On Saturday evening, Missouri held its annual open practice and gave fans one last live glimpse of the team before the season opener on Sept. 1st. The practice brought in a good turnout, showcasing that Mizzou fans are hungry for Tiger football.
Going into the practice, I had no idea what to expect. At first, I saw referees and instantly thought that a scrimmage would be in the near future, but I was very wrong in that assessment. Instead, Eli Drinkwitz chose to keep risks to a minimum, with the practice essentially being a walkthrough. This means that just the offense would be on the field, running plays at 70% percent (or something close to that), then once the drive was done, the defense would step on the field and simulate play against coaches. Due to minimal action, the practice was a bit of a slog, but I was able to take a few things away:
- Brady Cook: Cook was obviously excited to be on the field in front of the fans, and you could see it in his demeanor and overall body language as he was constantly yelling, getting the rest of the team amped up, and high-fiving those around him any chance he got. His energy was infectious and it didn’t go unnoticed. Anytime Cook threw a good ball - which was just about every time - fans made sure to show support. It was beautiful to see the home state kid who has dreamed about this since he was little finally get the support he deserves.
- Cody Schrader: The Truman State transfer seemed to be getting the most snaps at halfback. Schrader looked really elusive and quick, even at the minimized speed of the walkthrough, as he has great acceleration and hits the hole with a burst of speed. My prediction is that he will be the starter in week one vs Louisiana Tech. Nathaniel Peat also shared time at the position, getting his fair share of snaps.
- Defensive Line: If nothing else the front four look the part of an elite SEC line. Darius Robinson, Trajan Jeffcoat, and Isaiah McGuire all look menacing when lined up, and we know that at least two will produce. The looming question going into the season is “can Robinson stay healthy enough to stay on the field?” Last season was underwhelming, as Robinson had 24 total tackles and zero sacks. He is a mountain of a man, so if he can improve at all, this unit could be one of the best in the conference.
Missouri will open its season on Thursday, September 1st at 7pm against Louisiana Tech.