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Takeaways from Mizzou’s Friday scrimmage

You might not see much of him this year but freshman QB Gabarri Johnson looked sharp on Friday afternoon.

NCAA Football: New Mexico State at Missouri Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Missouri held its second to last fall camp practice on Friday. The media was allowed to attend every session of today’s practice, which concluded with a scrimmage. Now, none of the 1’s participated in this scrimmage, meaning no Brady Cook, Luther Burden III, Ty’Ron Hopper, etc, and also no Sam Horn. This gave us a look at a lot of young guys and second and third-teamers.

Here’s what was observed.

The quarterbacks and wide receivers looked sharp

NCAA Football: Pittsburgh at Miami Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

With both Cook and Horn not participating in today’s scrimmage, Jake Garcia was the first quarterback we saw in action. His veteran experience showed going 5-5 and overall looking really comfortable operating the offense. He also used his legs by picking up a first down and a score (Blake Craig’s extra point hit the upright, which is fitting for anyone who believes in the North Endzone curse) while also tossing one to Ja’Marion Wayne.

Dylan Laible also looked comfortable early on delivering the ball. He engineered a scoring drive by hitting Micah Manning for a long touchdown as he burned his defender down the sideline.

With none of the projected starting and rotating receivers participating, it gave an opportunity for players such as Manning, Wayne, Marquis Johnson, and Daniel Blood to play, and they all looked sharp in securing catches and elevating the quarterback play.

True freshman Gabarri Johnson had the most eye-popping afternoon of the three quarterbacks. His ability to escape sacks and extend plays was on full display as he used his legs to often create something out of nothing. The most impressive play came as he escaped a defender before launching the football downfield into the hands of true freshman Noah Flaskamp. Gabarri eventually threw a score to a wide-open Max Whisner.

“A lot of explosive plays,” Brady Cook said when describing the offense. “When the quarterbacks went live, Gabari made some really nice scrambles, and the sideline was pumped up.”

Jones and Roberts capitalize on opportunities

It’s easy to see the optimism with both Jamal Roberts and Tavorus Jones during the scrimmage. Schrader and Nathaniel Peat are the likely No. 1 & 2 running backs, there’s competition for the third man behind them.

“I think those two guys are real special and starting to come into their own,” Cody Schrader said. They’re just hungry. You know they want it. They’re motivated, self-motivated, which I think is huge. They’re extremely disciplined, and they’re both extremely athletic, they do a lot on the field, very versatile, and they’re starting to become leaders as well.”

Both running backs picked sizeable gains running both inside and outside the tackles. Roberts stood out by showing he is not afraid of contact. A couple of times, he fought through defenders by keeping his legs going and was not afraid to attempt to run through linebackers. Jones, on the other hand, scored on a receiving touchdown from Garcia.

“(Tavorus Jones) has been here a year so now, and he’s an older guy in the room now, so he’s starting to get a leadership role and is starting to learn as much as possible,” Schrader said. “And Jamal is picking up things. He’s picking up the offense really fast and becomes one of those guys that I think can help us out this year.”

Let’s not forget about the defense

Yes, the offense dominated at the beginning of this scrimmage, but the intensity of the defense eventually picked up during the back half. Sophomore defensive linemen Ky Montgomery was active in the backfield with a third-down sack on Johnson, a tackle for loss, while collecting pressure. Jack Meyer and Jahkai Lang also recorded sacks, while Shamar McNeil made an excellent open-field tackle.

The highlight of the defense came when Austin Firestone, a Northwestern transfer, stripped sacked Johnson and scooped the ball up for a long touchdown which the entire defense celebrated on the field.

“Austin Firestone. He looked real good to see. He had a scoop and score today, so he’s one guy that stood out to me,” Ty’Ron Hopper said.

Other Notes

  1. For the second day in a row, Harrison Mevis did not attempt a field goal.
  2. Jaylon Carlies was on the sideline in street clothes.