I think I've figured out the two prettiest words in the English language: PRACTICE REPORT!!!!!!!1!!!! WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!1!!!1!!!!!!!!!!!!
DAVE...excuse me, forgot to take caps lock off...Dave Matter, take it away.
The players have gone with "Beast M.O.D.E." as their official team slogan for the season. But they’re not sharing its secret meaning. "We can’t talk about it," Weatherspoon said. "It’s a team motto. It’s just a place you want to go, kind of like the Incredible Hulk. You get on the field, you just have to transform into something else besides just a regular guy. I won’t get into the acronym, but you can know it stands for something. We’ll talk about it later. When the season’s over, you and I’ll talk about it." Fair enough, Capt. Spoon.
There’s certainly a new defensive boss running the show. That much was obvious midway through practice when defensive coordinator Dave Steckel chewed out safety Kenji Jackson after what looked like a blown coverage on a deep pass to Alexander. "Get me a free safety!" Stec shouted as Del Howard replaced Jackson. "Are you kidding me?"
Other reports...and there are quite a few (WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!)...
PowerMizzou: Camp Is Open
Speaking of freshmen, the first one I noticed when I walked out to the practice fields was Donovan Bonner. On signing day, Bruce Walker told me Bonner was "a sandwich away from being a linebacker." He must have stopped at Subway on his way to Columbia. He looks good. His big brother in camp is Sean Weatherspoon. It's too early to speculate which youngsters might play, but I've got my eye on No. 8.
PowerMizzou: Freshman Q&A: TJ Moe
PM: Coming in, people were speculating what position you'd play. Safety, running back, even quarterback were all mentioned. Do you feel like you can best utilize your talent as a receiver?
MOE (laughing): That's what they think. It's fine with me. I've been put in the position where I can do a lot of things. I've really been blessed. When I was a little kid I played fullback, running back, I even played nose guard. I've been playing all over the place. I played receiver when I was a sophomore in high school, so I'm just getting re-adjusted to it a little bit. It's not really a difficult thing. I know what's going on, and like I said, the older guys are doing a great job to make sure we know what's going on. It's really not a hard transition. Either way, I've got some learning to do - everyone does. I mean, we're going to college now.
Mutigers.com: Football Practice Report
Highlights from the day came from linebackers Will Ebner and Andrew Gachkar early on, as they both grabbed interceptions in passing game drill work. Later on, when it came down to 11-on-11 scrimmaging, QB Blaine Gabbert looked good in his few plays as he hooked up with TE Andrew Jones on a mid-range gainer, before showing good speed on the next play when he tucked the ball after finding no-one open downfield. He got about five yards downfield in a hurry, before he was met by Sean Weatherspoon, who could only touch Gabbert down. Spoon closed in a hurry and he most definitely would have laid a big hit on the QB were it a live game situation.
KC Star: As practice begins, Tigers aren't talking like Big 12 also-rans
So what if Nebraska has been picked to win the Big 12 North? Or Kansas? Frankly, most Missouri players don’t take issue with those who champion Kansas.
"Kansas, they’ve got a lot of guys coming back," said linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, another senior captain. "Everybody knows it. It’s understood. "I won’t get into Nebraska. It’s Nebraska. They’re going to get their respect. Good luck to those guys."
Post-Dispatch: New era begins at MU
So, on his first official day as the frontrunner to become the Tigers' 2009 starter, Gabbert wasn't afraid to use a little hyperbole when asked how he gauges a good performance in practice.
"Score on every pass,'' he said. "You have to expect the best out of yourself, so I'm trying to complete every pass, make something happen and eliminate the mental errors."
The Missourian: Cornerback enjoys return to field as Missouri football practices start
"Today, day one, (they) have a tendency not to run to the ball. We were on top of everybody trying to get them to run to the football. Having pride of what you do on the field, that no coach questions your effort on the field — that's what we're trying to get done today," Ford said.
"I just want playmakers at that position. That's a position where guys have to produce, be fundamentally sound, and make plays for our defense. If we can get that out of our corners, we're going to be very successful."
The Trib has video as well.
Gary Pinkel, Aug. 6 from Dave Matter on Vimeo.
And in case you missed the comments from yesterday, the team's plans for continuously honoring Aaron O'Neal are freaking great.
Another "in case you missed it": Preseason Depth Chart.
Rivals.com has made a list of the nation's biggest shoes to fill. Guess who makes the list.
Since it's still K-State Week, I'm including this "Are K-State fans expecting too much?" link (via BOTC). And because Illinois is first up on the docket, here's a summer look at UI from Rivalry, Esq.
Feel like continuing the Big 12 vs SEC debate? Bruce Feldman's your man!
Finally, nothing to do with Mizzou, but Stewart Mandel takes a look at the 25th anniversary of BYU's national title and asks, can it ever happen again? I say yes...if it's a case with circumstances a lot like 1984:
1) It needs to be a team who has been good for a while (like Boise State) and can get a head start on the polls. Heading into 1984, BYU had finished 1983 ranked 7th in the country and though they weren't ranked in the 1984 preseason (they had lost Steve Young), the name recognition bumped them up the list pretty quickly. They were 8th by Week Three and 4th heading into November.
2) Everything has to break right. In 1984, everybody who got to the top of the polls lost. Auburn started at #1 and lost their first game. Miami-FL made it to #1, then immediately ceded the spot to Nebraska, who lasted three weeks. Texas took over for two, then Washington laid claim to 1st place for a month. They lost, and Nebraska jumped back to #1, but only for a week. They lost to OU, and BYU took #1. Here's the final pre-bowl AP poll. BYU had not played much of a tough schedule (they did try--they played preseason #3 Pittsburgh in the first week of the season and beat them, but Pitt crashed and burned at 3-7-1, which didn't help), but I think at #1 in the AP Poll with everybody else having suffered losses, BYU would have played OU in the BCS title game that year. It's certainly possible that Washington would have snuck ahead of them, but they had only played one team better than 7-5 themselves (USC), and they lost that game. I think BYU would have snuck in.
Oh yeah, and...