, but against lesser No. 2's (with E.J. Gaines facing No. 1's), he could potentially experience a bit of a Kevin Rutland-esque senior surge.

Miscellany

Nothing (specifically) football-related, but … damn.

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