Ah, the balance of spring ball, where anything good happens at the expense of someone else on the same team. The offense has been somewhere between mediocre and awful for most of the spring, which makes perfect sense when you consider a) the ridiculously inexperienced receiving corps is going up against what will probably be the best set of cornerbacks Mizzou's had in the Gary Pinkel era, and b) the injuries have piled up. In Mizzou's third scrimmage (the second public one), the interceptions were curtailed, but the offense still didn't really go anywhere.
The offense is terrible!
Nate Crawford starting the day at right tackle again.— David Morrison (@DavidCMorrison) April 11, 2015
DeSean Blair getting some work with the 1s against the 1 defense.— David Morrison (@DavidCMorrison) April 11, 2015
Keyon Dilosa and Thomas Richard also working with the 1s.— David Morrison (@DavidCMorrison) April 11, 2015
Not much offense going on at Mizzou scrimmage, other than a 60-yard Zanders pass to walk-on Marcell Kellum— Dave Matter (@Dave_Matter) April 11, 2015
Eddie Printz got a pretty good drive together with the 2s, moved the offense to the 29, but the coaches reset the drive.— David Morrison (@DavidCMorrison) April 11, 2015
#Mizzou C Evan Boehm was clearly upset after the scrimmage. Said the OL needs to step up its motivation.— Pete Scantlebury (@PeteScantlebury) April 11, 2015
#Mizzou's Boehm: "Some people need to find it within themselves, including myself, to really grit down and finish this spring ball."— Pete Scantlebury (@PeteScantlebury) April 11, 2015
Clay Rhodes working with the No. 1 offense flinches for a false start.— Tod Palmer (@todpalmer) April 11, 2015
On the bright side, after tossing 7 interceptions last week, #Mizzou's quarterbacks didn't throw any today. Went 21/39 for 171 yards, 0 TD.— Tod Palmer (@todpalmer) April 11, 2015
#Mizzou FR WR Keyon Dilosa, on the young WRs: "We've got our headaches right now, but we're going to keep fighting and get better."— Pete Scantlebury (@PeteScantlebury) April 11, 2015
Darius Rucker caught a TD in South Carolina's spring game. Maybe @davidnail is Missouri's answer at WR next week.— Dave Matter (@Dave_Matter) April 11, 2015
Maty Mauk only finished 2 of 9 for 9 yards. Short-hopped at least three passes, but he professed not to be worried after scrimmage.— Tod Palmer (@todpalmer) April 11, 2015
Just like last week, the defense was in control from start to finish on Saturday. Unlike last week, the Tigers didn’t commit any turnovers — the quarterbacks threw seven interceptions last Saturday — but also failed to visit the end zone. Overall, the various offensive units produced 286 yards on 68 plays.
The Tigers were without three starters on offense: slot receiver Nate Brown (knee), tight end Sean Culkin (shoulder) and offensive lineman Connor McGovern (knee). Also missing on offense were the Nos. 2 and 3 tailbacks: Ish Witter was attending a funeral, while Trevon Walters is out with a torn ACL.
Raymond Wingo makes a nice catch in traffic from Corbin Berkstresser for 18 yards on 3rd down.— David Morrison (@DavidCMorrison) April 11, 2015
Pinkel said Raymond Wingo will stay at receiver the rest of the spring. Then the staff will evaluate, talk with Wingo and go from there.— David Morrison (@DavidCMorrison) April 11, 2015
Wingo said the coaches first put the idea of switching from CB to WR up to him after the Citrus Bowl.— David Morrison (@DavidCMorrison) April 11, 2015
Missouri's Raymond Wingo described moving to receiver as "going back to my love."— Dave Matter (@Dave_Matter) April 11, 2015
Aarion Penton on Raymond Wingo's speed: "He’s 4.2. If he hits the seam, he’s out of there."— David Morrison (@DavidCMorrison) April 11, 2015
Missouri’s newest receiver provided a bright spot. Redshirt freshman Raymond Wingo, in his first week playing wideout since high school after switching over from cornerback, read a deep safety drop late in the scrimmage and settled into an open spot from the slot, jumping to snag an 18-yard pass from Corbin Berkstresser against the third defense. Pinkel said Wingo will remain at receiver for the rest of the spring, then he and the coaches will make a decision on where Wingo best fits.
Wingo, who reportedly ran a 4.28-second 40-yard dash in team testing last month, said he watched highlight film of himself playing receiver at St. Louis University High School to get back in an offensive state of mind.
We heard Wingo-to-offense rumbles back before spring ball even began, but when practices opened, he was still on defense. This supposedly isn't yet a permanent move, but I'd be surprised if he moved back. Mizzou has a few exciting young cornerbacks, but it's all-hands-on-deck at receiver.
"He's a speedster. We can use him on the inside, especially on those deep balls," added J'Mon Moore, himself one of the wideouts looking to secure a starting spot. "He can run by people so with him moving to the slot, it just opens up things for everybody."
Wingo said Mauk and Moore are the two players upon which he is leaning the most to pick up the offense and find a comfort level on offense.
In a post-scrimmage setting, Boehm seemed to be the only player visibly and audibly frustrated with the struggles on offense. The first-team offense netted three first downs in six possessions, including resets. The run game with the first-team -- limited more because of the absence of Ish Witter, who had a funeral to attend -- finished with ten carries for 36 yards, not counting quarterback scrambles. Mauk was sacked twice, and the offensive line was whistled for two false starts."I agree with Ev," Mauk said, "but at the same time, it's just a couple people that mentally just got to use what Coach (Pat) Ivey teaches, the positive self-talk, little things like that. But he's right. And the main thing is, Evan's just mad. Everybody's going to be mad when you're not as productive as you could be. There's just -- Evan being a coach's kid, he wants to get everybody to the potential they have, as fast as they can do it. (But) we've got to take the time. We've got a few months to do that and we'll focus on that."
