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Observations from Mizzou’s midweek fall camp practice

Will Brady Cook have another role for this team?

Syndication: Gator Sports Alan Youngblood/Gainesville Sun / USA TODAY NETWORK

Missouri held its third practice of its 2023 fall camp on Wednesday morning. After two days in the brand new Stephens Indoor Practice Facility, the rain finally moved out of the Columbia area long enough for the team to move out on the practice fields behind the Devine Pavilion.

Freshmen earn their numbers

Prior to the start of practice No. 3, four newcomers earned their numbers. Two of them hail from the Show-Me State. Joshua Manning, a native of Lee’s Summit, is the No. 7 overall recruit in the state and the top wide receiver in the class. He will be wearing the elusive #0 for the ‘23 season. Going almost 220 miles east to St. Louis, Francis Howell’s Brett Norfleet also earned his number, and he’ll wear No. 87. The towering 6-foot-7, 235-pound tight end is another top 10 player from the state and ranks first at his position.

Marquis Johnson of Dickinson, Texas is a top 100 player from the Longhorn State after totaling 1,403 all-purpose yards (740 receiving, 394 rushing and 269 return yards) and earned the number 17. Sam Williams, a giant freshman listed at 6-foot-3 and 313 pounds, will be wearing #94 as he practices with the defensive linemen.

Quarterbacks Work with RB & TE

It’s no secret that the offensive staff wants to utilize the running back position in the receiving game more. In 2022, Missouri’s running back room made up about 15% of the team’s total completions. This was down from 21% in 2021 and 17% during the 2020 season. Eli Drinkwitz mentioned during SEC Media Day that the position needs to consistently catch the ball out of the backfield, whether it’s Cody Schrader, Jamal Roberts, Nathaniel Peat or Tavorus Jones.

“We all have the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield,” Peat said prior to MU opening up fall camp. “So putting that into the offense and doing all that, I think it makes us more explosive and more diverse.”

From the open portion of practice the media was allowed to attend, the quarterbacks spent some time with running backs, working on routes out of the backfield. This was the same with tight ends as well, a position with room to grow in terms of productivity.

Also, during a brief inside run period, Schrader, Peat, Roberts and Jones all received opportunities. Once each running back burst through the front seven, a giant medicine ball was rolled towards them, testing their reaction ability.

A New Placeholder?

The Tigers will have a new placeholder with Sean Koetting gone. On the Tigers’ PAT drill to begin practice it wasn’t a specialist holding the ball for Harrison Mevis but, instead, the starting quarterback. Brady Cook held for Mevis for each one of his attempts. Mevis missed just one of those; that particular one hit the crossbar. It’s not unusual for a quarterback to be a placeholder and it could be something we could potentially see in 2023.

Punting Battle

With Jack Stonehouse gone to Syracuse, it leaves a battle for punting duties for the Tigers. On Wednesday both Luke Bauer - a sophomore from DeSmet High School in St. Louis - and Riley Williams took turns trading punts. Williams, an Australian native, earned second-team All-CAA honors in 2022 while ranking fourth in the nation with 44.7 yards per punt in the FCS on 46 punts.