WR Darius White said he had a shoulder sprain in his right shoulder, won't require surgery— David Morrison (@DavidCMorrison) April 19, 2014
Whoever is controlling Jimmie Hunt in this game has his thumb mashing the B-button. Two spin moves to gain yards today.— Pete Scantlebury (@PeteScantlebury) April 19, 2014
Jimmie Hunt on his spin move: "I just figured I’d give a little sample of what the season’s going to look like."— David Morrison (@DavidCMorrison) April 19, 2014
Starting receivers having a good day for Missouri. Sasser, Hunt and White all have some big catches.— Pete Scantlebury (@PeteScantlebury) April 19, 2014
Receivers were the focus of a lot of attention at Saturday's Black & Gold Game, and they acquitted themselves just fine as a unit. Darius White reeled in an early 38-yarder from Maty Mauk, Jimmie Hunt and Bud Sasser combined for four catches and 55 yards, and walk-ons Gavin Otte and Eric Laurent started and finished the scrimmage with long catches. (Laurent's came against walk-on defenders; Otte's came while guarded in the slot by linebacker Clarence Green.)
In all, Mizzou quarterbacks completed 63 percent of their passes for the day (27 of 43), and the only drop I'm recalling off-hand came when tight end Jason Reese missed a pretty easy throw from Eddie Printz.
The more I think about this receiving corps, the more it reminds me of the 2010 unit -- good but not elite, capable of a couple of huge games (Oklahoma) and a couple of stinkers (Nebraska, Texas Tech). In this analogy, Bud Sasser is a slightly smaller, slightly faster Wes Kemp, Darius White is Jerrell Jackson (a decent-sized target with occasional explosiveness), and Jimmie Hunt is T.J. Moe (tough, physical, and typically close to the line of scrimmage). And I guess that means Gavin Otte is Brandon Gerau.
There are differences, of course; first of all, there is more speed in this unit. Darius White is both bigger and faster than Jackson, and entering his senior year he has both shown more potential than Jackson and proven less overall. He looks the part, but he only has a handful of career catches. Sasser, meanwhile, is indeed more of a deep threat than Kemp, but he's at his best when he's making tough, physical catches; like Kemp, he's also a pretty fantastic blocker. White, meanwhile, also has more potential explosiveness than Moe, as evidenced by his high rate of touchdowns and the fact that the first 12 catches of his career netted 253 yards. Also: there is no Michael Egnew, at least not that we know of.
As with 2010, the receiving corps is made up of solid blockers, big targets, and potential efficiency weapons. And for a play-maker like Maty Mauk, maybe some built-in efficiency is exactly what you want to see. But we also know that the overall play-making ceiling is lower than in 2013 (that's what happens when you lose both Dorial Green-Beckham and L'Damian Washington), and we know that, like Jackson and Kemp, players in this unit have been occasionally plagued by drops (see: 2014 Cotton Bowl). The upside here isn't completely elite, but ... in 2010, with a less-than-elite corps of receivers, Mizzou won 10 games with timely big pass plays, a strong running game, and a strong defense. I think we'd probably take that in 2014, yes?