The college football world knows who Brad Smith is and what he can do.
As a result, Smith spent most of Thursday’s scrimmage, the final one scheduled this preseason, watching from the sideline as the Missouri football team let Brandon Coleman and Chase Patton handle most of the snaps. Smith ran the team for one series.
Coleman and Patton are in competition for the No. 2 job and worked primarily with the No. 1 and No. 2 offenses.
“We just felt we needed those two quarterbacks to get with the one and two offense and get a lot of reps,” coach Gary Pinkel said. “I know what Brad Smith can do, and we just felt we had to evaluate that … It’s a great experience for them, and it’s a good tool for us to evaluate and make the decisions we need to make.”
Smith attempted two passes, completing one for 11 yards.
Coleman, a 6-foot-4 sophomore from Miami, said he felt confident in his effort Thursday and his ability to run the team in case of an emergency.
“I feel much more comfortable,” Coleman said. “I feel like I am able to make plays for my team, and that’s the biggest thing. I want to be able, God forbid something happens to Brad, to come in and make plays for my team.”
Coleman bounced back from a rough outing in the Tigers’ previous scrimmage. On Thursday he went 14-of-25 for 107 yards unofficially. Coleman never got in a groove Saturday and completed 9-of-27 for 34 yards.
Coleman hooked up with redshirt freshman Martin Rucker for his best pass of the day. On a fourth-and-two, Coleman rolled to his right and floated a pass down the sideline where Rucker acrobatically brought it in at the 7.
“I definitely feel like I could lead my team at a high level,” Coleman said. “That’s my plan. That’s my goal. That’s what I worked for all summer, all spring, last year, and that’s what I’m still working for.”
Patton, a freshman from Rock Bridge, looked excellent in Saturday’s scrimmage but had his problems Thursday. On Saturday, Patton hit on 19-of-24 passes for 190 yards, but he missed 10-of-14 passes Thursday and threw two interceptions.
“Chase struggled a little bit more, but I’ve seen a lot of great quarterbacks struggle, especially getting thrown in there as a first-year player,” Pinkel said.
Thursday was also the first chance for freshman running back Tony Temple to get on the field during a scrimmage.
After missing the first two scrimmages because of eligibility questions, Temple carried the ball four times. That was enough attempts to show off his tremendous quickness and athletic ability.
“I did all the little things I can do to try to get better (Thursday),” Temple said. “It’s been almost a full year since I’ve been in full pads. I just feel so good to be out right now.”
On one play, Temple, who went to Rockhurst High in Kansas City, sprinted around the right end for eight yards, and on the next play, he spun away from a defender in the backfield to turn a loss into a gain. He finished with 28 yards.
“He did some good things, didn’t he? See a little quickness, pretty tough, too,” Pinkel said. “He had some fresh legs. You could tell that, too, but he’s a fast athlete, a quick athlete. I think everybody saw that.”
Even though Temple, who said he tries to ask for critiques of his runs from the experienced running backs, missed a good deal of practice, he remains a candidate for the fourth running back position. If he does not earn it, he will likely take his redshirt season.
KICKING UPDATE: Pinkel said Thursday he has not made a decision about the place kicking job. The competition has been reduced to sophomore Alex Petterson and junior Joe Tantarelli.
During Thursday’s scrimmage, Petterson made 4-of-7 field goals, and Tantarelli hit on 6-of-7. The field goals were kicked from distances between 32 and 42 yards.
“As far as the kickers, I don’t know,” Pinkel said. “We’ll have to evaluate them. They’re competing, and that’s good. They did a lot better (Thursday).”
Pinkel said it was encouraging to see the kickers respond from tough outings in the previous scrimmage.
Pinkel said, though, that redshirt freshman Adam Crossett will likely handle the kickoffs, for he has the strongest leg. Crossett will not kick field goals because he has struggled with inconsistency.
INJURY REPORT: Redshirt freshman Marcus Woods wore a red pullover and did not participate in the contact portions of the scrimmage because of a twisted ankle.
Pinkel said senior offensive tackle Scott Paffrath had the splint removed Thursday night from his right leg, which is protecting his strained medial collateral ligament. Paffrath will begin running today and, Pinkel hopes, will return to full strength by Tuesday.