Missouri won't put full pads on for a couple more days, but the Tigers added shoulder pads for Saturday morning's workout. Here is the full report on today's practice.
News and Notes
*Offensive tackle Justin Britt was without the walking boot on his foot early in practice as he stretched and loosened up. Later on, though, Britt had the boot on again. As we have reported, he is not expected to miss any games.
*Tailback Russell Hansbrough shed the red pullover and went full speed for the first time in camp.
*It's time to quit worry about James Franklin and his shoulder. It's fine. He's making every throw. In three consecutive plays during 7-on-7 Franklin checked off to Gahn McGaffie over the middle, threw a deep out route to Marcus Murphy and hit Bud Sasser with a rainbow of a deep ball down the sideline. Franklin is fine. Barring a new injury, there's no reason to worry about Franklin missing a game.
*It may be a bit early to start pulling the redshirts off freshmen, but we're ready to do it for one. I will be very surprised if Sean Culkin does not see the field this year. We heard his name as a standout in the summer and it's tough not to pay attention to the plays he is making in camp. Culkin looks every bit of 6-foot-5 and has a lot of athleticism for a big tight end.
For the first time in camp, the Tigers ran the one-on-one drill with receivers and running backs running patterns against defensive backs and outside linebackers. We'll have video later in the day, but here are a few things that caught our eye:
*Dorial Green-Beckham beat John Gibson deep and tightroped the sideline to stay in bounds on a long catch. DGB took his first rep with the first-team offense later in practice. Before you get weak in the knees and put him in the starting lineup, there is always plenty of shuffling between units during camp, especially with skill position players.
*McGaffie made a nice spinning grab. He really began to emerge last fall and spring. With Moe sidelined with a mild hamstring injury, McGaffie has made the most of his opportunities.
"He's a senior now, he's had his mark here," Gary Pinkel said. "He's just a heck of a football player. He's just very, very reliable...Just a great team player, great kid."
We will have a video interview with McGaffie talking about his progress later today.
*Darvin Ruise had an interception of Maty Mauk. Ruise was a star in the spring game and has made quite a few plays early in camp. The Tigers have depth at linebacker, but the sophomore is making a sure bid for playing time.
*Rolandis Woodland made a long grab after spinning around Randy Ponder. I'm noticing Woodland more consistently in the past. I've been told he had a strong spring. Better late than never, he may have a chance to contribute this season.
*Jimmie Hunt made a great move to create space against Matt White and made a long catch. Hunt is a guy who really stood out last fall and at times in the spring. It will be interesting to see where he fits in in a receiving corps that is looking deeper and deeper as camp goes on.
*Wesley Leftwich was well covered on an underthrown ball by Ernest Payton. But Leftwich made an adjustment, came back and outfought Payton to come down with the ball.
Enough about the SEC
It was evident at SEC Media Days two weeks ago that the Tigers were growing a bit tired of all the talk about their new league. Pinkel understands it is going to continue throughout the year, but he is content to let other people talk all about it.
"I'm going to let people say what they want to say because I don't really care," Pinkel said when asked about the difference in leagues at a certain position. "The program's no different than it ever was, we recruit no different than we did. We've competed to be one of the best teams in the country every year. That's what we do. Our foundation and our whole plan in place was for that. That has never changed and will never change."
"We're switching conferences, yes," McGaffie added. "But they have football players just like we have football players. To me, I don't see any difference. Just the patch on our jerseys."
Some notes from different drills throughout the day.
*Green-Beckham, Woodland, Marcus Lucas and Hunt all drew praise from receivers coach Andy Hill for their blocking during run drills.
*Freshman linebacker Donavin Newsom was praised for his work during an option drill.
*Mauk and Culkin hooked up again during 7-on-7. In 11-on-11, Culkin took a big shoulder-high hit from David Johnson, but hung on to make a short reception. Johnson and Payton were both mentioned by Pinkel as players who were making some strides at receiver.
*At one point in 11-on-11, the third-team offense featured Mauk at quarterback with Culkin, Green-Beckham, Darius White and Levi Copelin at receiver and Morgan Steward in the backfield. They probably won't all stay there this year, but that's a heck of a lot of potential on a scout team offense.
The Tigers will practice on Sunday morning at 7:15, but that session is closed to the media. We will be at fan/photo day with a photo gallery and a chance to talk to the freshmen on Sunday afternoon. The next practice report will follow Monday morning's 7:15 workout.
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