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Marcell Frazier threatens to take a starting role after a strong first scrimmage

Some notes, stats and observations from Mizzou's first scrimmage and Monday's practice.

Marcell Frazier during Monday's practice
Marcell Frazier during Monday's practice

Wide Receivers

Statistics from the first scrimmage:

Receiver Targets Rec. Yards TD Long
Emanuel Hall WR 6 6 63 18
J'Mon Moore WR 8 5 105 65
Johnathan Johnson WR 6 4 90 64
Justin Smith WR 4 4 79 1 60
Nate Brown WR 9 4 51 27
Keyon Dilosa WR 6 3 38 15
Clayton Echard TE 3 3 31 19
Jason Reese TE 4 3 20 1 11
Russell Hansbrough RB 3 3 16 11
Morgan Steward RB 3 3 14 6
Wesley Leftwich WR 4 2 40 1 35
Ray Wingo WR 8 2 32 1 23
Kendall Blanton TE 3 2 17 11
Sean Culkin TE 5 2 16 9
Ish Witter RB 4 2 1 1
Marquise Doherty RB 1 1 14 1 14
DeSean Blair WR 2 1 13 13
Jake Brents WR 2 1 8 8
Tyler Hunt RB 1 1 4 4
Ryan Williams RB 1

J'Mon Moore appeared to be working his way back into the starting role after a strong first scrimmage that saw him catch five of eight passes for 105 yards, but he suffered a left shoulder injury during Monday's practice that sounds potentially serious. I observed J'Mon walking off the field during Monday's practice, and Maty Mauk came over to talk with him. Both appeared concerned, and it's somewhat telling considering the chemistry the two have developed.

DeSean Blair, the pre-scrimmage starter at X receiver, caught one of two passes at the scrimmage for 13 yards. My feeling was the coaches ran the ball a lot when he was on the field, and he faced the No. 1 defense, which could explain his low production.

Freshman Johnathan Johnson suffered a severely sprained right ankle during the scrimmage, and Eric Laurent was held out of practice Monday due to a viral illness. Redshirt freshman Thomas Richard was still held out of contact due to a lingering hamstring injury, while Richaud Floyd, who was held out of the first scrimmage, was a full participant.

Wesley Leftwich credited his improved play to going against Kenya Dennis over the summer. His two catches on four targets for 40 yards included a 35-yard touchdown reception from Maty Mauk against the second team. An experienced senior with good speed, Leftwich is a strong blocker, which will make it difficult for a younger guy to usurp him. But I still expect that there will be some rotation at the Z receiver.

Nate Brown looked the part of a dynamic slot weapon when he shed a tackle and broke a 27-yard gain early in scrimmage. As far as freshmen, Justin Smith (we really need a nickname to differentiate him) had a fantastic scrimmage, catching all four passes thrown his way and turning a tunnel screen into a 60-yard gallop into the end zone against the third-string defense.

Emanuel Hall is another guy who really impressed, catching all six targets and providing smart route-running. He could help at the X position if J'Mon Moore misses extended time.

Defensive Line

Defender Solo Ast Total Sack-Yds TFL-Yds Extra
Charles Harris 3 2 5 1.5-3 1 QBH
Marcell Frazier 4 4 1-8 2-13 1 QBH
Josh Augusta 2 1 3 1 QBH
AJ Logan 1 2 3 1-3 1-3
Rocel McWilliams 1 1 2 1.5-14 1.5-14
Tyler Hanneke 1 1 2
Josh Moore 2 2 1 PBU
Spencer Williams 1 1 2 1-1 2 PBU
Justin Grava 2 2
Rickey Hatley 1 1
Nate Howard 1 1 1-4
Tyrell Jacobs 1 1
Terry Beckner 1 1 0.5-5 0.5-5

The defensive line looked strong against the run. Whether that's a testament to them or struggles by Mizzou's offensive line and running backs remains to be seen.

A.J. Logan earned first-string reps over Josh Augusta, although with the lack of depth, there was a heavy rotation on the interior of the defensive line.

During practice on Monday, Craig Kuligowski praised Logan for having stepped up by losing weight and being more of a leader while also saying Josh Augusta had "no ceiling" in terms of his potential.

Marcell Frazier made great strides and appears to have moved ahead of Walter Brady, who recorded zero defensive stats Saturday. Kuligowski said, "..up to the scrimmage I was extremely pleased with Walter, I would not say he disappointed, but Marcell overshadowed him."

Mizzou's three freshman on the interior -- Terry Beckner Jr., Tyrell Jacobs, and Josh Moore -- all looked good and appear to have moved up in the pecking order. Nate Howard and Rocel McWilliams impressed me during the scrimmage, both with their size and speed and aggressiveness.

Offensive Line

Procedural penalties and bad snaps were the story of the offensive line's scrimmage. Three of the false starts came in one series and were against Mitch Hall, Taylor Chappell and Malik Cuellar, respectively. That ended up sabotaging a promising drive by the No. 1 offense.

After practice Monday, offensive coordinator Josh Henson appeared to downplay the mistakes, saying "I don't think the line played that bad, other than we had a lot of false starts, and we were better at that today."

Connor McGovern had one holding penalty but otherwise looked good at LT. On the other side, Nate Crawford saw the majority of the snaps over Clay Rhodes.

Crawford impressed both me and the coaches, holding stout against the pass rush and clearing space for rushers on the right side of the offense. To my eyes, the guards struggled to open holes and get to the second level to spring the backs for big gains.

I think Cuellar will see reps at right tackle ahead of Clay Rhodes as line coach A.J. Ricker looks to find his top lineman. As of right now I think his top 11, in some order, are McGovern, Chappell, Evan Boehm, Hall, Crawford, Cuellar, Brad McNulty, Kevin Pendleton, Alec Abeln, Paul Adams, and Rhodes.


Bill Connelly handled the reaction to Drew Lock's first scrimmage:

This doesn't have to lead to any bold conclusions, but Drew Lock was the best-looking quarterback today.

Redshirt freshman walk-on John Eierman was moved over to wide receiver due to several injuries and because, as Andy Hill said, "he's a real athlete who knows the offense."

Oh, was that not the QB #hottake you were looking for? Fine.

Hill was also asked about Drew Lock and pumped the brakes a bit. "He has a long way to go to be competitive, especially against No. 1 or No. 2 D. Against the No. 3 and No. 4 is a bit different."

When asked about comparisons to Chase Daniel, Hill said, "Drew's done some great things but he's got a long way to go. Chase Daniel was a standard-setter in a lot of ways for Missouri."

As to Maty Mauk, Andy Hill said, "I'd like to see Maty be more consistent. We had a few drops, but really, throwing around 50 percent is not going to be good enough."

Injury Report

In addition to Richard, Laurent, and Johnson, OL Andy Bauer is still in red, and safeties Cortland Browning and Tavon Ross were, too, on Monday. Andrew Baggett wore red due to back spasms, and Morgan Steward was held out of contact on a "planned day off" per the coaches.