Redshirt freshman quarterback Maty Mauk was the story of Saturday's scrimmage after leading Missouri in both passing and rushing while dueling James Franklin and Corbin Berkstresser for the No. 1 job. On Tuesday, the first spring practice since the scrimmage, Mauk moved up a spot in the stretch lines, from No. 3 to No. 2, slipping past Berkstresser, who struggled the most among the three contenders on Saturday.
MU doesn't release updated depth charts during spring practices, but the stretch lines are usually a strong indicator of where things stand.
Beyond that, Gary Pinkel wasn't saying much about the competition. Any separation between the quarterbacks?
"I don't discuss evaluation during the spring," he said. "It isn't what we do. We'll just see where it goes, keep competing."
First-year offensive coordinator Josh Henson, promoted from offensive line coach after David Yost resigned following the 2012 season, acknowledged, "My world has changed a lot" as he goes from saying this is what he would do in that position … to now actually doing it.
"I’m really excited about the season, anxious for the season," he said last week. "I’m looking forward to the opportunity to prove what we are. So that part about me, to tell you the truth, it’s kind of got me like (angry)."
Southern Mississippi went after Henson after the season, so much so that he recalled being at a Columbia gas station and seeing a report he had taken the job.
"I was like, ‘Really?’ " he said, laughing.
He added, "I was never looking to leave Missouri, but sometimes opportunities come along and it’s like, ‘If I’m going to change who I am, if I want to change the perception of who I am as a coach, I’ve got to do this.’ "
-- There were no apparent changes at running back or any of the wide-receiver positions, along with the defensive line. Kony Ealy missed Tuesday's practice because of a family matter, according to a team spokesperson. In his place, Shane Ray led the stretch lines at that end position.
-- Although Mitch Hall received some time with the first-team offense at left guard on Saturday, Max Copeland appears to remain the first-team left guard. He was one of the honorary captains to lead stretches on Tuesday, along with defensive end Brayden Burnett.
Pinkel went out of his way Tuesday to state that several young players have shown enough growth this offseason to emerge as possible contributors. Two of them, it appears, are sophomore guard Connor McGovern and sophomore cornerback David Johnson, both of whom he praised for their rapid improvement.
"This is the time of year when you see young players…and you say, this guy is close to being ready to play," Pinkel said. "It’s nice to see we’ve got a lot of guys that fall into that category. It makes you sleep a little better…you normally have four or five. I think we have 10 or 11 now. Other than learning plays and the system, that’s what spring practice is about."
Five responses to yesterday's practice reports...
1. "It isn't what we do." I've said it before, and I'll say it again: The "what we do" stuff annoys a lot of people, but it entertains me greatly.
2. Of all the unheralded underclassmen I would have chosen to have a good spring, Connor McGovern and David Johnson would have been at or near the top of the list. That they are doing well makes me feel much, much better about two of the potentially weakest points on this team: offensive guard and No. 2 cornerback.
3. Darvin Ruise vs. Kentrell Brothers is becoming a pretty interesting, back-and-forth battle, apparently. I see Brothers as the more high-upside option (based on teeny, tiny sample sizes, obviously), so I hope he eventually pulls ahead, but there's nothing wrong with a good fight.
4. The tight end position is getting kind of banged up. Better now than in five months.
5. Justin Britt is already (mostly) back. That's crazy.