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August 20, 2011
Missouri went through a shorts and should pads on Saturday morning before the only true break of fall camp. The Tigers will not practice again until Tuesday afternoon. This is standard operating procedure as class starts on Monday and Gary Pinkel always gives his players the first day to get acclimated.
*Pinkel said after practice he hopes to get most of the injured players back in action relatively soon. The only new news was that Jacquies Smith has a sprained big toe, rather than the injured ankle we were told yesterday. In addition, Brandon Durant, who went down late in practice on Friday, was on crutches with a full length brace on his knee. Pinkel said he had an ACL injury and perhaps additional damage. Durant will have season-ending surgery soon.
*One player who won't return is freshman defensive tackle Gerrand Johnson. Pinkel said Johnson has "chosen to leave the program and we wish him well." Because class has not yet started at Missouri, it would seem that Johnson could enroll somewhere else in the next few days and be eligible to play the 2012 season, but no one was quite clear on the rules. Johnson was on campus for spring football and fourth on the depth chart at defensive tackle.
*Overall, there were ten players at practice in full red, in addition to Elvis Fisher and Marcus Murphy who are already out for the year. However, no new injuries from yesterday other than Durant.
*Trey Hobson missed practice to attend the funeral of his uncle. The uncle is the father of Hobson's cousin, Aaron, who was murdered last fall in Columbia.
*Justin Britt practiced, but was held out of one-on-one pass rush drills. In his absence, Anthony Gatti took first-team reps at left tackle.
*With three of the top four safeties out, Braylon Webb and Kenronte Walker were the starters. They were backed up by Daniel Easterly and true freshman Ian Simon.
*Speaking of guys like Webb, I put together a little list of guys who I think will be good players, but who aren't likely to see major playing time this year simply due to the depth. Here's what I came up with:
Webb/Easterly: I think both have improved quite a bit since hitting campus last summer, but there isn't much of a chance for either to be one of the top three safeties. Perhaps one could pass Walker to be the fourth safety, but at least one will struggle to see the field this year.
Shane Ray: Ray has collected three sacks in two scrimmages and looks to be very fast for a defensive end. I think he's got a great future, but he'll redshirt this season.
Greg White: He will get some carries this year with Murphy out, but it's unlikely he passes Henry Josey to get to third on the depth. White may have to wait a year or even two until De'Vion Moore and Kendial Lawrence have graduated to be a major part of the rotation.
Corbin Berkstresser: It's still possible he wins the backup job, though it's more doubtful to me than it was ten days ago. But James Franklin is far and away the best quarterback on the team at this point. Barring a serious injury to Franklin, I think a redshirt for Berkstresser has to be a serious consideration.
Bud Sasser and Jimmie Hunt: Sasser has been pretty good most of camp, but will still be third on the depth chart when Jerrell Jackson returns. Hunt shows flashes of brilliance, but also struggled with drops in the last scrimmage. Missouri has so many bodies at receiver that I don't think this duo takes reps from the likes of Gahn McGaffie, Brandon Gerau, Marcus Lucas and L'Damian Washington. I think both become a big factor next year, but there are only so many passes to spread around.
To be fair, these are guesses. Berkstresser and Hunt did hook up on a 40-yard pass that was one of the highlights of 11-on-11.
Franklin led the first-team offense on a two-minute drive on the final series of practice. He went 6-for-10 on the drive, hitting Michael Egnew and T.J. Moe twice apiece. He capped the drive with a touchdown pass to Gerau in the left corner of the end zone.
Meanwhile, on the opposite side of the field, the second major fight of camp broke out after the play. De'Vion Moore and Tristen Holt were tangled up wrestling in the corner opposite Gerau's catch. Because it was so far away from the play, it took a little while for anyone to notice. While all their teammates returned to stretch lines, Moore and Holt were pretty well involved, requiring one of Missouri's strength coaches to jump in the pile and pull them apart. Holt lost his helmet in the scuffle. The surprising part wasn't the fight-those happen in every camp-but Moore's involvement. He's one of the more even-tempered guys on the team. As far as camp fights, it ranks up there with any I've seen in eight years as far as length and ferocity.
*Play of the Day: During 11-on-11, Franklin hit Wes Kemp on the left sideline between three defenders. Kemp went high to catch the ball then sprinted to the end zone for about 45 yards, eluding all three defensive players. Kemp has quietly had a very good camp leading into his senior season.
Missouri returns to the practice field on Tuesday afternoon. Just three open practices remain before Missouri shuts things down and goes into preparation for the September 3rd opener against Miami (OH).
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