Story and photos by Ky Bright
COLUMBIA — The Missouri Tigers football team held its first scrimmage of spring practice on Saturday at Memorial Stadium. The offense came out on top with a 19-11 victory over the defense.
Head coach Gary Pinkel was pleased with the results even though the team can still improve.
“Recognizing the things you do good, but fixing problems to get better, will ultimately determine how good a football team we are,” Pinkel said.
Leading the offense was tailback Morgan Steward who saw more reps because of injuries to the players ahead of him. Russell Hansbrough left practice with a shoulder injury, and Marcus Murphy was sidelined with an ankle injury.
Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel and the quarterbacks watch drills during the first spring scrimmage at Memorial Stadium in Columbia, Mo., on April 5, 2014.
Tailback Marcus Murphy (6) makes a cut to avoid defender Aarion Penton (11) during a spring practice at Memorial Stadium in Columbia, Mo., on April 5, 2014. Murphy later left practice with an ankle injury.
Quarterback Maty Mauk makes a few warm up throws before the first spring scrimmage begins at Memorial Stadium in Columbia, Mo., on April 5, 2014. Mauk finished with 164 yards and a touchdown.
“I finally got the opportunity to go and show it and when you get an opportunity you have to take advantage of it,” Steward said.
Steward finished the game with 117 yards rushing and three touchdowns. Running back coach Brian Jones took notice of Morgan’s performance and offered a rare compliment to the sophomore.
“He hands out those compliments like $100 bills,” Steward said.
Though Steward and the offense won Saturday’s scrimmage, the defense had its own success. During the two-minute drill, safety Chaston Ward and linebacker Denzel Martin each came away with an interception. Defensive lineman Marcus Golden also had an impact with two sacks.
The Tigers will resume spring practice this week. The second scrimmage will be held on Saturday, April 12. Spring practices will conclude with the Black and Gold game on Saturday, April 19.