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48 HOURS OF FOOTBALL: Game day for Marching Mizzou starts early

Friday, October 28, 2011 | 12:01 a.m. CDT; updated 8:58 p.m. CST, Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Hour 15: 7 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 22

As everyone hangs up their uniforms, there are smiles, laughs and satisfaction with a job well done.

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This is not the Missouri football locker room. No, there probably isn't a whole lot of smiling going on in there after a 45-24 loss.

This is across Mick Deaver Memorial Drive and inside the Hearnes Center where Marching Mizzou keeps its uniforms.

Like the football team, Marching Mizzou had been practicing all week for Saturday's game against Oklahoma State. But unlike the Tigers, the band went out and executed.

Game day for Marching Mizzou started at 7 a.m. Saturday. Before the sun was even up, band members came jogging through the RV parking lot over to the practice field in sweatshirts. Almost everyone was wearing gym shorts, sweatpants or pajama pants.

Marching Mizzou's practice field is located on the pavement behind the RV lot. An entire football field is painted on the pavement, including yard markers, hash marks and goal lines. Trees border the east end-zone and south sideline.

Next to the practice field is a green shed about the size of a two-car garage that holds all of the instruments.

If a Missouri fan were to come watch the band practice, it would be a familiar sight. Sort of.

As Andrew Monnig, one of four drum majors, leads the band onto the field for "Every True Son," he marches while swinging his arms and leaning backwards, just as he does on the field before games. The difference is that he's not wearing his white uniform and tall white feathered hat. He's wearing a yellow sweatshirt and white gym shorts.

The rest of the band is dressed similarly. With the sun rising behind them as they practice, the only thing recognizable is the routine. Band director Brad Snow is watching everything from up in a construction vehicle and calling out directions using a megaphone.

Three hours later, the familiar sight was back. The sun was up, the entire band was in uniform and out on Faurot Field playing its pregame show for a crowd of more than 64,000 people.

After the pregame show, the band members headed up to their seats and became a group of fans. Besides having to pick up their instruments to play after almost every play, the band members really were just another group of fans. They stood for the entire game, yelled while Oklahoma State had the ball, questioned James Franklin's decisions and went crazy after E.J. Gaines' interception, just like the rest of the fans in attendance.

They were probably the most synchronized group of fans in the stadium, doing all of their cheering as one huge unit. Each drum major stood on a ladder and led the band for one quarter of the game — Elliot Naes first, then Monnig, Paul Heddings and Jeff Panhorst. Snow stood on a lower ladder, sometimes writing down numbers on a small whiteboard to hold up to the band so that they could see what song to play next.

And they were certainly the only group of fans to catch the attention of the referees.

On the first play of the second quarter, one of the referees stopped play, ran toward the south end-zone where the band was sitting, looked at Snow and pulled his hand across his neck. This was a warning to the band to stop playing sooner between plays.

Marching Mizzou was also one of the few groups of fans to stick around for the entire game. After the game, the band played the alma mater "Old Missouri" for the remaining fans. They then put their instruments down, put their arms around each other and sang the alma mater before being dismissed for the day by Snow.

After being dismissed, they walked back to the shed and put their instruments away and then walked back to the Hearnes Center to hang up their uniforms so that they could be cleaned for next week.

It was the end of a long day for everyone, especially the drumline.

The drumline put on two performances before the game in the donor lot behind the Hearnes Center. The first was immediately after the morning practice for drumline alumni who were tailgating. They played for about 15 minutes and then lined up in the tailgaters' tent and helped themselves to breakfast.

An hour later, after the entire band had put on its uniforms and gone to warm up outside, the drumline performed again, this time for a group of tailgaters who had lined up near the Hearnes Center.

The drumline and the rest of Marching Mizzou then put on one last performance in the parade before getting onto Faurot Field.

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