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August 10, 2009

Monday Practice Report

Nobody will cover fall camp like PowerMizzou.com. We will have analysis, reaction, photos and video from every single practice leading up to the season opener. To get your free trial membership going today, justclick right here.

The Missouri Tigers finally put the pads on for Monday morning's practice. There were a few big hits on the first day of full contact. PowerMizzou.com has a jam-packed recap:

*The injury news is mostly good. Michael Egnew and Jon Gissinger were not restricted at all. T.J. Moe still had on the red pullover and Gary Pinkel described his progress as "two steps forward, then he'll take one step back."

The news is not as positive on Josh Tatum. We'll have the full explanation in Pinkel's video interview in a few hours, but Missouri is definitely looking at the possibility of a medical redshirt. Pinkel said even if Tatum was fully healthy, he hasn't hit anyone, lifted a weight, or done anything else for about four months now. The coach certainly sounded as if the extra year would be nearly a foregone conclusion for Tatum.

*Among observers at practice was a Minnesota Vikings scout. We joked they need a quarterback so badly perhaps they were wondering if Blaine Gabbert could go pro yet.

*I spent a long time watching the offensive and defensive line drills. I will be doing a story on the O-Line later this week, but here are some impressions:

I saw no one block Aldon Smith. He was the only lineman on either side of the ball that won every one of his matchups that I saw. He started things off by going around Dan Hoch with Hoch hardly putting a hand on him. He also beat left tackle Elvis Fisher twice. It looked like Smith was working on both sides, while Brian Coulter lined up exclusively on the left side and Jacquies Smith exclusively on the right. I would not at all discount the fact that neither job is safe and Aldon Smith has a shot to start at one of them.

There were a lot of interesting matchups. Terrell Resonno got matched up against the most experienced offensive lineman in Kurtis Gregory. The duo split two matchups. Jaron Baston and Tim Barnes should be a fun battle to watch. Baston got the win the first two times.

Austin Wuebbels has really impressed a few people in camp. He got the best of Dominique Hamilton the first time, but Hamilton came back to beat him later.

Hoch rebounded from the first performance against Smith and stonewalled Coulter three times that I saw.

Elvis Fisher drove Jacquies Smith all the way back to the line of scrimmage on one impressive turn.

One of the reserves that has really impressed me is J.T. Beasley. He held off George White while I was watching. I think Beasley will do well at his new position of right guard.

*The second-team offensive line looked to be Mike Prince, Jayson Palmgren, Travis Ruth, Beasley and Daniel Jenkins from left to right. Kirk Lakebrink also worked in at right tackle with the twos.

*Also spent some time watching the seven-on-seven passing drills.

Donovan Bonner didn't get a takeaway, but did a nice job jumping in front of a receiver to knock down a Blaine Dalton pass.

Dalton came back to hit freshman Jaleel Clark on a slant route for a score.

Kevin Rutland continues to stand out at corner. He had a tough pick of Gabbert in the end zone and later defended Jared Perry perfectly on a corner route that had no chance.

*Got a chance to see Rolandis Woodland, Kip Edwards, Jasper Simmons and Kendial Lawrence working on kickoff returns. All four caught the ball, which is the major battle. I really like Simmons' athletic ability. I think he's very, very likely to see the field and might be an early leader on returns.

*Some notes from 11-on-11:

No doubt Jimmy Costello is the #2 quarterback right now. He hit Michael Egnew for a big gain down the sideline on the first play. He also threw touchdowns to Jerrell Jackson and Woodland later on.

Robert Steeples made the first real big hit of camp, standing up Gissinger in the flat. If he'd gone full out, it may have taken Giss a while to get up. Tyler Crane also delivered a big shot on Jackson.

Dalton showed off good moves on a quarterback keeper, slipping between two would-be tacklers.

I think Andrew Jones is the most likely guy to take over the Tommy Saunders role of third-down safety outlet. He made multiple third-down catches to move the chains.

Pinkel said he's not yet pleased with the consistency of the number one offense or defense. However, one play stood out defensively to me. Jacquies Smith was immediately on Gabbert with pressure, forcing him to throw a screen pass before he wanted to. Sean Weatherspoon was right there to break up the pass once it was thrown. It's amazing how much better pressure can make a defense.

Kendial Lawrence once again turned heads with a beautiful cutback move that led to about a 15-yard run. He's #3 RIGHT NOW (not officially) and I wouldn't completely rule out the chance of him pushing pretty hard for #2.

T-Shirt Update: The coaches' shirts today said "Everyone has a plan" on the front and "Until they get hit" on the back. Pinkel said it was a quote from Evander Holyfield.

Play of the Day: In red zone drills, Costello floated a perfect pass over the outstretched arms of Zaviar Gooden. Jerrell Jackson hauled it in and got two feet down for the touchdown.

The Tigers return to practice at 7:15 on Tuesday morning and again at 3:45 in the afternoon. PowerMizzou.com will be there with full coverage throughout the day.

Nobody will cover fall camp like PowerMizzou.com. We will have analysis, reaction, photos and video from every single practice leading up to the season opener. To get your free trial membership going today, justclick right here.

PowerMizzou.com's fall camp coverage is sponsored by CJ's in Tiger Country, home of the BYFO (Burn Your Face Off). For the best wings around, check out CJ's at 7-4 E. Broadway in Columbia or call in an order at (573) 442-7777. Click on the graphic above for more information.


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