Columbia — A few observations from Day 12 of Missouri's fall football camp...receiver Wes Leftwich made a nice over-the-shoulder catch on a pass from quarterback Corbin Berkstresser during end-zone drills today. Leftwich, who ran a fade to the back of the end zone, beat backup corner Xavier Smith on the play, which drew an impressive reaction from his teammates...one thing that never gets old is seeing receiver Marcus Lucas go one-on-one with cornerback E.J. Gaines. Lucas, who stands 6 feet 5, has a seven-inch height advantage on Gaines, but Missouri's top corner often rises to the challenge. One quarterback (I didn't see who) tried to test Gaines today by throwing a short jump ball to the corner to Lucas, but Gaines knocked it away as he and Lucas fell to the ground. This prompted injured receiver Jimmie Hunt - who was standing nearby and playfully jawing with Gaines during the session - to exasperatedly say to Lucas "Come on, use your body"...freshman running back Russell Hansbrough, who has been dealing with a sprained ankle, finally shed his non-contact jersey today and got a chance to work with the third team. Hansbrough, a 5 foot 9, 180 pound speedster who has been compared by some to Henry Josey, showed impressive speed and elusiveness, at one point reversing his field to gain extra yards. Though it’s widely been assumed that only one of the two freshman tailbacks would earn playing time this year - with the other being Staley graduate Morgan Steward - Pinkel said both have the potential to play, provided they earn it. “I think they’re both competing, they’re both doing well, they’re both talented," Pinkel said. "Russell today, you can see it a little bit, he’s got fresh legs out there and he was able to participate which is really good. So we’ll just see how it goes."
By TEREZ A. PAYLOR
The Kansas City Star
Redshirt freshman linebacker Brandon Durant has decided to leave the team for personal reasons, team spokesman Chad Moller said. Durant, from Copperas Cove, Tex., was listed behind Zaviar Gooden and Darvin Ruise at weakside linebacker in the first depth chart of the fall.
Missouri got a little good news on the medical front today, as Hansbrough and defensive tackle Lucas Vincent each shed their red non-contact jerseys and participated in practice. Vincent got some work with the No. 2 defense.
*On the other hand, starting linebacker Zaviar Gooden - who played in Saturday's scrimmage - sat out most of practice with an injury. Junior linebacker Donovan Bonner, who was the star of the spring game, took his place with the first team.
*Inside receiver Jimmie Hunt, who hauled in six passes during Saturday's scrimmage, wore a boot on his left ankle to protect a sprained foot while outside receivers L'Damian Washington (bruised shoulder) and Rolandis Woodland also sat out. All three played in Saturday's scrimmage.
*With Hunt, freshman tight end Sean Culkin and receivers T.J. Moe and Eric Waters - all of whom are expected to log playing time at Missouri's inside receiving positions this year - still sitting out, I noticed Gahn McGaffie, Bud Sasser and Jaleel Clark getting some reps with the first team. Freshman Dorial Green-Beckham got some second-team reps, as well.
*Also sitting out: offensive tackle Chris Freeman, running back Greg White, offensive tackle Justin Britt and cornerback Kip Edwards. All four sat out Saturday's scrimmage, as well. Offensive guard Travis Ruth (triceps) and offensive tackle Taylor Chappell (knee) are out for the season with their respective injuries.
I spotted starting middle linebacker Will Ebner and defensive tackle Evan Winston walking off the field with apparent injuries this morning I hope to have some sort of update on each during this afternoon's practice, which begins at 3:45 p.m.