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Cool weather brings mixed feelings for Missouri football

Saturday, August 9, 2014 | 5:58 p.m. CDT; updated 6:46 p.m. CDT, Saturday, August 9, 2014
Wide receiver Jimmy Hunt sings along to Michael Jackson's "Thriller" during a football training camp at Memorial Stadium on Saturday. Despite the day's mild temperatures, "we know the heat's gonna come," Hunt said.

COLUMBIA — Gary Pinkel is sick and tired of the pleasantness.

It drizzled Saturday. It was overcast Thursday. A Seattle Seahawks scout watched practice Friday. It felt like Seattle on Friday. 

To the Missouri head coach, the first week of camp just hasn't brought the kind of football weather to which he is accustomed.

"It's remarkably comfortable out here weather-wise," Pinkel said. "Really, you don't really want it that way because our first three games are going to be played between 11 in the morning and 2:30 in the afternoon."

It's not that the Tigers aren't working hard. They've practiced in full pads for two days in a row and are sweating through their dri-fit undershirts.

But when players do get breathers or a pleasant breeze sweeps through the practice field, the sweat doesn't stick.

Midway through talking to reporters Saturday, the sweat on center Evan Boehm's massive arms had evaporated away. He said Missouri's players are relishing the mild August temperatures.

"It's real nice to have a camp like this," Boehm said. "We really like to say God is a really good Missouri Tiger fan right now."

Boehm, who played high school football in suburban Kansas City, said he's never had an opening week of camp this temperate. He said Pinkel's wrath might come out a little bit once it gets hotter, but until then Boehm says he's enjoying stretching and conditioning without having to constantly wipe his brow.

The Tigers have finished the first week of camp without any serious injuries. Running back Marcus Murphy is taking extra precautions to stay healthy while the sun hides behind the clouds.

"I mean, you might not get as tired, but you have to come out and warm up a little bit more and stretch a little bit more because it's not hot, and it's easier to pull a muscle," Murphy said.

Like Boehm, quarterback Maty Mauk can't recall a cooler first week of football camp.

Mauk, who played high school football in Kenton, Ohio, said he is used to playing through rain, sleet and snow during the latter half of the season. The first week of August, though, always means muggy temperatures. This week has been a nice mental breather for the sophomore starter.

"Mentally, you're not beat," Mauk said.

Mauk said the players take hydration tests every morning before practice but agreed with Pinkel about the need to practice in game-like conditions.

For his part, Pinkel isn't changing the team's practice habits to replicate a hot afternoon at Faurot Field. All but one of Missouri's first six practices have begun a little after 7 a.m.

On Saturday, the sun didn't come out until 9:51 a.m. By that time, practice was finished, and Boehm was stretching with his teammates and basking in the pleasantness.

Supervising editor is Greg Bowers.


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