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April 9, 2009

Scrimmage Report

The Missouri Tigers were back on the practice field, forced inside by dreary weather once again. After some routine practice work, Mizzou went through a short scrimmage. PowerMizzou.com has the full report:

*A few housekeeping type notes. Chris Earnhardt appears to have moved inside to defensive tackle. Not sure about the reasons for the move at this point, but you have to assume all the young talent at defensive end (Aldon Smith, Jacquies Smith, Brad Madison and Marcus Malbrough are all freshmen or sophomores) played a role.

*Speaking of the Smith tandem, they appeared to be splitting first-team reps at defensive end. Aldon has been perhaps the most impressive player through the first nine practices.

*Blaine Dalton looks to have gotten the early leg up on Ashton Glaser as the No. 3 quarterback, though there is a long way to go in this race.

*Michael Egnew is out with a high ankle sprain and was wearing a boot. Gary Pinkel said Egnew will have the sprain treated with a new surgical procedure (which he explained while cautioning that he was not Dr. Pinkel-and I don't believe he stayed at a Holiday Inn Express either) and miss the rest of spring ball. Gahn McGaffie also missed much of the workout after rolling an ankle. He was icing it during the scrimmage. Josh Tatum was held out with lingering back issues.

*Future Tiger Adam Burton was in attendance as was big-time Liberty prospect Marcus Lucas.

*The best way to run down the scrimmage is to simply take you through things series by series, so that's what we'll do. It's not a play-by-play, though there are a lot of notes on individual plays with some of my impressions thrown in.

1 Offense vs 2 Defense

On the first play, Blaine Gabbert scrambled out of the pocket to keep the play alive and then found Derrick Washington in the flat for about seven yards. Gabbert's legs continue to impress.

So do Washington's. He had a nice six-yard run up the middle on the first drive and appears to be back at full strength.

"The first day back, everybody was like, 'Wow, he's good,'" Andrew Jones said. "Again."

Gabbert capped off the 65-yard drive with a four-yard touchdown run on the option right. He got a nice block from Jerrell Jackson along the way.

"Blaine's being a leader and everybody's listening. Even the seniors, even the defensive guys are acknowledging Blaine as the leader of this team right now," Jones said. "You can see what he did today, he just marched us down the field."

2 Offense vs 1 Defense

Jimmy Costello opened things up with a great pass to Forrest Shock. Sean Weatherspoon had really good coverage on the play, but Costello threaded the needle and led Shock perfectly into an 18-yard gain.

On the very next play, Costello looked for Shock in the flat, but the play was blown up by Hardy Ricks. More on him in a minute.

The drive continued when Carl Gettis shoved Gahn McGaffie on a deep route down the left sideline, resulting in pass interference.

However, the defense got the victory when Ricks hammered Shawn Scott after the running back caught a pass over the middle. Ricks caused a fumble around the two-yard line that was covered by Kenji Jackson. I wouldn't have said this two weeks ago, but I think that just might be your starting safety tandem next year. Ricks played very well. And, as Juice Williams can attest, he could always hit.

I asked Jackson which player hits harder.

"It might be a little match, we'd have to see. He's laying the wood," Jackson said. "We've both been on the tough and physical tape constantly. I know coach Odom wants that from us and coach Stec does too. We're just trying to do our job out there and have a presence in the secondary."

3 Offense vs 3 Defense

Mike Taylor started things with a sack of Blaine Dalton. On the very next play, Bart Coslet got a sack of its own. This is why I tell you it's often tough to evaluate backup quarterbacks. Dalton was trying to get out of trouble more than he was looking downfield.

1 Offense vs 2 Defense

Jayson Palmgren was getting some reps at left guard with the top unit. I wouldn't read much into it because I have thought Austin Wuebbels has been pretty impressive, but probably a clue that Palmgren will be counted on some this fall.

The drive was kept alive by a facemask penalty on third and 11 when Gabbert had been stopped for a seven-yard gain.

On the run, Gabbert took a pretty decent hit and actually sat out for a couple of plays. Costello stepped in and hit Andrew Jones with a nice throw over the middle.

Jacquies Smith made an impressive play when he shed a block and dragged Washington down for no gain on an outside run.

This drive ended in a 37-yard field goal. Grant Ressel and Tanner Mills both made the kick.

2 Offense vs 1 Defense

Jacquies Smith again stood out, wrecking a run for a loss.

Costello did a great job standing in against an all-out rush and hit Rolandis Woodland for six. It was a far better day for the Tigers' current No. 2 quarterback that Saturday's scrimmage.

Dalton came in to get some reps with the twos and hit Gilbert Moye with a seven-yard pass.

J.T. Beasley was getting reps at right guard while Brendan Donaldson was at center. This is the first time I've noticed Beasley at that spot.

4 Offense vs 3 Defense

Glaser nearly made the play of the day. He had a dangerous pass batted in the air by a defender. It then deflected off another player. While the ball floated in the air, no one could locate it other than Glaser. He sprinted downfield and dove, nearly completing a pass to himself for a ten-yard gain.

The drive ended with a less stellar play for Glaser. He was picked off on the left side by Kip Edwards, who ran the interception back for a score.

1 Offense vs 1 Defense, Two-Minute Drill

This actually started on the 36-yard line with 1:30 on the clock. The offense had one timeout.

Brandon Gerau was the star of the drive. He made three catches. The first was a nine-yarder on which Gerau broke a tackle and headed straight to the sideline. The play saved at least ten seconds on the clock. Later in the drive, after a near-interception by Trey Hobson on a throw Gabbert probably wanted back, Gerau converted a fourth-and-short with a six-yard catch.

Gabbert found Wes Kemp with a nice pass for 19 yards which set up a 32-yard field goal that Mills nailed for the "win."

2 Offense vs 2 Defense, Two-Minute Drill

Costello started the drive hot, finding Woodland for 22 and Jon Gissinger for 13 on his first two passes. Completions to Kemp and Beau Brinkley moved the ball down near the ten.

From there, Ressell finished things off with the 29-yard field goal.

4 Offense vs 3 Defense, Two-Minute Drill

Glaser finished on a high note, starting the drive with an 11-yard completion to Terry Dennis.

Malbrough made a big defensive play, batting down a pass, but Glaser was still able to lead the offense into field goal range. Trey Barrow converted from 34 yards out.

The Tigers return to the practice field for a 3:30 workout on Friday afternoon and PowerMizzou.com will be there.

PowerMizzou.com's spring football coverage is sponsored by Pension & Benefits Live. Jesse Cox (stljesstx) and Tim Killday (Killer) would appreciate the opportunity to be a resource to you for company benefits and/or individual health and life insurance needs.



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