Columbia — For weeks, Justin Britt has been forced to sit idly by and watch his teammates hit, compete and have fun.
By TEREZ A. PAYLOR
The Kansas City Star
And while the 6-foot-6, 315-pounder from Lebanon, Mo., knows he will have to wait a little while longer to do any of that, he undoubtedly took a big step in his recovery from a broken foot on Saturday morning as he shed his red non-contact jersey for the first time all camp and participated fully in practice.
And though there was no hitting Saturday - players were in shorts, helmets and shoulder pads - Britt, the projected starter at right tackle, said it was important for both he and his fellow linemates to get used to working together again.
"It's just as important for them as it is for me, because I haven't been doing that much in like five weeks," said Britt, who suffered a Jones Fracture in his foot during the summer. "I need (the work) and it showed today."
Britt was not shy about admitting he felt rusty, but also added that it's nothing that can't be overcome.
"If we had a game tomorrow, I'd play," he said.
Britt also tried to look on the bright side. His absence, he said, allowed several players to get work they wouldn't otherwise get. Among them are guards Evan Boehm and Max Copeland, who are battling for the starting left guard position but got to work on the first team together for much of camp because starting right guard Jack Meiners was moved out to right tackle to accommodate Britt's absence.
"Some twos got to work with the ones and some threes got to work with the twos," Britt said. "Everybody got work."
And now Britt is eager to get some of his own, though again, he will have to wait a while. Missouri has Sunday and Monday off before it returns to practice on Tuesday, though it appears Britt would prefer to get some practice during the break.
"I want to come out here tomorrow and work on my technique," Britt said. "I feel like I can't take any days off right now because I'm so far behind. The extra reps would be good...(but) I'm (also) ready to go home and relax for a little bit."
*Offensive lineman Mitch Hall, who announced his transfer from Ole Miss to Missouri on Friday, was at practice for the first time on Saturday. Wearing No. 73, the 6-foot-6, 315 pounder from Russellville, Ark., observed his teammates and participated in a few light drills. He will redshirt this year and have three years of eligibility remaining, starting in 2013.
*Missouri quarterback James Franklin sat out practice because it was his third previously-scheduled day of rest. Franklin, of course, is recovering from a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder, but was spotted lobbing the ball left-handed on a few occasions.
That's all I have for the blog today. Up to my ears in stories for our SEC series and annual football special section, which comes out Aug. 26. Check out tomorrow's Star for a feature on safety Matt White, who has a chance to seize a starting job with the recent knee injury to projected starter Braylon Webb. My feature on Sheldon Richardson will now run sometime next week.