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August 13, 2009

Practice Report: Skipping the redshirt?

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.

With the first scrimmage of fall camp just a couple of days away, the Tigers went through a two-hour plus workout at Memorial Stadium on Thursday morning. PowerMizzou.com gives Tiger fans an all-access pass inside the practice:

*Injury updates first: Gary Pinkel said Marvin Foster would have knee surgery next Monday. He said Foster's injury could be an ACL or a meniscus. He did not specifically say anything is torn, though that's the impression we got. Should know more next week. Jaron Baston injured his groin yesterday and did not practice. Pinkel said he hopes to have Baston ready for the scrimmage. Zaviar Gooden was out again today, but had no crutches and Pinkel said the MRI on his foot was negative (which is positive). Tavon Bolden came up grabbing his left hamstring early in practice and sat out the rest of the day. Kenji Jackson returned to workouts in a limited capacity today.

*Notes from one-on-one passing drills:

Rolandis Woodland made a beautiful over the shoulder catch in the end zone. He wrestled the ball away from Carl Gettis as he crossed the goal line.

Ashton Glaser made a nice throw to Jerrell Jackson over Jarrell Harrison. I talked with David Yost about the freshman quarterbacks and a lot of other offensive issues after practice. We will have that interview on video later today.

Michael Egnew made a great catch leaping up over the top of Kevin Rutland. There's no question about Egnew's athleticism. If his hands can match it, he'll be very good.

*Hardy Ricks had a strong day. He stripped Kerwin Stricker in passing drills and later nearly picked off Jimmy Costello. He is also the biggest hitter in the secondary.

*During run drills, Brad Madison stripped Kendial Lawrence near the goal line. Lawrence later came back with two solid runs, one to each sideline, in 11-on-11 drills. Every time he makes a mistake, he seems to bounce right back.

*The top choices at kickoff return right now look to be Jasper Simmons and Munir Prince with Jared Perry and Lawrence running next.

*I checked out the No. 1 kickoff coverage unit. Here are the ten guys: Donovan Bonner, Hardy Ricks, Harrison, Trey Hobson, Andrew Gachkar, Robert Steeples, Will Ebner, Kip Edwards, Munir Prince and Gahn McGaffie.

The inclusion of Harrison and Bonner on that unit mean all signs point to no redshirt for either guy. Both players told me they've been told nothing official, though Harrison said Barry Odom told him at the end of spring ball that if the black and gold game was a regular season game, Harrison had done enough to see the field. Pinkel told me he will likely make some official decisions on freshmen early next week after this first scrimmage. But when I made the comparison of Bonner to a freshman Sean Weatherspoon, the coach did admit to being impressed with the freshman.

Bonner and Harrison were also both running with the second-team defense, along with Simmons.

*Aldon Smith batted down a Blaine Gabbert pass during 11-on-11 drills. Smith saw a ton of time with the first team, subbing for both Jacquies Smith and Brian Coulter at times. Again, it doesn't matter which two officially start. All three are going to play a lot.

*Brandon Gerau made a nice catch on the sidelines. After a great spring, Gerau has been kind of quiet so far this fall, at least that I've noticed.

*Gabbert threw an interception as Ebner grabbed a ball that deflected off Danario Alexander's pads into the air. But before you get too down on Gabbert or Alexander, read the rest of the report.

*The Tigers are showing less nickel defense this fall than last, going a lot with three linebackers. However, when they did go nickel, Prince and Gettis were at corner, Ricks and Del Howard were the safeties (that could change soon) and Rutland looked to be playing the hybrid safety/linebacker role.

*It looked to me like freshmen Brayden Burnett and Michael Sam have jumped ahead of Marcus Malbrough to third team at defensive end. It could just be a chance to get them some reps, but I'll keep an eye on it.

*Dominique Hamilton got first-team action with Baston on the sidelines.

*Play of the Day: There are two, both involving the same players. In seven-on-seven, Gabbert floated a perfect touch pass over the middle of the field in between three defenders to Alexander for about a 20-yard gain. It's precisely the kind of pass people have wondered whether Gabbert can make. Later, with the offense pinned at the two-yard line during 11-on-11, Gabbert ran right, threw back across his body on the run and hit Alexander for about 25 yards down the middle. He's showing off the whole package so far in camp.

The Tigers are scheduled to return to the practice field this afternoon at 3:45.

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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