Columbia — Starting quarterback James Franklin was held out of passing drills this morning, but have no fear, Missouri fans – coach Gary Pinkel says the break was a scheduled part of trainer Rex Sharp’s plan to nurse Franklin’s shoulder back to full health.
By TEREZ A. PAYLOR
The Kansas City Star
“Yesterday he told me he felt as good as he has all year,” Pinkel said of Franklin, who has been telling the reporters the same thing all camp.
Franklin, who suffered a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder during spring practice, said it’s his understanding that he will begin throwing again Thursday. Pinkel also said Franklin will play in Saturday’s scrimmage.
“It’s still 4-5 months out from surgery and it’s still going to be sore (sometimes) so I’m glad (for) the time off,” Franklin said. “I’m glad they gave it to me and allowed me to rest it so I can come out tomorrow and (pick up) where I left off.”
By all accounts, Franklin has been looking strong thus far in camp. In fact, backup quarterback Corbin Berkstresser said Franklin’s arm strength is actually better than it was last season.
“You’re hearing it whistle when he throws the ball now,” Berkstresser said.
Day 7 observations
It appears two players are now vying to replace left guard Travis Ruth, who suffered a torn triceps in a recent practice and is out indefinitely, as true freshman Evan Boehm (Lee’s Summit West High School) and junior walk-on Max Copeland shared first-team reps during today’s practice. You'd be hard-pressed to find anybody who doesn't think Boehm is a potential stud, but I have noticed that Copeland is a positive, upbeat player who is very vocal during conditioning…junior receiver Marcus Lucas (Liberty High School), who stands 6 feet 5 and weighs 215 pounds, is proving his worth as a red-zone target. During goal-line drills, he elevated over cornerback David Johnson in the corner of the end zone to catch a touchdown pass from Berkstresser (Lee’s Summit)…sophomore running back Marcus Murphy is one of the most elusive players on the team, but senior middle linebacker Will Ebner showed off his tackling ability when he tripped Murphy up in the backfield at one point…freshman receiver Dorial Green-Beckham scored touchdowns on consecutive plays, the first coming on a screen pass – I’ve seen him be on the end of a few of those this week – and the second coming on a nice diving catch in which he ran a slant route and walk-on freshman Brock Bondurant found him with a nice throw… He also caught a touchdown earlier in practice on an endzone fade from true freshman quarterback Maty Mauk...speaking of Mauk, he has shown a proclivity to take off and run on occasion...Anthony Gatti earned significant time at first-team right tackle, thanks to the injuries to projected starter Justin Britt (foot) and top backup Taylor Chappell (knee). Britt is expected to return before the season, but Chappell is out indefinitely. Sophomore Chris Freeman, who quit the team and returned within a three-day period earlier this week, also earned some first-team reps at the position.
Freshman tight end Sean Culkin – who has made a very positive impression on his coaches and teammates thus far in camp – left practice early due to a broken finger. Pinkel said he does not know if Culkin will need surgery yet, but expects to learn more later this afternoon. Sophomore receiver Bud Sasser earned some time with the first team due to the status of Culkin and tight end Eric Waters, who wore a red jersey because of a recent knee injury.
"We have an opportunity to play receiver in that position or tight end in that position,” Pinkel said of Sasser. “That’s good for him to get that experience there. Sometimes we’ll need bigger receivers (in that position).”
Two more players were spotted wearing red non-contact jerseys for the first time Wednesday – starting cornerbacks E.J. Gaines and Kip Edwards. Defensive end Brad Madison (ribs), running back Russell Hansbrough (ankle), receiver T.J. Moe (hamstring), defensive tackle Lucas Vincent (pectoral), running back Henry Josey (knee) and offensive tackle Justin Britt (foot) all wore red jerseys, too.
Walk-on redshirt freshman offensive lineman Logan Adkison, a graduate of Blue Springs South, has been dismissed from the team for disciplinary reasons, spokesman Chad Moller said.
*Memorial Stadium is looking pretty good these days. The seats have been power-washed, the new seating section in the south end zone looks awesome and the permanent bleachers in the north end zone provide a nice seating option for fans. I've been told that when the grassy hill in the north end zone is moved up after the season to create more concourse room, the track in that end zone will be eliminated (round of applause). However, I’ve also been told that the concrete track that runs along the east and west sidelines won’t be going anywhere because it creates necessary room for the fire truck and cheerleaders.
Missouri practices tomorrow morning at 7:15 a.m. and again in the afternoon at 3:45 p.m. I'll be at both sessions and will have plenty more info. Don't forget the basketball team is traveling overseas today for the start of its 10-day European trip. I've also got a special post planned for my readers this afternoon that's chocked with good information as it relates to the football team. Stay tuned.
To reach Terez A. Paylor, call 816-234-4489 or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at twitter.com/TerezPaylor.