The kick sailed through the cloudy sky this morning, on a direct path toward the target. Missouri's players in white jerseys watched intently, ready to burst with excitement, while their counterparts in black no doubt cringed, fearing the worst.
By TEREZ A. PAYLOR
The Kansas City Star
And when kicker Andrew Baggett's kick split the uprights - ultimately clinching the offense's first win over the defense all camp - the cheer that rose from Missouri quarterbacks, running backs, receivers and offensive linemen made it clear that while this was just another practice, it was also a relief.
For the uninitiated, Missouri coach Gary Pinkel structures Missouri's practices in such a way that the offensive and defensive routinely competes against each other, with the score being kept and a victor being declared at the end of practice. The winning side gets to wear black jerseys the next practice; the losing side wears white.
And now, after 13 consecutive days of losing to the defense, the offense finally won - thanks to a kicker, no less - who broke a tie with a 40-yard field goal.
"Obviously that's great confidence for him," Pinkel said of Baggett, who is battling with starting punter Trey Barrow for the top placekicking job. "But if he misses, he's got to deal with that. So there's the other side of it."
But he didn't, and now he - and the rest of the offense - gets to wear the coveted black jerseys for Missouri next practice, scheduled for tomorrow morning.
*Saturday's scrimmage didn't appear to shake up the depth chart too much, though Kony Ealy has been getting consistent work with the first team at defensive end over projected starter Brad Madison. Madison has been dealing with injuries, but is not wearing a red non-contact jersey and consistently worked with the second team today. Madison will play no matter way - he has proven to be a productive player when healthy - but my guess is the switch speaks to Ealy's overall development. He was disruptive during Saturday's scrimmage.
*For now it least, it seems as if Braylon Webb has held off a challenge from Matt White for one of Missouri's starting safety positions. I regularly saw White getting first-team reps last week, but Webb has taken them almost exclusively this week. Things are always liable to change, of course, so stay tuned.
*Junior college linebacker Markus Golden, who was just cleared by the NCAA to participate in practice, was in full pads for the first time today. Golden, who stands 6-foot-3 and weighs 230 pounds, is listed as a junior on Missouri's depth chart but has three years of eligibility remaining. Since Golden is apparently ineligible for a redshirt, Pinkel said he would at least like to see the Hutchinson Community College product find a role on special teams this year. In today's practice, I saw him lining up with the scout team (I believe) kickoff coverage unit, so that's a start.
Other Day 13 observations
Senior Gahn McGaffie showed good hands on a couple of occasions today, as he hauled in a diving catch for a short gain and also caught a ball along the left sideline where he had to catch the ball and get a foot down...freshman receiver Dorial Green-Beckham appears to be the backup at one of the inside receiver positions, behind tight end Eric Waters. Green-Beckham made another nice play today in practice, hauling in a long catch over safety Matt White. Missouri is banged up at the receiver position, but it's worth noting that DGB did get a couple reps with the first team today...offensive guard Nick Demien was listed ahead of redshirt freshman Connor McGovern on the first depth chart of the fall, but was behind both projected starter Jack Meiners and McGovern at right guard during stretching lines, which gives an indication of the current depth chart. Demien was a four-star offensive tackle in the Class of 2010. I'll have more on his situation sometime this week...speaking of offensive guards, junior walk-on Max Copeland was ahead of four-star true freshman Evan Boehm at left guard in today's stretching lines. Co-offensive line coach Bruce Walker said last week that he likes both players, but Copeland currently leads in the race to earn the starting job with projected starter Travis Ruth out for the season.
Missouri practices tomorrow morning at 7:15 a.m. I'll have a story for tomorrow's paper about cornerback Randy "Big Possum" Ponder, a hard-hitting walk-on who became a contributor and earned a scholarship thanks to hard work.