Dorial Green-Beckham did it again.
Missouri's star recruit, who has been coming on strong the last two weeks of practice, added another big play to his preseason highlight reel Thursday, when he caught a short pass from fellow freshman Maty Mauk, shook off a defender and streaked to the end zone for a 65-yard touchdown in Missouri's final scrimmage of the fall Thursday at Memorial Stadium.
The play was just the latest example of the 6-foot-6, 220-pound receiver's freakish combination of size and speed. He finished the scrimmage with two catches for 71 yards.
“He can run, he’s got great speed,” Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said. “Jeremy Maclin was the same way, and when he was a freshman I used to get on him all the time because he was thinking a lot out there...he’s thinking about routes, he’s thinking about route adjustments, he’s thinking about things he’s never had to do. And when you think, you don’t play instinctively and use all your speed.
"But speed is such a great weapon for any player, and he has that. He is, right now, a lot different than he was ten practices ago.”
Starting quarterback James Franklin said he’s seen Green-Beckham do similar things in practice (as have I).
“It doesn’t seem like it, but he’s really moving and guys, I think, misjudge that," Franklin said. "That’s what helps him get downfield and get open a lot more.”
Since Green-Beckham wasn't made available to the media - freshmen have been off limits almost all of camp - someone playfully asked Franklin what he thought the freshman would say if asked about the play.
“I think I did a good job, just caught it, broke a tackle and took off," Franklin said, his voice lowered a few octaves. "I was just burning, you know? I’m not the No. 1 recruit for nothing.”
Franklin, who is as affable as they come, did so with a laugh. Turns out Green-Beckham can bring a smile to the face of offensive coordinator David Yost, as well.
“What you see is a dynamic guy with the ball in his hands," Yost said. "You see what Marcus Lucas has done, what Danario Alexander did…what Maclin did, it wasn’t always about what route you ran with them. It was just about can you get them the football and give them a chance.
“He’s got some of Maclin in him with the speed, he’s got some Danario in him with the size," Yost continued. "You want to use that to the best of his ability. So when he took off on that play…as soon as he started to hit the safeties, we were saying 'go for one.' That’s a nice thing, to be standing in the box 40 yards away from the end zone and say 'go for one.' We used to say that with Maclin a few times (and) with Alexander.”
Yost, of course, was referring to what coaches do after a touchdown is scored, when they decide between kicking the extra point and going for two.
Pinkel addresses backup quarterbacks
When asked about the backup quarterback competition between redshirt freshman Corbin Berkstresser and true freshman Maty Mauk, Pinkel noted that Berkstresser has made some strides since the spring and followed by praising Mauk’s ability.
However, he also hinted that Mauk's status as a true freshman could play a role in whatever decision is made.
“Maty is in position to redshirt, Corbin already has,” Pinkel said. “We have to take that into consideration…that just helps the separation at that position.”
Mauk completed 6-of-9 passes for 96 yards on Thursday, while Berkstresser completed 14-of-25 passes for 116 yards. Each player threw a touchdown and an interception.
Wanted: a starting kicker
Pinkel admitted he was a little disappointed in how kickers Trey Barrow and Andrew Baggett fared on field goals Thursday, as both players – who are locked in a battle for the starting placekicking job – went 3-for-7.
"We’re not competing there as well and (as) consistent as we want,” Pinkel said. “We went through that a year ago, we know what that’s like. That’s Missouri beating Missouri, so we’ve got to work that out.”
Pinkel reiterated that he’d like to find one kicker and stick with him. Yost, who coaches the special teams, said he needs to look at the video of the scrimmage to properly evaluate both players, but offered some quick thoughts on the matter.
“It seemed like when one missed, the other one missed,” Yost said. “That’s one of those things where you’re hoping one guy kind of separates himself…because it is a tight competition. But that will be evaluated, and we’ll have to make a final decision at some point. Coach Pinkel will make the final call."
Other scrimmage observations
Receiver Jimmie Hunt continues to flash some big play ability. His touchdown catch came over the middle, where he had to navigate his way through traffic to the end zone...senior Gahn McGaffie is Mr. Reliable - he made another tough catch near the sideline Thursday, continuing his preseason habit of coming down with any balls thrown in his vicinity...Andrew Wilson, the defensive MVP of last year's Independence Bowl, made a few big plays, picking off a Maty Mauk pass and leveling freshman Russell Hansbrough near the sideline. The Ray-Pec grad doesn't get much ink, it seems, but he's struck me as a really good player...linebacker Kentrell Brothers' interception was impressive. He anticipated a short throw from Corbin Berkstresser and practically broke on the ball before Berkstresser even let it go. Brothers then caught the ball in stride and streaked to the end zone untouched...Jared McGriff-Culver seems to have gotten stronger as camp has gone on. It seems like there has been some extra pep in his step lately, and he's one of those guys that loves to finish off runs.
Just the stats
And finally, here are the stats from today's scrimmage:
*Dorial Green-Beckham 65 pass from Maty Mauk
*James Franklin 28 run
*Jimmie Hunt 22 pass from Corbin Berkstresser
*Kentrell Brothers 43 interception return
James Franklin 7-12, 80
Corbin Berkstresser 14-25, 116, 1 TD, 1 INT
Maty Mauk 6-9, 96, 1 TD, 1 INT
Eric Laurent 3-4, 45
Jimmie Hunt 4-41, 1 TD
Rolandis Woodland 3-24
Russell Hansbrough 3-16
Dorial Green-Beckham 2-71, 1 TD
Bud Sasser 2-28
Levi Copelin 2-20
Marcus Murphy 2-10
Tyler Hunt 2-9
Morgan Steward 2-7
Joe Plevel 1-34
Kendial Lawrence 1-18
Gahn McGaffie 1-16
Marcus Lucas 1-12 0
Jaleel Clark 1-10
T.J. Moe 1-8
Jared McGriff-Culver 1-7
Kyle Peasel 1-6
James Franklin 2-30, 1 TD
Tyler Hunt 2-23
Greg White 2-23
Jared McGriff-Culver 2-22
Kendial Lawrence 3-20
Russell Hansbrough 4-16
Morgan Steward 3-8
Corbin Berkstresser 1-7
Miles Drummond 1-6
Marcus Murphy 1-6
Eric Laurent 1-5
T.J. Moe 1-5
Kentrell Brothers 1-43, 1 TD
Andrew Wilson 1-3
Tackles for Loss – Darvin Ruise (1), Marvin Foster (1), Harold Brantley (1), Matt White (1);
Passes Broken Up – Darvin Ruise (2), Kony Ealy (1), Harold Brantley (1), Xavier Smith (1);
QB Sacks – Brad Madison (1), Jimmy Burge (1), Clayton Echard (1)
Fumbles Recovered – Harold Brantley (1)
Trey Barrow 3-7 Makes: 38, 36, 43; Misses: 40, 45, 32, 39
Andrew Baggett 3-7 Makes: 38, 36, 43; Misses: 40, 45, 32, 39
Trey Barrow 7 punts, 264 yards, 37.71 2 inside the 20
Christian Brinser 7-291, 41.57, 2
To reach Terez A. Paylor, call 816-234-4489 or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at twitter.com/TerezPaylor and on Instagram at TerezPaylor.
By TEREZ A. PAYLOR
The Kansas City Star
Dorial Green-Beckham did it again.