The defense is awesome!
Clarence Green blitzes off the edge and touches Maty Mauk down for an 11-yard loss.— David Morrison (@DavidCMorrison) April 11, 2015
Very good series from Green there, with a sack, hit and pass break-up.— David Morrison (@DavidCMorrison) April 11, 2015
Walter Brady busts through the line and makes a tackle for a 5-yard loss with the 2s against the 2s.— David Morrison (@DavidCMorrison) April 11, 2015
Maty Mauk: "This is one of the best defenses we’re going to play all year. The QBR, all that stuff out there, that means nothing."— David Morrison (@DavidCMorrison) April 11, 2015
Mauk (cont.): "It’s a scrimmage, we’re out here running our plays against our defense and it’s different. We’re not worried about anything."— David Morrison (@DavidCMorrison) April 11, 2015
Kentrell Brothers says Clarence Green has a theory about his dreadlocks: "He thinks every guy with dreads has to be a big hitter."— David Morrison (@DavidCMorrison) April 11, 2015
Brothers is not putting a priority on growing dreads: "I’ve got to get my hair cut. It seems bad right now. Girls don’t like me like this."— David Morrison (@DavidCMorrison) April 11, 2015
Brothers also said he doesn't hang out with people outside of football. Just fishes and plays Call of Duty. :-(— David Morrison (@DavidCMorrison) April 11, 2015
Brothers has become acquainted with aggressive geese at his fishing spot: "There’s a goose out there guarding her eggs. She’ll hiss at you."— David Morrison (@DavidCMorrison) April 11, 2015
Brothers (cont.): "She just sits there, turns her neck a complete 360 and watches. Then there’s the male one. It’s pretty scary."— David Morrison (@DavidCMorrison) April 11, 2015
Michael Scherer is skeptical of Green's dreadlocks theory-"I’m going to have to look that up online and see the scientific facts about that"— David Morrison (@DavidCMorrison) April 11, 2015
Scherer says he's growing a mustache. Said he had one last week but lopped it off for a TSF photo shoot. He's expecting big things from it.— David Morrison (@DavidCMorrison) April 11, 2015
Clarification RT @clgreen93mu not a theory, it's a fact- "people with dreads symbolize strength!" It's a mentality— David Morrison (@DavidCMorrison) April 11, 2015
No more crutches for me— Tavon Ross (@BCFlight_9) April 12, 2015
"The offense isn’t doing bad," Brothers said after Mizzou’s defense allowed only two scoring drives on Faurot Field, both ending with field goals. "The defense is just playing really well. We have a lot of people coming back and we just have that connection, that communication that helps us be better.
"They’re a great offense. They’ve got a great (offensive) line. They’ve got great young guys coming up. They just haven’t put it together yet."
"They’re beat up," Scherer added. "And they’re young."
Obviously we don't yet know what we need to about the defensive end or strong safety positions, but Mizzou will start 2015 with massive experience and upside at defensive tackle, linebacker, and cornerback. The corners stole the show in the last scrimmage, and evidently it was the linebackers' turn this time around.
Before Scherer dominated a series by deflecting a Maty Mauk pass in the backfield and stopping tailback Russell Hansbrough for no gain, it was Green who stole the show. The senior from Clute, Texas, sacked Mauk for an 11-yard loss and broke up a pass play two plays later.
It was a series that came as no surprise to his teammates.
"Clarence has definitely been hitting hard," Scherer said. "He enjoys finding someone who's not looking and just hits. If he keeps it up, that'd be pretty good."
Because he's battling a younger player with high upside (Donavin Newsome), we kind of assume Clarence Green isn't going to start in 2015. Tie goes to the younger guy, right? But every time it looks like Green is slipping back, his name starts popping up in the practice reports again.
Brady has worked mainly with the second-team defense, although he did occasionally rotate in on the first-team during Saturday's scrimmage. He finished with three tackles, one for loss, after not posting any stats a week ago. It's still somewhat slow going for Brady has he gets his sea legs under him for the college game, but the results so far have been promising.
"... He's been doing well," Pinkel said. "Honestly, for a young player, he's kind of standing out. He's got a lot of ability, he's got great intensity. It's kind of neat to see the young guys do the things you've got to do to get yourself ready to play. We've got some young guys out there, he's one of them that's probably a little bit ahead of some of the others at this particular time."
Mizzou has Marcus Loud and Charles Harris at end, and assuming incoming JUCO transfer Marcell Frazier is good enough to at least make second string when he shows up this summer, that means Mizzou will need one more exciting, interesting youngster to step up and win a spot in the rotation this fall. Rocel McWilliams seemed like the most obvious name at the beginning of spring ball, but Brady's motor might get him a look.
It was because of this lack of depth that Gary Pinkel decided to halve Saturday's scrimmage. They'll finish it on Tuesday.
"I don’t deal in ideals. I deal in reality," Pinkel said. "The reality is you’ve got about 10 guys out right now. We’ve hit some injuries. Thank heavens it’s spring ball. I think the message is the urgency to get guys ready to play. That’s good. When you try to turn the negative, not having a lot of these guys playing -- even though sometimes it might not look real good out there -- it’s great experience for younger guys. Hopefully they’ll get better. Also, the urgency that, as a backup player, you’ve got to work real hard to get ready to play. We’re going to be faced with injuries next year, as we always are."
Well we're certainly not going to completely avoid all injuries with that attitude, Coach.