Mizzou opened spring practice on Tuesday morning, which, looking back, was good planning — it was about the only time all day that the sun was out. Let’s walk through the day’s primary story lines.
1. It was cold.
The weather was all sorts of gross — windy, random smatterings of snow out of nowhere — and new offensive coordinator Derek Dooley wasn’t impressed.
“This is my first experience with winter practice; this wasn’t spring practice,” Dooley said. “Felt like we were preparing for the Chicago Bears today with wind coming off of Lake Michigan.”
2. Dooley stole the show.
He reminded everyone that the installation of whatever his offense will be is going to take a little while.
“I call it Wikipedia. That’s what it is, our offense right now,” Dooley said. “Every day you go in, and there’s a new sense — ‘I wonder who added that?’”
He also professed his love for Cuonzo Martin and mentioned that Drew Lock asked to line up under center.
Lock has almost exclusively played in spread, shotgun formations in his three years at Mizzou. Some of those looks and MU’s passing patterns are likely to change.
“A lot of this stuff is foreign to him, some of these drop-back plays,” Dooley said. “It’s something he wants. But it’s not something you just get in a day. You’ve got to go out there and run it, run it, run it. You’ve got to make mistakes. Hopefully the mistakes he makes are in practice and he learns from it. Over the course of time by the time we get through training camp hopefully we’ll have tightened up what he feels comfortable running in a game.”
The terminology has changed, too, though that’s partially because of Dooley’s accent.
The terminology has changed a bit, though. The voice of the man making the play calls has, too.
“It is interesting how Coach Dooley says one word, (and) because of an accent, it sounds different than the way others say it,” Odom joked.
3. Goodness, the depth chart is exciting at defensive tackle.
Walters raved about Texas transfer Jordan Elliott, who had to sit out a season ago. He said Elliott was a “monster” on the scout team last year, and has been equally impressive in offseason workouts this spring.
“He’s conditioning and running with the linebackers and tight ends and things like that,” Walters said. “To be his size and to be able to move and bend and be as powerful as he is, he’s got a chance to be special.”
4. Barry Odom didn’t just move Andy Hill to full-time special teams coach for busy work.
Since taking over the program after the 2015 season Odom had wanted to put one coach in charge of all special teams units but needed the staff flexibility to make it work. The NCAA’s new rule allowing a 10th assistant afforded Odom that chance this offseason as Ofodile moved into a coaching role, freeing up Hill to work exclusively with the specialists and the kicking game units. [...]
Hill said he’s “invigorated” by the job change.
“It’s good for an old guy like me to have some new stuff to do,” he said.
“To be able to focus on your guys, chart everything and see fundamentally what they’re doing during practice is a huge benefit,” Hill added. “Hopefully we can correct some things by having my total focus.”
5. Wanna keep track of the progress on the south end zone (de)construction?
In other news, work on the South End Zone project has ramped up, with construction crews working to remove the metal bleachers from the south stand structure on Tuesday as the Tigers went through practice. The facility, planned at $98 million, will provide state-of-the-art training facilities for the football team, create additional premium seating opportunities and game-day enhancements for all Tiger fans when it debuts in time for the 2019 season.
Spring ball will run until April 14, when the Tigers’ annual Black & Gold Game takes place.