COLUMBIA — One problem the Missouri football team has entering the new season is one most people don't know about.
Three-year long snapper Steven Blair graduated after last season, leaving a need for someone to snap on punts and field goals. The good thing for the Tigers and coach Gary Pinkel is that they have found some suitable replacements. Senior linebacker Brock Christopher has taken on long snapping duties for now, but competition for the job continues.
Freshman walk-on Beau Brinkley is another player being considered.
"He's really competing hard," Pinkel said. "He's really competing hard with Brock."
Freshman offensive lineman Brad Madison is also being looked at for long snapper.
"Madison is also really talented," Pinkel said. "That's exciting. To have two young guys like that. They're really, really good. These guys are as talented as I've seen. That's why I've been smiling so much."
Pinkel said he continues to see improvement from junior punter Jake Harry, a transfer from Palomar (Calif.) Junior College. Harry boomed a 40-yard punt with a 4.4 second hangtime between offense-versus-defense drills, and afterwards several teammates gave Harry some "attaboys."
"We're trying to set up in our practices pressure situations," Pinkel said. "We're just looking to see consistency now."
In the highlight of the day, backup quarterback Chase Patton threw a 55-yard touchdown pass to sophomore wide receiver Forrest Shock, resulting in a handful of offensive players letting free saftey Gilbert Moye know that he got burned on the play. Quarterback Chase Daniel returned to practice after missing Friday's practice to attend his cousin's funeral in Texas. His parents Bill and Vickie Daniel came back with him.
When the Tigers break into their individual positions for physical training, each group loudly spells out T-I-G-E-R-S with each completed jumping jack. Saturday morning, senior wide receiver Tommy Saunders and his group of wide receivers weren't going to be outdone by anyone else. After one group tried spell the loudest, the receivers had one more grand finale. Saunders started jumping up and down while shaking and yelling at the top of his lungs with his fellow receivers. The other groups had no response.
The only new injury during Saturday's two practices was that starting cornerback Castine Bridge's knee developed some inflammation. He didn't practice in the afternoon session, but is expected to return in a day or two.
Linebacker Van Alexander and wide receiver Danario Alexander continue to sit out because of recent knee surgeries, though Danario Alexander has been seen jogging lightly between drills. Van Alexander participates in agility drills but is held out of 11-on-11 action drills. Danario Alexander is expected to start running in a week and to return to game action for Big 12 Conference play. Also, junior college transfer Brian Coulter appears recovered from an ankle sprain. He shed his red bib and practiced with the second team defensive unit at full speed for the first time.