I may or may not have almost parked in Coach Pinkel's parking spot. Personally, I think I did a better parking job.— Tim Nwachukwu (@NwachukwuTim) August 4, 2014
The sophomore gunslinger out of Ohio is a risk-taker in the Brett Favre mold, all trust and no fear; it's part of the package. That means some plays, some thread-the-needle throws, that his predecessor, Franklin, couldn't make happen. It probably also means some more interceptions, risky tosses and things that might make Tigers fans want to pull their hair out.
The bigger question -- if not outright concern -- is what might happen if Mauk would, heaven forbid, get hurt. As the last two seasons have shown, the SEC is brutal and unforgiving, and depth is a must -- especially at your most pivotal positions along the offensive two-deep. Will Eddie Printz or Corbin Berkstresser look as ready, as cool under fire, in emergency relief as Mauk looked when Franklin went down in Georgia last year? It's not a question Pinkel will want to answer. But it's one, history has shown, he just might have to.
Mizzou roster includes walk-on QB John Eierman, 21-year-old freshman from Warsaw, Mo. Played 3 years in minors with Rays organization.— Dave Matter (@Dave_Matter) August 4, 2014
Here's the Baseball-Reference page for new MU walk-on QB Johnny Eierman- http://t.co/JPA2safXLF.— David Morrison (@DavidCMorrison) August 4, 2014
Eierman, from Warsaw (not the Poland one) is 21 but has freshman eligibility. Was a 3rd-round pick of the Tampa Bay Rays in 2011.— David Morrison (@DavidCMorrison) August 4, 2014
The 5-foot-9 senior will work out exclusively at slot receiver over the next week as the coaches decide where his talents are best suited, Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said. [...]
"With our running-back depth, two-thirds of the time he’s on the sideline — or half or very close to," Pinkel said after Monday’s two-hour practice on Faurot Field. "We’d rather have him on the field. He can catch well. … There’s a lot of different ways to get your best players on the field. At times he’s one of our top players on the perimeter."
Hunt said he's down to about 205 pounds this season after playing at around 220 last year. He said he put on the weight after undergoing surgery last year, being off his feet for about two weeks. He rated his speed last year as a six. This year he says it's a nine or a 10: "This year, trust me, you're going to see the old Jimmie Hunt."
White said he's down to about 204 pounds now as well, with a 4.47-second 40-yard dash and a 42-inch vertical to boot.
Bud Sasser: "If we got that close last year, why not this year? Why not (go) farther?"— Gabe DeArmond (@GabeDeArmond) August 4, 2014
Pinkel on Copelin: "There's nothing illegal about it, except to play college football. It was a poor judgment on his part."— David Morrison (@DavidCMorrison) August 4, 2014
Pinkel said Copelin has apologized to the team. Darius White says Copelin is staying involved by teaching younger players during practice.— David Morrison (@DavidCMorrison) August 4, 2014
White on Copelin: "He really felt like this could have been his year, but things happen for a reason. He's out here motivating everyone."— David Morrison (@DavidCMorrison) August 4, 2014
And here's Nate Brown running a curl route. pic.twitter.com/EABf2Ilguw— David Morrison (@DavidCMorrison) August 4, 2014
From L to R: J'Mon Moore, Nate Brown, Bud Sasser and DeSean Blair. Levi Copelin runs upfield. pic.twitter.com/vizrg8DLZj— Pete Scantlebury (@PeteScantlebury) August 5, 2014
#Mizzou senior S Duron Singleton, on frosh WR Nate Brown: "He's the real deal." Thinks Brown will make an impact this year.— Pete Scantlebury (@PeteScantlebury) August 5, 2014
On the injury front, only two Tigers wore protective red injury bibs, but neither was considered to be a serious injury, according to Coach Pinkel. Braylon Webb (shoulder) and junior OL Connor McGovern (pectoral strain) went through most drills on Monday while being slightly limited, but both are expected to be back to full strength very soon.
"Embrace 'the suck,' because when stuff gets sucky, that's when you get better," Morse said.
Morse said he was inspired by the way quirky guard Max Copeland led the offensive line last year. He said he looks to take what he learned from the quotable Copeland, but also be himself.
"We've got some pretty good vocal leaders in Bud and Markus," Morse said. "Braylon and I, we're not saying we're complete mutes, but these guys know what needs to be said, and if we need to step in, we'll step in."
Mizzou LT Mitch Morse on O-line coach AJ Ricker's first day on the job: "He already knew all our names."— Dave Matter (@Dave_Matter) August 4, 2014
And here's Anthony Gatti punching stuff. pic.twitter.com/DZUsTwiJLg— David Morrison (@DavidCMorrison) August 4, 2014
There've been questions about the status of defensive tackle Harold Brantley this offseason, especially after his drop to fourth-string on the mid-summer depth chart. Pinkel wouldn't go into detail about Brantley on Monday, but said, "He's doing really well." Brantley stretched with the No. 2-defense.
Now that Ealy and Sam have moved on and Golden and Ray have moved into starting roles, the challenge becomes finding backups who can maintain the pressure without a hitch.
Redshirt freshmen Charles Harris and Marcus Loud will get the first shot. Harris (6-foot-3 and 235 pounds) is a quick, lithe rusher in the Ray mold, and the 6-4, 270-pound Loud is a larger end like Golden.
"I told them, ‘You don’t have to do the same thing me and Shane did,’ " Golden said. "I just ask for you to get out there, go hard, play your heart out and know what you’re doing. If they do that, I feel like they’ll be successful."
Golden said walk-on Justin Grava broke this poor Sackmaster in the line of duty. Good night, sweet prince. pic.twitter.com/MB2IFLKhg7— David Morrison (@DavidCMorrison) August 4, 2014
"The first thing I told them was, 'No. 1, keep your job,'" Pinkel said. "That’s what Coach (Don) James told me and Jack Lambert (at Kent State). 'Keep your job. The second thing I told them was, 'The greatest form of leadership is to play well.'"
Webb, who has started a team-high 30 games, is easily the least outspoken of the group. That doesn't mean he has to change his personality, Pinkel said.
"He’ll lead on the field his way," Pinkel said. "They all will. You don’t tell (former quarterback) Brad Smith, 'You have to say 57 words in the next 10 minutes.' You can’t do that. They have to be who they are. He’ll do a great job."
Gary Pinkel says Tavon Ross and Walter Brady are waiting on NCAA academic clearing. Sounds optimistic they'll be able to join the team.— David Morrison (@DavidCMorrison) August 4, 2014