2012 Mizzou Fall Football Practice: Day 6 Links And Analysis

Expect a more over-the-top motion from James Franklin this year, apparently. (Photo via Bill Carter.)

Okay, so the reverse psychology approach to dealing with the Injury Bug not only made me a little nauseous, but it also didn't work very well, as Sean Culkin broke a finger.

Quarterbacks

It looks like you’ve changed your delivery some? Is that just adjusting to the surgery?

James Franklin: I’ve changed it a little bit. Last year I got some bad habits when my arm was bothering me a little bit and I dropped the ball low.

You’d use more of a wind-up, right?

Yes, sir, I’d wind up and sidearm it. So, I’ve really focused since the surgery on keeping the ball high and getting a higher release instead of holding it so low and winding up.

-- The Trib

Mauk and Berkstresser seem to be good friends, right?

David Yost: They're tight. The sheer amount of time you spend as a quarterback, you kind of gravitate to them because they're going through the same experiences you are. Having older guys, they've been through this before. You can kind of lean on them. They're fun in the meetings. Corbin and Maty kind of sit beside each other in the meetings. They've had two warnings so far. It's like the backseat of the car, 'If I have to pull this car over...' They like to joke around and play around a little bit. That's good. They know when to get serious. They're all going through the same experience.

-- The Trib

I'm definitely curious to see James Franklin's delivery now. It was a pretty prolonged, stiff motion at times, and now we know that's probably because he was hurt more than we knew.

Meanwhile, regarding Mauk vs. Berkstresser, as I mentioned on 610 yesterday afternoon, the race for the 2014 starting quarterback is going to be fascinating, not only because Mauk and Berkstresser seem to like each other quite a bit, but also because they seem to bring different skill sets to the table. Add Trent Hosick to the mix next year, and you've got another unique guy. That battle will be determined by not only who plays better (unless one is just head-and-shoulders above the others, of course), but also which direction Mizzou coaches want to take the offense. It could be interesting. But I'm ready to enjoy two more strong years of James Franklin first.

Running Backs

While Kendial Lawrence and Marcus Murphy - who primarily served as a kickoff-returner as a freshman - are both 5-9, under 200 pounds and threats in the open field, current third-stringer Jared McGriff-Culver provides the team an option to advance in short-yardage situations. The 5-11, 250-pound tailback only rushed 16 times a year ago but played in all 13 games.

Yost said the team isn't afraid to use different tailbacks for specialized situations or rely on its depth as it did out of necessity in 2011.

"We seem to always have a bunch of small good guys," Franklin said. "We're going to have one starter, but we've got a lot of guys who are going to play and make an impact."

-- AP

One still has to figure at least one freshman gets into the mix ... though I certainly wish we'd heard more of Greg White so far in practice reports. Not sure his name has been mentioned even once.

Receiving Corps

Pinkel: "For the most part, the only injury change for us is Sean Culkin, he ended up breaking a finger. The extent of it we don't know, will he need surgery I don't know, they might pin it, but we'll find out later this afternoon after the medical staff takes a look."

-- MUtigers.com

"When Sean and his family got back from their official visit, there was a school waiting at their house for him," [Mizzou assistant Brian] Jones said. "Word gets out when the University of Missouri starts recruiting someone."

Jones resisted disclosing the school — though new Kansas Coach Charlie Weis was in Largo a few days later to meet Culkin — but the Tigers landed their target, who's every bit of 6-5, 230 pounds and looks like MU's next prototype pass-catching tight end.

-- The Trib

It was definitely Bud Sasser’s most productive day of camp and maybe his best in three years.

"He’s improving," Pinkel said of the 6-2, 220-pound redshirt sophomore. "He made some plays today. We have really the possibility of playing a wide receiver or playing a tight end in that position. So, we can do a multitude of things and move people in different areas. That’s good for him to get that experience there. For some things we’re going to ask for a bigger receiver, a tight end-type receiver that’s going to work best for us. He’s improving in the program. He’s doing a really good job."

-- The Trib

Man oh man, would it be disappointing if Culkin had to miss any game time with injury after the raving reviews we've heard of him to date. But in the interim, it's nice seeing that Bud Sasser is stepping up. We expected a lot of him when he signed a couple of years ago, and he still has three years to produce.

