Progress is the key word coach Gary Pinkel wants Missouri’s football team to adopt after a Saturday scrimmage at Memorial Stadium.
The second scrimmage this week featured solid passing by quarterbacks Brad Smith and freshman Chase Patton and overall good play by the defense, but coach Gary Pinkel said the team still has to improve before its first game two weeks from Saturday against Arkansas State.
“I think we’re still concerned with everything,” Pinkel said. “At times we’re throwing the ball better, I think our (rush defense) is better, at times. At times isn’t good enough, but I think we’re making progress.”
The offense ran passing plays for the majority of the two-hour scrimmage, but scored only once, on a seven-yard touchdown pass from Patton to wide receiver Andrew Hoskins. He made three catches on the drive, including a 10-yard pass from Patton that Hoskins held onto despite a jarring hit by defensive back Ryan Edwards.
“He got hit hard,” Pinkel said. “We just tell him, ‘make sure you get up with the football.’”
Patton had 190 yard passing Saturday, going 19-for-24 with a touchdown. He had success finding Hoskins and tight end Victor Sesay who most often runs with the first team offense and receives passes from Smith.
“It took me a while to even realize (Patton) was throwing me the ball,” Sesay said.
Smith, working with his normal crew of receivers for the first time this week after Sean Coffey and Thomson Omboga returned from injuries, was 15-for-25 with 149 yards. Smith ran very little except during one series when he ran twice for 14 yards. That series ended with a 27-yard pass from Smith to wide receiver Brad Ekwerekwu that appeared to be a touchdown, but the officials ruled Ekwerekwu failed to get one foot in bounds before stepping out in the back of the end zone.
Pinkel said he expects more from the defense.
“If you’re a great defense, you don’t give up a first down in a scrimmage, or you give up one in the entire scrimmage,” Pinkel said. “We gave up a few, so, we’re not great.”