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Camp is open and for the first time Missouri officially practiced as an SEC team on Thursday. A two-hour plus workout in shorts and helmets marked the first of 23 open practices over the next three weeks. PowerMizzou.com has the full report:
News and Notes
First, an update on those who did not work out:
*Offensive lineman Mark Hill had problems resulting from a blood clot last year. He has chosen to stop playing football, but will remain on scholarship as long as he is at Mizzou.
*The other major injury is Henry Josey's knee. Josey was on the practice field with the team, but did not go through practice. Nothing is being ruled out with Josey as far as playing this season, at least officially.
"Time will tell," Pinkel said. "I would suggest that it's going to be difficult, just in terms of timing. The most important thing is he's healed and he's 100 percent and he's ready to go. That's the most important thing because he's got two years left and we want to be smart about what we do."
"He's just got such a great attitude, is such a great kid, you know. And it's so neat to see him just out here. He's always had a great attitude. That's why he's going to come back from this. His surgeries are over, he's got a tremendous work ethic."
*Lucas Vincent is out with a torn pectoral muscle.
*Justin Britt was in a walking boot with a Jones Fracture in his foot (Pinkel explained it as a stress fracture on the outer bone). Britt is not expected to miss any games. Pinkel said Dan Hoch and Ziggy Hood recovered from similar surgeries in three weeks or less.
*Incoming freshman Torey Boozer and juco transfer Markus Golden are not yet in camp. Mizzou officials said both are still expected to be members of the team yet, but are not yet present. It will be a daily watch on both players for the foreseeable future.
*Defensive tackle George White has left the team and word was that he will play at a Division II school this year.
*Other injuries were minor. T.J. Moe tweaked a hamstring in conditioning and freshman tailback Russell Hansbrough practiced, but was limited.
*The Tigers announced Zaviar Gooden, Moe, Will Ebner and Elvis Fisher as captains before the workout. Fisher is in his second go-round as a captain, just the fourth player to be so honored by his teammates under Pinkel (A.J. Ricker, James Kinney, Brad Smith).
"It was a big honor to know the team respected me so much and I get to actually lead the team this year. I've been looking forward to that," Gooden said. "I actually never thought about that. I've really just been the one who just works and tries to be the best he can."
"It means a lot. I'm really grateful that my team respected me so much," Ebner added. "It's a great honor, but I also feel for some of the other guys that weren't selected. We've got a great group of leaders and I'm going to honor those guys."
We'll have much more on Ebner and his increased leadership role in a story tomorrow morning prior to Friday's practice.
Franklin Back in Action
*The biggest injury, of course, is that to James Franklin's throwing shoulder. Franklin was uninhibited during practice. He said he did not let loose and throw as hard as he could, but that he's done that at times since he started throwing a football three or four weeks ago.
"I'm thinking about not throwing it as hard every time," Franklin said. "Just giving it a couple more days to kind of get loose and just going from there."
Perhaps the biggest statement about Franklin: If everyone didn't know about the surgery, no one would have known he'd been injured.
"James did pretty good overall," Pinkel said. "If you just walked out here and didn't know he had surgery you wouldn't know anything was up. I just kind of marvel at him."
A reporter then asked Pinkel if Franklin should be termed as probably.
"No, he's not probable," Pinkel said. "He could play tomorrow."
DGB in the Spotlight
If there was one player drawing the most attention outside of Franklin, it had to be freshman wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham.
"I glanced at him a little bit. He did some good things," Pinkel said. "Some little habit things like all the freshmen. You've got to start, you've got to finish, you've got to play hard all the time. That's true of almost any freshman."
DGB didn't make any jaw dropping plays. Perhaps the one that drew the most attention was a deep ball from Maty Mauk. Green-Beckham freed himself from the defender, John Gibson, (thanks in part to a hand to the back that probably would have drawn a flag in a game) but could not hang on for the completion. Mauk threw the ball about 50 yards in the air.
The word that came up the most with his teammates was "humble." Perhaps the only player on the roster who can relate to the expectations that will be placed on the freshman wideout is junior defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson.
"We embrace him with open arms. I must say, he's a real humble guy, ready to learn," Richardson said. "I can't wait to see him in pads."
Any advice from one phenom to the other?
"I told him stay humble," Richardson said. "And just talk. The camera's here for you, man. Don't be scared of it."
Green-Beckham will have neither the desire nor the opportunity to embrace the spotlight like Richardson did a year ago. A new policy limits freshman media availability to Sunday afternoon at photo day. Until at least the season opener, DGB will be seen, but not heard.
Passing the Eyeball Test
The first day of camp, there are always a few players who jump out physically. For these Tigers, perhaps two freshmen made the biggest impression. Brandon Holifield is wearing No. 82 and at this point, looks pretty similar to the last guy who wore it. Michael Egnew was listed at 245 pounds as a senior while Holifield is on the roster at just 215, but the freshman looks the part of a player who could develop physically into an imposing target. Of course, Holifield is incredibly raw, having played very little football in high school.
The other player who turned some heads was Oklahoma receiver Levi Copelin. Whatever I was expecting to see when I watched Copelin practice for the first time, that wasn't what I saw. He's listed at 6-foot-2, 180 pounds and looked very athletic in my limited views of him. Moe spent a fair amount of time coaching Copelin through offensive drills. Not a bad mentor.
Another freshman who received some attention was Sean Culkin. During one drill, Andy Hill was on the tight end to finish out his blocks. Understand, this is his first college practice. If the coaches are already on a freshman that early, that's an indication they think he's got a chance to see the field this year. Culkin has drawn impressive reviews for what he did over the summer from some of his teammates.
Each day, we'll pass along notes on a few plays that stood out during drills.
*Darvin Ruise drew praise from Dave Steckel when he reached in to break up passes on back-to-back plays during seven-on-seven.
*Gooden looked good in coverage reaching in front of Gahn McGaffie for a knockdown.
*Franklin showed a little zip splitting coverage to Marcus Lucas.
Play of the Day: It's got to be the fact that Franklin was out there and showed no ill effects of the off-season shoulder surgery. Many had doubted whether that would be the case. For the Tigers to hit the SEC at full speed, they have to have Franklin. There is now no reason to think they will not.
Mizzou will be back on the practice field at 7:15 on Friday morning. PowerMizzou.com will have full coverage of today's practice throughout the night and will be back at practice tomorrow morning.
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