After participating in the first two fall practices, Tony Temple, a freshman running back, was held out of Wednesday’s practice after a problem with his eligibility arose with the NCAA Clearinghouse.
Temple, from Rockhurst High in Kansas City, was ranked the No. 2 running back in the country by ESPN.com last year and the No. 18 player overall.
Missouri is appealing the decision, but until the issue is resolved, Temple is unable to attend camp.
Coach Gary Pinkel would not comment on the nature of the eligibility issue or how long it will be before there is a ruling on the appeal.
While Temple works to resolve his problem with the NCAA Clearinghouse, the Tigers worked with contact for the first time after two days of shadow tag practices.
Light contact was introduced into drills between the offense and defense. The addition of pads did little to slow down the defense’s momentum.
“It allows us to get a little more physical,” Pinkel said. “We call it ‘high thud.’ And ‘high thud’ for us is when you can actually tag a player and are able to make contact up high with the shoulder pads.”
Pinkel said the staff is careful to define the amount of contact allowable to prevent injuries. During these early practices, the Tigers’ pass defense is not allowed to play the ball against the receiver. When the Tigers practice in full gear Friday, the defense won’t have to back off.
Despite the shadow defense, Missouri’s pass defense continued to dominate.
The defense intercepted three balls, two against Darrell Jackson, and recovered two fumbles Wednesday.
Pinkel said the Tigers have to continue to work to improve and he has seen promise in the receiving corps.
“I think Sean Coffey has done some good things, Thomson Omboga has looked good and Brad Ekwerekwu has made some plays,” Pinkel said. “They’re doing some good things out here, but once again they’re not allowed to get hit. Will Franklin is a high-level athlete, I think that’s obvious to anyone and he’s looked pretty good.”
Coffey made several nice grabs, including a 30-yard pass from Brad Smith where he outjumped Marcus King for the ball during seven-on-seven drills.
Franklin demonstrated his athletic ability when he took a slant from Jackson and outraced the defense for a 55-yard touchdown.
Smith also provided a reminder of his athleticism when he took the first snap during a running drill for a touchdown.
MISSING RECRUITS: Missouri fans will have to wait at least two years to see Julius Denzmore and Chris Wade in a Tigers uniform. The two recruits are headed to junior college after failing to qualify. Denzmore will be attending Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College and Wade is enrolled at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M.
Offensive lineman Kyle Riggs had shoulder surgery and will join the team once school starts.
OFFENSIVE EMOTION: After two days of listening to the defense fill Memorial Stadium with celebratory chants, members of the offense also displayed some emotional outbursts on Wednesday.
Tight ends Jason Gannon and Clint Matthews trotted onto the field singing “Welcome to the Jungle.” Running back Marcus Woods followed with a primal scream when he entered the field.