COLUMBIA — If everyone on the receiving end of Blaine Gabberts’ rocket passes during Saturday’s seven-on-seven drills weren’t already wearing football helmets, they would probably be asking for catcher’s masks.
The sophomore quarterback has shown great touch on plenty of throws during Missouri’s fall camp, but the true show comes when Gabbert is stepping into throws and putting some heat on each one.
Plenty of throws Saturday ended with the sound of the ball smacking off a set of shoulder pads. Gabbert’s ability to use his arm strength to fit the ball into tight windows, combined with his ability to make deep throws, opens up nearly every possible route for offensive coordinator David Yost.
- It's true for nearly every quarterback in nearly every situation, and Gabbert and the rest of the Missouri offense are no exception. When Gabbert has time, things look great. Andrew Jones, Perry and Danario Alexander have a feel for finding holes in zone coverage, and when given the time to do so, Gabbert has no trouble finding a receiver in the middle of the field.
So getting injured sophomore offensive tackle Dan Hoch back in time for the season opener against Illinois will be a key in creating that time for Gabbert. During the first play of the 11-on-11 session linebacker Andrew Gachkar came untouched off the offensive's right side for a would-be sack.
- With how good Gabbert's receivers are at finding voids in the defense they often settle into a passing window and wait for Gabbert to get them the ball. During the full-team session at the end of practice, however, the wide receivers on the first team offense were attacking the ball while it was in the air.
Alexander made a great play on an under-thrown pass that required him to work back to the ball and go up and get it over the cornerback, and Wes Kemp made a similarly aggressive play during a two-minute drill while reaching up to snag a pass up the seam.
- Rolandis Woodland got behind the No. 1 defense for a long touchdown pass from Jimmy Costello that, other than being on the other side of the field, was nearly identical to the score they put together during Thursday's scrimmage. Both plays are unsettling reminders for anyone who watched the Missouri defense last season — a great play, series, or quarter can become insignificant pretty quickly. It only takes one.