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2013 Mizzou Football: First fall scrimmage brings ... good news? Really? That can't be right

Consider this your Sunday live thread.

Kentrell Brothers might have a role to play in the nickel.
Kentrell Brothers might have a role to play in the nickel.
Bill Carter

1. Links and recaps
Defense Claims First Scrimmage of Fall Camp

Even though the defense won the scrimmage, the Tiger offense made some big plays which drew applause from the crowd of families and friends in attendance. The first big strike came from senior QB James Franklin, who hit a streaking senior WR Marcus Lucas in stride behind the #2 secondary, and Lucas (who led all Tigers with 104 receiving yards on just 3 receptions) turned it up field for a 75-yard touchdown. After the #1 defense held the #2 offense without a first down in two out of three series, redshirt freshman QB Maty Mauk found a mismatch and hit connected with senior WR Jaleel Clark for a 65-yard catch-and-run touchdown.

Franklin ended the scrimmage 11-of-19 passing for 174 yards with two touchdowns and one interception, while Mauk finished 11-of-22 for 211 yards with one touchdown and one interception overall. Sophomore QB Corbin Berkstresser was 10-of-21 passing for 119 yards, while true freshmen Eddie Printz (15-of-16 for 97 yards) and Trent Hosick (3-of-10 for 21 yards and one interception) also got their chance to handle the offense.

The big plays weren't limited to the Tiger offense Saturday. The top defensive unit had three takeaways late in the day, with two coming against the #1 offense. The first came on a beautiful leaping interception by senior CB E.J. Gaines, who read a deep fade ball intended for sophomore WR Dorial Green-Beckham perfectly. Gaines jumped high to secure the ball in his outstretched hands before Green-Beckham could adjust to the ball. A few plays later, Franklin hit junior WR Bud Sasser on a quick out which gained five yards, but senior LB Donovan Bonner came up in a hurry and jarred the ball loose to create the turnover. The offense would recover on the next series, however, as Franklin hit Lucas for a 20-yard gain to the 16-yardline, and after a pass interference penalty, Franklin and Sasser hooked up on a 2-yard touchdown pass.

The Trib
Scrimmage Stats: Straight from the big yellow notebook
Scrimmage Notes: In which we get to watch some actual Missouri football
High snaps irk MU's new center

* Got to see a couple of freshmen working with the 2s on defense. The ones that stuck out most were defensive tackle Josh Augusta and cornerback Aarion Penton. So, while that doesn't necessarily mean they're definitely going to be part of the rotation right away, it at least means they're a little further progressed than their counterparts.

* Got to see a fair amount of nickel as well. Guys like Cortland Browning, E.J. Gaines and Randy Ponder held down the nickel slot. My best guess for the first nickel defense right now is Gaines at the nickel and Johnson/Gibson/whoever as the third corner.

The Missourian
Franklin, Missouri football pick up the pace in first scrimmage

What about the pace of the offense, just how much faster are things going to move this season?

"I want to be fast enough so that it’s an advantage for us to help us win games," offensive coordinator Josh Henson said.

Mizzou wraps up first fall scrimmage
Gaines gives Mizzou a spark in secondary

Gaines and Missouri’s first-team defense played only a few series against the first-team offense, but he helped hold outside receivers L’Damian Washington and Dorial Green-Beckham to zero receptions on those possessions.

"He’s an All-American, man," Ealy said of Gaines, who earned third-team All-SEC preseason honors. "E.J.’s just one of those guys you can count on to make the play if you’re not there."

On his biggest play Saturday, Gaines stepped in front of Green-Beckham, giving away seven inches to the 6-6 sophomore, and snatched an underthrown pass from Franklin.

"I just attacked it at its highest point like coach (Cornell) Ford teaches us," he said. "We do that drill literally every day."

Tigers spread the ball in first scrimmage
Scrimmage Analysis by position
PMTV-HD: Gary Pinkel 8/10
PMTV-HD: QBs react to scrimmage

Defensive Line: Earlier this week, Kony Ealy told us we were going to see a different player. He made a lot of plays on Saturday, something we'll have more on early this week. Shane Ray is a guy that's going to figure in, especially when Ealy moves inside in Mizzou's "candy" formation. Michael Sam is consistent on the other side. Lucas Vincent had a couple of big stops on Saturday and I think he solidifies his spot starting next to Matt Hoch. True freshman Josh Augusta was getting reps with the second-team and is definitely a guy to watch over the next two weeks.

Linebacker: I noticed when Mizzou went to the nickel formation that Kentrell Brothers was on the field with Andrew Wilson. Brothers had an interception during the scrimmage. Along with Donovan Bonner and Darvin Ruise, that should be Mizzou's top four. Donavin Newsom had a safety early in the scrimmage and I think he'll push for playing time as well.

Bless you, Candy Formation. May you always live on.

Mizzou Network
Fall Camp 2013: Scrimmage #1 Highlights

2. James Franklin is (all but) your starting quarterback

KC Star: James Franklin makes starting bid in MU’s first scrimmage
Post-Dispatch: Franklin states his case for QB job
PowerMizzou: Scrimmage Notebook: Close to a decision?
The Trib: Position battles, rotations and more

I loved that last Trib piece there. Ross Dellenger tracked the number of snaps players got at key positions that are supposedly up for grabs (quarterback, left guard) and gave us a pretty clear picture of who the coaches consider the leaders at both positions. The results aren't surprising, but I loved the approach

3. Duron Singleton is a Tiger after all

KC Star: Three-star safety joins Missouri’s football team after all

So ... uh ... is this ... good news? I don't ... how do you ... I'm not sure how to react to this.