Following a shortened practice on Sunday, as many players headed to ice down or shower, quarterback Brad Smith stayed behind to work with a pair of Missouri receivers.
Not Sean Coffey and Thomson Omboga, or Brad Ekwerekwu and Jason Ray, but Tommy Saunders and Andrew Hoskins.
That extra work and commitment is why Hoskins says he believes he has made an impression during the Tigers’ fall camp.
During Saturday’s scrimmage, Hoskins and freshman quarterback Chase Patton hooked up four times during the only touchdown-scoring drive of the day. Before Hoskins caught a 7-yard scoring pass from Patton, he made several highlight reel catches.
Besides a leaping grab for 24 yards and a catch after the ball bounced away from tight end Josh Barbo and linebacker David Richard, the catch that caught coach Gary Pinkel’s eye was a routine 10-yard gain. After Hoskins caught the ball, defensive back Ryan Edwards drilled Hoskins, but he ignored the hit and held onto the football.
“He really made some great ones and took some really big hits,” Pinkel said. “He got hit hard and we just tell them to make sure you get up with the football.
“We don’t really care how hard you got hit and how much it hurt, just get up with football and it won’t hurt quite that bad.”
Hoskins, a 6-foot-2, 200-pound, sophomore walk-on from Plattsburg, said those catches are a way to contribute although he hopes the coaches are noticing he can make the big catch.
“I just want to be a contributor and help this team win games,” Hoskins said.
Hoskins, who redshirted as a freshman and is entering his third year in the program, said his play is a by-product of the passing game working as a whole.
“Teamwork’s a big deal, you know, the quarterback has to be on page, wide receiver has to run the route, the linemen have to block,” he said. “It just all works together and makes it easier to make plays.”
Patton said he has noticed Hoskins is always making plays.
“It seems like that, the past few weeks,” Patton said. “Obviously I didn’t really know him that well before that, but just from these few weeks, you can tell he’s a tough player and goes out there and make plays and I was lucky to hook up with him those couple plays.”
While Patton claims he was lucky to work with Hoskins, Hoskins is trying to develop a bond with the quarterbacks. He said knowing what the quarterback thinks is key to making the tough catches on the field.
“Getting to know your quarterback, getting to know how he thinks, the feel for the game,” Hoskins said. “I’ve been in the program, this is my third year, and after so many years you start to feel more comfortable about the type of routes and how you adjust to them.”