COLUMBIA — Sports Illustrated named Tigers returner Marcus Murphy to its All-American team this week. But things began poorly for Murphy during Saturday morning’s scrimmage. He muffed a punt in warmups and then fumbled away the opening kickoff.
“I judged the punt wrong, and I was trying to correct my mistake on the run,” Murphy said. “On the opening kickoff, I need to have better ball leverage, but that will come with reps at practice.”
He was able to rebound on the ground, however. He collected a team-high 57 yards on seven carries. Murphy made a few defenders miss on a late scamper that left him one yard short of the goal line.
“As a running back, you should never get stopped on the one-yard line,” Murphy said. “I should have scored.”
Shaky snaps ruin Boehm’s day
Shotgun snaps were a point of emphasis for Missouri last year. The opening SEC loss to Georgia was particularly disappointing in terms of center play. So it’s understandable that coach Gary Pinkel was upset when Evan Boehm fired two poor snaps in a row at quarterback Maty Mauk, including one that sailed over his head for a turnover.
“We’d like to make sure we get those eliminated before the first game,” Pinkel said. “We should go through a whole season without a bad snap.”
Boehm was playing center in a pressure situation for the first time, but he didn’t offer up any excuses for his shaky play.
“I flicked the ball a little too hard today, and that brought the nose up and shot it over Maty’s head those two times,” Boehm said. “It comes down to the fundamentals. I had a couple mental errors that I can’t have, and I have three weeks to correct them.”
DGB disappears, Lucas draws cheers
After opening the scrimmage with a nifty 24-yard catch on the left sideline, Dorial Gree-Beckham pulled a disappearing act. He dropped two passes and was only targeted once more, on an errant James Franklin throw that E.J. Gaines leaped to pick off.
“Whenever the tempo is moving fast,” said Green-Beckham, “you’re not really thinking like, is the ball coming this way?”
Teammate Marcus Lucas made the biggest play of the day as he blew by the defense for a 75-yard touchdown catch from James Franklin.
“Whenever you make big plays, it’s kind of contagious,” Lucas said. “It gives us all the momentum, and it just sparked our offense.”
Still no answer at outside linebacker
Darvin Ruise and Kentrell Brothers have been locked in a position battle this fall, and neither played well enough to grab an advantage.
“It’s a battle,” Pinkel said. “They’re both probably going to play, and if one plays better than the other, he’ll move up as the starter.”
Wesley Leftwich, John Gibson and Matt White were all held out of the scrimmage. Sheldon Gireaux suffered a sprained ankle – according to Pinkel – when he was tackled making a catch.