Tigers back to serious business

Thursday, August 17, 2006 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 6:03 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Missouri football team got back to more serious work Wednesday morning at Faurot Field after a fun “NFL practice” on Tuesday afternoon at Kadlec Athletic Field.

Everyone was back in standard practice uniform (including the right numbers), and there were no celebrations at the end of plays.

Players can wear whichever jersey they trade for, celebrate touchdowns and wear whatever shorts they chose for “NFL practices.”

Wide receiver Tommy Saunders, however, made some catches that would have warranted a touchdown dance if the rules were still lax.

Running routes while warming up, Saunders was making all the routine catches, even when the ball wasn’t delivered right on target. He made what was perhaps the play of the day when he sped along the sideline, launched into the air and made a one-handed snag that earned him several “Good job, Tommy” comments from the offensive coaches.

Keeping up his effort throughout practice, he also caught several other passes for decent gains. Outside the bookend tight ends, he seems to be one of the quarterbacks’ favorite options.

Other offensive weapons were making plays, too.

Tony Temple showed great footwork in the practice, making good cuts before turning the ball upfield on punt returns and getting his feet down in bounds when running routes near the sideline. Receiver Greg Bracey, who is also a track standout at MU, torched the secondary for a long touchdown near the end of practice. He darted through the middle and got behind all of the defensive backs, continuing what has been a good few weeks of practice for the junior.

Chase Daniel looked off at the beginning of practice, overthrowing receivers on many of their routes. One even sailed over the head of 6-foot-5 tight end Martin Rucker, a difficult feat. Obviously frustrated, Daniel whipped his chinstrap off in frustration and went over to chat with quaterback coach Dave Yost about what was going wrong. Soon after Daniel was back on track, hitting receivers on short routes and tight ends over the middle.

There was a scary moment in practice, when after a designed bootleg play, Daniel came up holding his hand and shaking it in pain. He bounced into the fast-charging defender, and he awkwardly sandwiched his hand in between himself and the defender.

While fellow quarterbacks Brandon Coleman and Chase Patton took snaps, Daniel shook it off and massaged the hand, and fortunately for Mizzou, he looked fine for the rest of practice.

Senior punter Matt Hoenes showed why he replaced Adam Crossett as starting punter in drills at the beginning of practice. Hoenes’ punts consistently travelled almost 10 yards farther and had a longer hangtime, as well. Crossett remains the Tigers’ place-kicker.

The receiving corps is a little banged up right now, with both Andrew Hoskins and Jason Ray battling injuries. Hoskins sprained his left MCL (knee) and Ray has turf toe. Neither Hoskins nor Ray are expected to miss major time because of the injuries.

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