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The 2011 Black & Gold Game: Reactions

Tough afternoon for T. Gabbert.  (Photo by Bill Carter.)
Tough afternoon for T. Gabbert. (Photo by Bill Carter.)

In the Black & Gold Game, players basically fall into four categories: those who were noticeable in a good way, noticeable in a bad way, completely unnoticeable in a good way, and unnoticeable in a bad way.  So those will be the categories of my B&G reactions.

Noticeable (in a good way)

* Marcus Murphy.  Seven touches (four receptions, three rushes), 61 yards.  Nothing wrong with that.  James Franklin had no trouble leaning on him with flares when his first option or two were covered, and it paid off.

* De’Vion Moore.  Ran hard and smart.  Not as fast as Murphy or Henry Josey, not as quick as Kendial Lawrence … but still probably the best overall back in the stable.

* Marvin Foster.  He was in the backfield a lot, often not by design.  And he didn’t get injured walking to the table to accept his Most Improved Defensive Lineman award!  He still has time to reach the amount of potential we irrationally think he has.

* Kony Ealy.  Speaking of in the backfield a lot … Ealy looks, plays and acts like Aldon Smith.  He had 3.5 tackles and a sack.  He looks the part of a four-star end.

* Brad Madison.  Dude got into the backfield whenever he wanted.

* Trey Barrow.  Removing the 30-yarder he had downed around the 10, his other five punts averaged a solid 48.0 yards … into a strong breeze.  He looked tremendous.  His counterpart Christian Brinser looked pretty good himself (three punts, 46.0 average).

* Darvin Ruise.  He broke up two passes and looked solid in pass coverage.  Between Ruise, Tavon Bolden and maybe Kenronte Walker, Mizzou can almost run the nickel package as their base formation, with these players lining up as both the fifth DB and third linebacker.  Nice flexibility.

* E.J. Gaines and Trey Hobson.  Mizzou’s most physical cornerbacks both made plays.  Gaines’ mix of instinct and athleticism is really, really exciting.

* Dave Steckel.  God, it’s fun watching him on the sideline.

* Robert Steeples’ hair.  Tremendous.

Unnoticeable (in a good way)

* Braylon Webb and Daniel Easterly.  Safeties stand out either by making huge hits or getting burned.  Sometime in the second half, we openly wondered if Easterly had actually seen the field; turns out, he was third on the team in tackles.  You want big hits, but in their absence, you want your safeties to blend into the scenery, and both Easterly and Webb did that.

* Grant Ressel.  Okay, so he only attempted one field goal, and it was a chip shot.  Still … he struggled last spring (and ended up just fine), and it’s always nicer to see him not struggling, no?

* Flags.  There weren’t many.  Particularly on the offensive line, that is a good thing.

Noticeable (in a bad way)

* Tyler Gabbert.  It was one scrimmage, and he’s apparently looked good in others, so it wouldn’t be smart to take this too seriously.  But he was still unimpressive, going 8-for-22 and forcing the issue on some passes over the middle.  Without the two-hand touch rule, he’d have ripped off a couple of nice runs, but this wasn’t Gabbert’s finest hour.

* Second-String Offensive Line.  Thankfully they are the second-stringers (and partially third-stringers, since first-stringers Elvis Fisher and Austin Wuebbels didn’t play), as they were letting the No. 1 defensive line into the backfield quite a bit.  The run blocking was decent, but on every pass, either Brad Madison or a tackle were in the backfield almost instantaneously.

Unnoticeable (in a bad way)

* Jimmie Hunt.  Actually, all three Class of 2010 receivers -- Hunt, Marcus Lucas and Bud Sasser.  We were really hoping to see quite a bit from this trio, and instead, we got five catches for 22 yards (three for 15 from Lucas).  As always, spring game stats don’t exactly translate to season results -- T.J. Moe had one catch for three yards, after all -- but still. This was our first opportunity to see two of the three in action … and we barely saw them.

* Jacquies Smith.  Not worried about him by any means, but … did he play?  Anybody know for sure?

Noticeable (good and bad)

* Jared Parham.  He made 3.0 tackles and had a nice strip of T.J. Moe, but he also had a couple of bad missed tackles as well.

* T.J. Moe.  Looked good on a sweep early, but suffered a fumble and didn’t really seem on the same page with James Franklin.  Not worried in the slightest, but still.

* Ashton Glaser.  It doesn’t really look like he’s in the race for starter at the moment -- he didn’t see the field until the second half.  But in said second half, against second- and third-stringers, he was extremely efficient.  For whatever that’s worth.

* Eric Waters.  He looks the part, and he led non-RBs with three catches for 23 yards … but he failed to pull in a couple more catchable balls.  The tight end position is only deeper with him involved, however.