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August 18, 2009

Practice Report: Injury Bug Bites

Nobody will cover fall camp like PowerMizzou.com. We will have analysis, reaction, photos and video from every single practice leading up to the season opener. To get your free trial membership going today, justclick right here.

The Missouri Tigers are a little more than halfway through fall camp. The team practiced Tuesday morning at Memorial Stadium and PowerMizzou.com has all the big news of the day:

*The biggest news came on the injury front. Midway through practice, starting right tackle Dan Hoch went down with a knee injury. After practice Gary Pinkel said he thought it was simply a sprain and that Hoch would have an MRI later today.

With Hoch out, true freshman Jack Meiners was playing tackle with the No. 1 offense.

"That puts an awful lot on him, too, as a young guy. It's a very difficult position to play," Pinkel said. "But he's a really good young player, without question."

Pinkel also mentioned the possibility of shifting Kurtis Gregory to tackle and moving J.T. Beasley up from second-string at right guard.

"We'll have to see the extent of the injury, how long Dan will be out and make those decision," the coach said. "There's nothing to turn positive from his injury, but what you can do is you can move some people around...If we have to do it for a week or so, that's probably okay because it gives all those guys opportunities to be in positions with the adjustment we might make during the season."

Last season, Hoch became the first true freshman offensive lineman to play under Pinkel at Mizzou. Now, Meiners is following the same pat as Pinkel said he will not redshirt this season.

"I think it's quality of recruiting, I think that has a lot to do with it," he said. "There's not magic out here."

*Pinkel also said, in a surprise to no one, that linebacker Donovan Bonner would skip a redshirt and play this season. Decisions on other freshmen will come in the next few days. Pinkel mentioned Justin Britt as a player that could skip the redshirt and defensive end Michael Sam was seen taking reps with the second-team as well.

*Other new injuries today were a bruised hip flexor for Andrew Jones, which Pinkel said was minor, and a knee injury to Brandon Gerau. The extent of Gerau's injury was not known after practice, but he was scheduled to have an MRI this afternoon. He hurt the knee after making a long catch and coming down awkwardly. Gerau was helped off the field and was putting no weight on his left leg.

*Jasper Simmons seems to be the favorite at punt returner as he's about the only guy I've seen working there every day. He and Kip Edwards took most of the reps today with LDamian Washington working in as well.

*For all those who have gotten tingly feelings based on the fact that Missouri's quarterbacks have taken snaps under center, despite repeated assurances from reporters at practice that it is simply a defensive drill, I noticed when the Tigers did that drill today that Derrick Washington and De'Vion Moore combined to take zero snaps in the drill. If it were truly a drill to work on the run game, it would involve the top two running backs, wouldn't you think?

*In one-on-one receiving drills, Andrew Jones made a nice catch despite being interfered with nearly the entire way. You can watch highlights from those drills in today's PMTV feature from practice.

*Wes Kemp impresses me a little more each day. He consistently goes up and gets the ball at its highest point, which is something every receiver has stressed repeatedly. Just think how different this offense would look if Kemp had stuck at Wisconsin and Hoch and Blaine Gabbert were Cornhuskers.

*There were quite a few big hits in 11-on-11. The one that I noticed most came from Robert Steeples on Forrest Shock after a short pass in the right flat. Shock did hold on to the ball, though.

*Also in 11-on-11, Kenji Jackson showed nice closing speed and nearly picked off a long pass from Gabbert.

*In red zone drills, it is becoming more obvious every day where Gabbert looks first. Danario Alexander seems to have emerged as his favorite target.

*Aldon Smith's first step is just sick. At times, it looks like he's borderline offsides. He used that speed to force Gabbert to throw a ball away nearly before the quarterback even had a grip on the ball.

*Play of the Day: Late in 11-on-11, De'Vion Moore burst over the left side and picked up about 30 yards before being run down by Kip Edwards. Despite the long gain, the defense won both 11-on-11 periods, and the practice overall.

The Tigers practice Wednesday at 7:15 and 3:45 in preparation for Thursday's second fall scrimmage. PowerMizzou.com will be in attendance at both workouts.

Nobody will cover fall camp like PowerMizzou.com. We will have analysis, reaction, photos and video from every single practice leading up to the season opener. To get your free trial membership going today, justclick right here.

PowerMizzou.com's fall camp coverage is sponsored by CJ's in Tiger Country, home of the BYFO (Burn Your Face Off). For the best wings around, check out CJ's at 7-4 E. Broadway in Columbia or call in an order at (573) 442-7777. Click on the graphic above for more information.


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