Forward progress

Offense shows signs of improvement on second day of practice
Wednesday, August 11, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 10:56 a.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

In the second day of practice Missouri’s offense did what teams are expected to do in preseason practices: improve.

Although the defense intercepted five passes Tuesday in seven-on-seven and 11-on-11 drills at Memorial Stadium, the offense had more success with its passing game than it had Monday.

The offense’s biggest play was a pass from quarterback Brandon Coleman to wide receiver Jason Ray for a 50-yard touchdown. Ray ran into the end zone untouched for the offense’s first score in two days of helmets-only practice.

Coleman is Brad Smith’s backup and quarterback coach David Yost said he is pleased with the progress Coleman is making.

“He made some good decisions (Tuesday) and he’s got to continue to get better,” Yost said. “He was better today than yesterday, he’s got to be better tomorrow than today.”

Smith had success finding open receivers Tuesday, completing a 42-yard pass to wide receiver Thomson Omboga during seven-on-seven and finding tight end Victor Sesay three times in 11-on-11 drills.

Sesay is first on the depth chart at tight end, a position coach Gary Pinkel said he would like to feature more in the offense.

“I’d like to get our tight end involved more in our passing game,” Pinkel said. “I think we can, I think we have some athletes there.”

KICKING IT: Place kicker Adam Crossett showed he is ready for the competition at that position Tuesday, putting all his kicks into the end zone during a kickoff drill.

Crossett, a red-shirt freshman is competing with sophomore Alex Pettersen to replace two-year starter Mike Matheny. Pettersen is the Tigers’ only kicker with game experience, kicking an extra point against Iowa State on Nov. 29, 2003.

Pinkel said he has drills designed to gauge the kickers’ ability, which he will use in future practices.

“We’ll have what we call kickoff competition,” Pinkel said. “I think the good news is we got some guys with good legs out there, and we’ll just have to see how that works out.”

FRESHMAN MISTAKES: Missouri has a three-man class of freshmen quarterbacks that includes Darrell Jackson, Mack Breed and former Rock Bridge standout Chase Patton. The freshmen are trying to learn a new system and, as expected by the coaching staff, making some mental mistakes.

“What (the coaches) feel is that you throw them into the fire as much as you can,” Yost said. “(Patton) had a few today where he went the wrong way or whatever, but he’s probably going to work harder tonight so that doesn’t happen tomorrow.”

Patton had some noticeable struggles Tuesday, confusing some play calls and throwing an interception in seven-on-seven play.

Although Pinkel said that most of the difficulties the freshman quarterbacks are having is because of learning a new system, the defenses they are facing have also been difficult.

“We’re very multiple on defense and we’re throwing a lot of things at them, things they’ve never seen before on defense,” Pinkel said. “That’s why it’s a very difficult position to play. I call this ‘getting dirty a little bit.’ It’s part of what a quarterback has to do.”

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