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March 10, 2009

Start of Spring

The Missouri Tigers opened up spring football 2009 on Tuesday afternoon with a two-and-a-half hour workout inside the Devine Pavilion. As we will be all spring, PowerMizzou.com was on hand. Here is the full report from opening day.

*First, the housekeeping items that always come with the first practice. Here are the players who either got jersey numbers for the first time or switched numbers in the off-season:

Zaviar Gooden went from 40 to 21
Blaine Dalton is wearing 7
Ashton Glaser is 16
George White switched from 52 to 99
Kip Edwards went from 9 to 1 (nobody is wearing Jeremy Maclin's old number)
Jacquies Smith has gone from 99 to 3
Josh Tatum will wear 5
Jarrell Harrison sports 11
Marcus Malbrough changed from 97 to 18
Shawn Scott was 46 and is now 28
Chris Earnhardt is back with the team wearing 38
Andrew Wilson claimed 48
Alex Sanders takes over 84

You can see the updated roster right here. There are walk-ons that will be added in the next few days.

*There were also three position switches, two of which our subscribers already knew. Gilbert Moye is working in at tailback (more later), Brad Madison is at defensive end and Jared Culver, a walk-on linebacker last year, is at tailback as well. Tyler Crane is at linebacker as well.

*Finally, the injuries: Derrick Washington, Jared Perry, Danario Alexander, Alex Sanders and LaRoderick Thomas did not practice. Washington said he hopes to be back next week. Perry and Alexander, according to Gary Pinkel, may get some work in but will not scrimmage at all. Sanders is still recovering from knee surgery and will miss the spring. Pinkel said Thomas had a medical issue with his groin. It seemed as if Pinkel was saying that Thomas would take a medical redshirt year, though the situation was not completely clear to the media. Brian Coulter and Travis Ruth both wore red pullovers, but both participated in practice.

*For the depth chart, click here. Injured players and a few walk-ons that are not yet in our database are not currently included.

*Quickly, here are a few players that just jumped out at me as far as how they looked. Doesn't mean they'll be great players, just a first impression: Rolandis Woodland, Josh Tatum, Marcus Malbrough, Jacquies Smith and Aldon Smith. I was talking with Pinkel after practice for a minute and he is very excited about the young players they have at defensive end.

*Is there a more dramatic change of fortune than Jake Harry? Six months ago, we all wondered if this team had a punter. Now, his might be the most secure spot on the team.

*Speaking of punter, I saw Glaser booting a few as the third-string punter. I asked Pinkel about it. He basically told me they wouldn't use Glaser there this year, but he did it in high school and Pinkel wanted to get a look. He said any player that performed on special teams in high school gets a look when he gets to campus. Glaser wasn't great, but he wasn't terrible.

*At punt return, I saw the following players take reps: Munir Prince, Carl Gettis, Kip Edwards, Robert Steeples, Gahn McGaffie and Jerrell Jackson. Should be a wide open competition.

*At longsnapper, Brad Madison and Terry Dennis were getting the reps.

*A few highlights from six-on-six drills:

Hardy Ricks got a strip of Jerrell Jackson on the first play after Jackson caught a swing pass from Blaine Gabbert.

Munir Prince picked off Blaine Dalton on a pass down the right-middle of the field. Prince dropped back and Dalton never appeared to see him.

Moye made a few receptions out of the backfield and a nice move on Crane. Before you get too excited, it was one play. Let's hold off before anointing him the starter.

I know you're going to ask, but it's WAY too early to draw any impressions about the play of the quarterbacks.

*Quick impression of the Dave Steckel era: There's no doubt who's boss. I talked to two defensive seniors and both gave me a variation of "It's Stec's way or the highway." It's a definite change from the way Matt Eberflus coached as far as personality. I'll have more on Steckel and Barry Odom in a story on Wednesday.

*Play of the Day: Got to go to Gabbert on this one. He hit Jackson down the middle of the field between three defenders with a laser. Credit to Jackson, too, because the receiver had to spin around and grab a pass that was behind him. For what it's worth, Gabbert told me the receiving corps will be as good or better than it was a year ago. How's that for confidence?

PowerMizzou.com's spring football coverage is sponsored by Pension & Benefits Live. Jesse Cox (stljesstx) and Tim Killday (Killer) would appreciate the opportunity to be a resource to you for company benefits and/or individual health and life insurance needs.




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