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With Coffman injured, replacement players take field

Tuesday, August 12, 2008 | 7:31 p.m. CDT
De'Vion Moore (26), a red-shirt freshman from St. Louis, carries the ball up the field as senior Evander Hood (94) attempts to stop him during a practice scrimmage Tuesday morning on Faurot Field at MU.

COLUMBIA — Missouri and preseason All-Big 12 Conference tight end Chase Coffman's right hand was covered with iodine.

Not a sight that any Missouri football fan wanted to see when the Tigers held their first scrimmage of the season on Tuesday at Faurot Field.

After suffering a broken pinkie last week on his right hand, Coffman and coaches opted to surgically repair the pinkie by inserting three screws in an operation held Tuesday morning. Coffman will likely be out a week or two, Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said, but he is expected to return in time for the season-opener Aug. 30 against Illinois in St. Louis.

"We were thinking that we could just tape it up and it'd be better," Coffman said. "This was the better thing to do. Just get it healed up now so we don't have to worry about it later."

Coffman's hand was taped up and surrounded by a chunky machine that helps stimulate bone growth.

"(The coaches) didn't want it to keep getting re-injured and bother me the entire season," Coffman said.

Coffman's injury allowed the younger tight ends to take the spotlight at Tuesday's scrimmage.

"When you have an All-American tight end who gets hurt, it gives other people a chance," Pinkel said. "They got thrown in against the (first team) in a tough environment and made some plays."

One of those players was freshman Andrew Jones who replaced Coffman on the first team offense. Jones, from Smithville, was the No. 2 prospect in the state of Missouri and the No. 9 tight end prospect in the nation according to Scout.com. Jones earned All-State honors three times while playing for the Warriors and he also participated in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

"At the beginning, I was kind of nervous out there," Jones said. "I've been running with the top groups in practice, so I shouldn't have been so shaky."

Jones came up with the acrobatic catch of the day during the first drive. While linebacker Andrew Gechkar was covering him, Jones ran up the sideline to make the catch. Gechkar tipped the ball, but Jones dove and caught it. Jones finished with three catches for 36-yards during the scrimmage.

"I was just trying to prove myself out there," Jones said. "I felt like I did pretty well."

Jones committed to MU as soon as he could and never wavered in his decision to play football for the Tigers even after receiving 30 scholarship offers and visiting Notre Dame.

Jones impact was felt on the team before he even set foot on campus. Jones used himself as a recruiting tool for MU by making calls to players who he wanted to be teammates with, namely star recruits quarterback Blaine Gabbert and offensive lineman Dan Hoch.

"The guys who didn't commit until really late, I just tried to help out the coaches and bring better players around the program," Jones said. "I'd give them calls and talk to them on the internet about coming to Mizzou."

Offensive Highlights: Quarterback Chase Daniel and receiver Jeremy Maclin did nothing surprising and both had good performances. Daniel finished 11-of-17 passing for 128 yards and a touchdown to Jared Perry. Maclin finished with six receptions for 99 yards and a touchdown. Maclin caught a perfect pass over his shoulder from backup quarterback Chase Patton for a 36-yard touchdown.

"Overall, the wide receivers made some great catches," Pinkel said. "I thought Chase Patton did a really good job going against the ones."

Running the ball, starter Derrick Washington finished with 55 yards on 11 carries with two touchdowns. His last touchdown came when he ran right, stopped suddenly, then cut left, running 22-yards for the touchdown.

Defensive Highlights: All-American safety William Moore made his presence felt in the first full-contact of the season on consecutive plays. Moore slammed sophomore wide receiver La'Roderick Thomas into the ground in the backfield on a reverse. On the next play, Moore crunched redshirt freshman and Columbia native Brandon Gerau after he caught the ball. The hit prompted "ooohs" from the 40 or so media and fans watching the scrimmage.

Special Teams: Punter Jack Harry continues to boom long and high punts when forced into game-like situations. Harry averaged 42-yards per punt in six kicks during the scrimmage. His long punt was 51-yards.

 


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