Offensive Line

On Wednesday, sophomore Anthony Gatti took most of the reps with the first team at right tackle, while junior Max Copeland and freshman Evan Boehm shared practice time at the left guard spot.

Senior right guard Jack Meiners and Fisher are helping the younger players step in and learn.

"It's always good to have a couple older guys in the mix in there," Fisher said. "When Justin (Britt) comes back on the right side he'll be pretty well off."

-- The Missourian

ROCK AND ROLL MAX COPELAND, BABY.

Defensive Line

Matt Hoch was the star of Missouri's spring practice. After the spring game, defensive line coach Craig Kuligowski told his new pupil that he'd enter the fall as a starter, alongside Sheldon Richardson. During March and April, Richardson sat on the sidelines, arm in a sling as he recovered from shoulder surgery. He remained an active part of the team, however, and the reason was Hoch. Richardson made sure he kept his little brother in line.

The transition from teammates to something more came quickly to Richardson and Hoch.

"It surprised me a lot, because it happened instantly," Richardson said. "We laughed about it, and then we went on with it. When I was in the sling, he would ask me what I saw wrong and how he could improve. I gave him my point of view, and it just so happened that Coach Kul told him the same thing."

-- PowerMizzou

The door is open. Winston and Brantley are big enough to factor in the mix, said defensive line coach Craig Kuligowski.

"I talked to Coach about it," Brantley said. "He said if I came and performed like he thought I could I could have a chance to play."

Brantley has worked with the second unit during 1-on-1 pass-rush drills.

His size — 6-foot-2, 280 pounds — and burst off the line are his top attributes. He played basketball and threw the shot put and discus in high school.

As a defensive lineman, he made 48 tackles during his senior year at Hershey High School and also ran for more than 800 yards as a fullback. Still, he was lightly recruited — his only other offer was from Syracuse, according to Rivals.com.

That doesn't matter now.

-- The Trib

Can't wait for the 2012 jumbo formation with Sheldon Richardson at fullback and Harold Brantley at halfback.

I mean ... what?

Linebacking Corps

Wracked by injuries during his Mizzou career, the senior linebacker has immersed himself in a training regimen designed specifically to strengthen muscles that might have played a role in previous ailments.

"When you get injured, certain muscles compensate for each other and it creates weaknesses in your body," Ebner said. "We concentrated on finding those weaknesses and isolating those muscles a little more, doing extra work to strengthen those and even the body back out."

-- Post-Dispatch

PM: Who's your big brother on the team, and what's the best advice they've given you?

SCHERER: Will (Ebner) and Andrew (Wilson). A lot of it is just helping me with my plays and the playbook. They've taught me it's kind of a process and you slowly learn stuff. They work you in more and more the more you learn, so they told me to be patient and kind of told me how I've been doing and stuff, and getting nicknames from guys like this.

Jack Meiners walks over and puts his arm around Scherer.

PM: What's his nickname?

Jack Meiners: Magic Mike. That's why they call him Magic Mike.

SCHERER: Because of him.

PM: Is he a good dancer?

MEINERS: Because the law says you cannot touch, but Mike sees a lot of lawbreakers out there, if you know what I mean.

-- PowerMizzou

From this point forward, I vow to never call Mike Scherer anything but Magic Mike Scherer. HOLD ME TO THIS.

Secondary

David Johnson had an interception of Maty Mauk during one-on-one drills. Johnson is a speedster who has a chance to make a big impression at corner this camp.

-- PowerMizzou

With Kip Edwards dinged up a bit, it sounds like both Big Possum Randy Ponder and David Johnson have had some nice moments. I was hoping to hear more from Ernest Payton by this point in camp, but it's still early.

Miscellany

Memorial Stadium is looking pretty good these days. The seats have been power-washed, the new seating section in the south end zone looks awesome and the permanent bleachers in the north end zone provide a nice seating option for fans. I've been told that when the grassy hill in the north end zone is moved up after the season to create more concourse room, the track in that end zone will be eliminated (round of applause). However, I’ve also been told that the concrete track that runs along the east and west sidelines won’t be going anywhere because it creates necessary room for the fire truck and cheerleaders.

-- KC Star

Good to know.

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