Columbia — A few other news and notes from MU's morning practice on Monday...
By TEREZ A. PAYLOR
The Kansas City Star
During his daily session with reporters, Missouri coach Gary Pinkel verified something that I've been thinking for about the last week or so: after a slow start (more or less), star recruit Dorial Green-Beckham -- who got some work with the second-teamers and lined up at both inside and outside receiver today -- is starting to get the hang of things, a development Pinkel attributed to the 6-foot-6 receiver's growing knowledge of the playbook.
“He’s playing better," Pinkel said. "A lot of those guys, when you’re thinking out there, you’re not running as fast as you would normally be. You’ve got to be able to just go and fly...we know he can do that. And today, after his first scrimmage, I thought he really upped it a bit.”
There was never really any doubt that Green-Beckham would play this season for Missouri -- redshirting the top recruit in the nation isn't really an option -- but it should be encouraging for Missouri fans to know that arguably the most-hyped recruit in school history is starting to deliver on that promise.
*Pinkel said two things stood out after watching the film of Missouri's first scrimmage Saturday: missed tackles on defense and poor goal-line execution on offense. The latter can be attributed, at least in part, to injuries to Missouri's top two tight ends, Eric Waters and Sean Culkin.
“We were missing some tight ends and had a bunch of guys out so we’ve got some problems package-wise with what we can do," Pinkel said. "But nevertheless, it could happen during the season (too) so we’ve got to find a way to get better in short-yardage and goal-line offense.”
Missouri only has one healthy scholarship tight end on the roster right now in true freshman Brandon Holifield. However, offensive coordinator David Yost said Waters (knee) will be back this week while Pinkel said Culkin (finger) is expected to return before the season.
*When asked about walk-on tailbacks Tyler Hunt and Miles Drummond, Pinkel went out of his way to praise both kids, adding that both are the fruit of a walk-on program that has grown during his 12-year tenure at Missouri.
"When we came to Mizzou, we wanted to have a real good walk-on program so that anybody who played high school football in the state of Missouri had an opportunity to play football here," Pinkel said. "We've got 85 scholarships and we can carry 127 players, but when we first got here, we couldn't carry that many because people didn't want to be here. But now, we just turn them down all around, but we certainly know that's a real dream for a lot of guys who are on the field is to be a Missouri Tiger. And our walk-on program has been tremendously good for us too, in terms of getting players to help us win."