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MU not afraid of new play clock rule

Thursday, August 14, 2008 | 8:41 p.m. CDT; updated 12:23 a.m. CDT, Friday, August 15, 2008
For the 2008 football season, NCAA officials are implementing a 40-second play clock that will aim to speed up games without affecting offensive output. The system, which is similar to what the NFL uses, will have a 40-second clock that begins when a ball is called dead by a referee.

COLUMBIA - The Missouri offense likes to run as many plays as possible with its no-huddle, spread offense.

This season, coach Gary Pinkel thinks the Tigers should get a boost from a rule change.

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The NCAA will now use a 40-second play clock, similar to what is used in the NFL, that will start as soon as the previous play ends. The clock is meant to eliminate the variation in the amount of time different referee crews take to set the ball for play.

Previously, the play clock lasted 25 seconds and didn't start until officials spotted the ball. The play clock will still last 25 seconds after a change of possession.

When the referees "set it quicker, we get it off quicker," Pinkel said. "I think we'll have more plays. It's going to be a plus for us."

Since Missouri uses a no-huddle offense, the players receive the play from four coaches on the sideline who send complex hand and body movements immediately after the previous play ends. Another advantage of the longer play clock is that quarterback Chase Daniel and the offense will have longer to read defenses and adjust at the line of scrimmage.

"I don't think it'll affect us as much as it'll affect the defense, because we can play faster," said offensive coordinator Dave Christensen.

Elvis has entered the starting line-up

Elvis Fisher, a redshirt freshman, moved to starting left tackle after Tuesday's scrimmage. Previous left tackle Kurtis Gregory moved back to right guard, where he played last season. Dain Wise, who was starting at right guard, was moved to third in the depth chart after struggling through the first two weeks of practice.

"Coach (Christensen) called me into his office and told me I was No. 1," Fisher said. "He said, ‘Keep working hard and keep it up.'"

The first person Fisher called with the news was his dad, Jeff.

"That's the only person I really told," Fisher said. "I'm really not trying to brag about it. Everything is still subject to change."

Fisher gained 20 lbs. in the past year, which helped him jump up the depth chart at left tackle.

"Coach (Jana) Heitmeyer really helped me getting a diet together," Fisher said. "Just keep eating the right stuff. I wanted to put on good weight, not just slop."

Injury updates: Freshman quarterback Blaine Gabbert's MRI on Wednesday revealed that he suffered a shoulder sprain during that morning's practice when he dove after a bad snap.

"He's fine," Pinkel said. "It's like a pitcher who gets sore. You treat it and get him back going. We're excited about that."

It is unknown when Gabbert is expected to return to practice. Missouri has two practices Friday and a scrimmage Saturday before the team is given its first off-day of the season.

Linebacker Van Alexander practiced for the second consecutive day without a red injury jersey.

Defensive tackle Andy Maples hurt his foot midway through practice.

 


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