COLUMBIA — The Missouri football team caught a break today.
In unseasonably cool, cloudy weather, the team had a somewhat abbreviated practice before their second scrimmage of the season. Coach Gary Pinkel also announced that the second practice of the day would be canceled so that the team could go catch a movie.
“I don’t do movies,” Pinkel said. “All I know is the bus leaves at 2:10. I told the freshman … that if it’s 2:10 and one second, they’re late, 2:10, that thing pulls out. I look at my atomic watch. It syncs every night to Fort Collins, Colo. This thing is to the time … that time hits, we’re out of here.”
Obviously, Pinkel was in a good mood after the shortened practice, as he joked with reporters and described his expectations for Thursday’s scrimmage. He said that his goal is for the first, second and third strings to take 35 plays, while the fourth string will play fewer snaps.
The offense, which had lost two practices in a row, reclaimed the black jerseys. The preseason competition between the offense and defense is now tied at 4-4.
Junior receiver Jerrell Jackson had surgery on his broken wrist on Monday. Instead of having season-ending surgery, Jackson chose to have a pin inserted, which should stabilize his wrist and allow him to return by the middle of September.
Pinkel discussed three freshmen wide receivers who have played well in the preseason: Jimmie Hunt, Marcus Murphy and Bud Sasser. Hunt is sitting out of practice this week with an injury, which Pinkel says will add to the pressure the other freshmen are already facing. Pinkel was vague about the future roles of Murphy and Sasser but indicated that decisions would be made about their playing time in the coming weeks.
Receiver Kerwin Stricker is still out with an injured ankle and groin, and the team will do another CAT scan to determine the severity of the injuries. Defensive back Kevin Rutland also sat out with a back strain, but Pinkel said that he would be back soon.
“We’re a little bit sensitive to guys who are injured right now because we want to get them to the dance tomorrow,” he said. “We want to get them in the scrimmage.”
After sitting out part of last week with a hip pointer, defensive end Aldon Smith looked healthy and ready for the second scrimmage.
In past years, the team wore shoulder pads for the practice before the second scrimmage, but this year and last year they did not.
Will Ebner remains sidelined with a hamstring injury. Pinkel forecast last week that Ebner might return on Monday or Tuesday, but the injury is still aggravating him.
There have been several changes in the depth chart since last week. At X wide receiver, L’Damian Washington is now working with the first string instead of Rolandis Woodland. Jayson Palmgren is playing with the first string instead of Justin Britt at left guard, and Wes Kemp is listed as even with Jaleel Clark at the Z wide receiver.
Beau Brinkley, who is currently listed as the third-string tight end, has performed consistently well throughout preseason and could be challenging Andrew Jones for the second-string spot. Brinkley has had some of the most steady hands of any tight end and appears to be one of the toughest players to bring down. Jones, on the other hand, is still recovering from offseason shoulder surgery.