COLUMBIA, Mo. — New offensive coordinator Derek Dooley had the most appropriate quote for the first day of Missouri’s preseason football camp — one in which the players weren’t even wearing pads.
“I wish I could give you all this great analysis, but I don’t have that,” Dooley said. “It’s pretty much like every other first day the other 23 years I’ve been at training camp. Some good things, some bad, we haven’t put the pads on.
“We’ll see what happens tomorrow.”
Dooley is right, of course. The first day — and really, the first few days — of preseason camp are more noteworthy for roster updates and number changes than they are for any meaningful analysis, both by the coaches and by the media in attendance.
Yet it’s still a fair question to ask where Missouri stands on Day 1, as it’s a shortened camp with only 17 practices per new NCAA guidelines.
“There’s a lot more (urgency),” defensive coordinator Ryan Walters said. “It starts back to the summer, guys getting together on their own, watching tape, coming out on the field, going through drills, going through different scenarios. You’ve got to take advantage of your off time to sort of gain ground because of the less amount of practices you get.”
Walters, however, said he believes the team is already further ahead at this point than it was last year. That’s a good thing, considering how Missouri started the 2017 season.
But no one needs a reminder of that.
“We definitely have tweaked a few things as a staff,” Walters said, in regards to how they prepared for last season. “The biggest sort of change has been the way the kids have approached the offseason workouts and watching tape, all those kinds of things.”
Of course, it’s the first day. Missouri’s 2018 season will come into focus over the next month. So Dooley, a veteran of both college coaching and NFL coaching, is taking the long view before analyzing what the Tigers have this year.
“My deal is, let’s go out there, let’s go 17 practices of training camp,” Dooley said. “We’ll probably have a good feel for where we are, and then we still won’t know what we got until we play our first game.”
Quote of the day: “There’s a lot of guys that look like All-Americans, just standing there. That’s why you have to put a helmet and shoulder pads on and play.” — Derek Dooley, when asked about tight end Messiah Swinson — who does not look like an 18-year old college freshman.
- Offensive lineman A.J. Harris medically retired from football after a knee injury that occurred before the Texas Bowl.
- Defensive tackle Caleb Sampson will transfer to a school closer to his home in Louisiana.
- Wide receiver Harry Ballard is not on the team currently as he deals with a “personal matter,” according to Barry Odom.
- Signee Danny Gray did not qualify and will go the JUCO route.