August 5, 2008

Notebook: Coulter wants to play

Some people might have thought a 109-degree heat index would make Missouri's first practice a little uncomfortable. Apparently, Brian Coulter is not some people.

Add ability to withstand sauna-like temperatures to the list of superpowers Coulter apparently possesses. Since announcing that he would attend Missouri about three weeks ago, the former Florida State signee has reached somewhat legendary status among the Missouri fan base. But the fans expect no more out of Coulter than he does of himself.

"I came up here to compete and to win and get that starting position," said the 6-foot-4, 250-pound defensive end.

To do that, though, Coulter will have to get on the practice field. In his first informal workout as a Tiger, Coulter rolled an ankle and he has been hobbled ever since. He said on Monday that he feels about 90%.

"When I'm sitting up on the sideline, I feel like I'm not accomplishing my goals," he said. "I know that no matter what I do, it will heal up in time, but it's real frustrating."

More Fresh Faces

Coulter was not the only Tiger going through his first Division One practice. Twenty-nine other scholarship freshmen and walk-ons worked out for the first time. None of those will be more scrutinized than Blaine Gabbert over the next few months. The five-star prospect from Parkway West spent the summer trying to learn everything he could from Chase Daniel.

"Just his whole demeanor, the way he carries himself," Gabbert said. "His football smarts, it's all about the offense and reading the defense and really being a leader."

Fans have debated all summer whether or not Gabbert should play this season. With Chase Patton as a backup, it seems somewhat unlikely that Gabbert would see meaningful minutes barring at least one injury this year. At the same time, if he redshirts, Missouri enters 2009 without a quarterback who has played a single down of a college football game. If fans like to debate the subject, Gabbert seems indifferent.

"I really couldn't give an answer to that," Gabbert said. "I just want to compete and play with the guys and see how we do."

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