Spring Football Notes: Physical practice leaves tight end injured

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Photos by Kelsey Alumbaugh

Story and Audio by Alex Silverman 

The Missouri football team practiced inside Devine Pavilion on Thursday.  Coach Gary Pinkel praised the team’s effort, calling it a “physical practice.”  While that physicality might help prepare the Tigers for the hard-hitting Southeastern Conference, it took the team’s top tight end off the practice field.

Waters Fall

Junior tight end Eric Waters sprained his left knee Thursday while making a block for T.J. Moe during 11-on-11 drills.  Moe had caught a pass in the flat from Corbin Berkstresser and created room to run with a lateral move.  Pinkel said Waters, who took the top spot on the depth chart with the graduation of All-American Michael Egnew, had been having a really good spring and that he had improved a lot.  After practice, Moe described the play that led to Waters’ injury:

 

Berkstresser Quick on Feet

Freshman Corbin Berkstresser characterizes himself as a “pass first, run second” quarterback.  On Thursday, you wouldn’t have known it.  Berkstresser turned heads when he scrambled to evade pressure from the first team defense and ran to his left for a 10-yard touchdown.  Still, Berkstresser said scrambling is still  outside his comfort zone:

 

Moe took notice of Berkstresser’s newfound footwork, saying that the freshman showed confidence through his play both on the run and with his feet set:

Defending Academics

Former Missouri wide receiver Sean Coffey appeared on “Costas Tonight: Live from 30 Rock” as part of a panel on college sports and academics.  In reflecting on his experience at Missouri, Coffey criticized the athletics department for focusing on maintain athletes’ eligibility rather than on enrichment through education. After practice Thursday, several members of the football team, including August graduate Elvis Fisher, defended the academic integrity of Missouri athletics:

 

Second Scrimmage

The Tigers will hold their second full scrimmage of the spring Saturday at 9 a.m.  Pinkel sees the scrimmage as an opportunity for his players to prove themselves and earn spots heading into the following weekend’s Black & Gold Game.  He said he is constantly encouraging his players to compete with one another and said that the best, rather than the most senior, will take the spots atop the depth chart:

4-14-12

The athletics department’s effort to rebrand Missouri sports will culminate at the Black & Gold Game on April 14 with the revelation of the new uniforms for five sports teams.  Players from men’s and women’s basketball, volleyball and soccer will model their respective teams’ new look at halftime of the game.  Athletes from other sports will then reveal the new football uniforms both on the field and in the concourse so fans can get an up-close look.

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