Missouri football fans have known quarterback Brad Smith is an explosive talent since Smith ran for 138 yards and a touchdown in his first college game. He led Missouri to a 33-20 upset of Illinois to jumpstart his freshman season.
But now Sports Illustrated’s Web site, si.com, has recognized it, naming the MU senior the No. 10 gamebreaker in college football. Other Big 12 Conference players in the top 15 are Texas quarterback Vince Young (No. 3), Texas A&M quarterback Reggie McNeal (No. 7), and Texas Tech tailback Taurean Henderson (No. 15).
The top gamebreaker on the list was Southern California tailback Reggie Bush.
Action Jackson: Defensive end Xzavie Jackson looked to be in midseason form during the opening play of 11-on-11 drills with a quick move into the backfield where he batted the ball out of quarterback Brad Smith’s hands and recovered the fumble.
“It’s all about getting to the ball, not always knocking it loose,” Jackson said. “Whether you knock it down or just pressure the quarterback, Anytime you get to the ball, you help your team win.”
Receivers catching up: Jerrill Humphrey joined the team after missing Monday’s practice because of a death in his family. He caught a 15-yard pass from quarterback Chase Daniel in his first action since the spring.
William Franklin, who missed much of spring practice after knee surgery, had no trouble reestablishing himself as a favorite target of Smith. The redshirt freshman caught three passes from Smith and ran well in sprints.
Exploring options: The offense ran the option several times throughout practice but Pinkel said he isn’t sure what role it will have in the playbook.
“We just felt like we had to put it in our package,” he said. “How much will we run it? Only time will tell.”
Although Pinkel acknowledged there have been changes on offense, he said much of the playbook will be the same as last season.
“A significant amount of what we did last year is what we do this year,” he said. “It’s not this brand new entire thing, we’re not doing that.”
Bumps, bruises: Sean Coffey suffered cramps on two separate occasions. He was favoring his calf after an offensive drill and was again being helped by trainers during final sprints.
“I think his whole body cramped up,” Pinkel said. “When something like that happens, that is really, really something. It’s one of the worst feelings you can have, but he will be ok.”
Receiver Greg Bracy is suffering from mononucleosis and has not dressed with the team the past two days.
Tailback Earl Goldsmith was in the backfield for only a few plays before leaving practice.
“We think he might have tweaked his left knee but we are looking into it,” Pinkel said.
Linebacker Emmett Morris Jr. was held out of drills after straining a hamstring and defensive lineman DeMarcus Scott suffered a groin pull.
“Both of those guys thought they’d be ready to go,” Pinkel said.
Summer Departures: Three members of the team in spring practice are no longer on the roster. Pinkel said defensive lineman Calcius Williams and offensive lineman Aaron Saunders left the team for personal reasons while corner Alex Woodley left as a result of disciplinary action.