By Alex Silverman
The Missouri football team is currently in the midst of its second week of spring practices. Coach Gary Pinkel shared his thoughts on the injuries the team is currently facing, the development of several key players and what he expects to see at the team’s first scrimmage this Saturday.
Starting quarterback James Franklin was hurt Tuesday during a skirmish that was the result of a fumble during 11-on-11 drills. Franklin did not return to practice following the play. After practice, Pinkel said that Franklin had “tweaked his shoulder” and that the staff would have to “take a look” and “see what happens.” Redshirt freshman Corbin Berkstresser took the rest of the snaps with the first unit.
Franklin is just the latest Tiger to be added to the team’s injury report. Coming into spring, eight players were ruled out for the entirety of spring. Several others, including wide receiver Bud Sasser, are hoping to return in the near future. Pinkel discussed the impact of the injuries on both the offensive and defensive lines:
A New Tight End in Town
With All-American Michael Egnew headed to the NFL Draft, junior Eric Waters has ascended to the top of the depth chart at the tight end position. In a competitive drill Tuesday between the offense and defense, and the score tied, Franklin looked to Waters over the middle on the final play of the sequence. Waters stretched to make the catch and seal the victory for the offense. Pinkel spoke about Waters’ development since the end of last season.
Throughout practice Tuesday and over the course of the spring, the coaching staff employs drills that pit the offense against the defense in a competitive fashion. Needless to say, someone is always keeping score. Pinkel shared the logic behind staying competitive, even in practice:
In the Backfield
With uncertainty surrounding the health of star running back Henry Josey, Pinkel and his staff have the opportunity to assess their depth at the position. Senior Kendial Lawrence sits atop the depth chart, while sophomore Marcus Murphy has looked sharp in spring practice thus far. Pinkel talked about what Murphy and the rest of his running backs bring to the team and what they’ve learned from Josey:
While it’s not quite a Saturday in September just yet, the Tigers are scheduled to hold their first scrimmage of the spring this Saturday. While Franklin is unlikely to suit up on Saturday, Pinkel sees Saturday as an opportunity for other players to prove themselves and for the coaching staff to make adjustments: