Of all the freshmen wide receivers in Missouri’s camp, the one who’s received the least hype proved to be the most productive Tuesday in the first scrimmage of training camp.
Thomas Richard, a 6-foot, 190-pound Nashville, Tenn., native, caught five passes for 44 yards.
“All the freshmen have done a really nice job and each one shows signs of getting more confident, because they know more what to do,” Tigers wide receivers coach Pat Washington said. “(Richard) had probably the slowest start, because he was thinking a whole lot. But today it looked like he did stuff without thinking as much, which is what he’s got to do to play football for us.”
Freshman Nate Brown made four catches for 37 yards, and freshman Lawrence Lee made three catches for 16 yards.
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Murphy makes debut in slot
Senior Marcus Murphy, who played tailback for Missouri last season but spent camp working at slot receiver, caught four passes for 16 yards.
The Tigers brought him in motion a lot and primarily used him as a relief valve in the flats.
Coach Gary Pinkel said after the scrimmage that Murphy would return to the tailback group, where he’ll get back up to speed before the scrimmage Saturday.
All indications are that Murphy will line up pretty much anywhere offensive coordinator Josh Henson wants once the season begins.
“We’re going to try to take advantage of his ability, so he’ll be in the backfield and he’ll be in the slot,” Washington said. “He’s going to return punts and kicks, so he’s going to be a tired dude after the football game. We’re going to use him all over the field.”
Backup race remains tight
Neither backup quarterback took a step toward winning the No. 2 quarterback job Tuesday.
Corbin Berkstresser, a junior Lee’s Summit graduate, completed 14 of 29 passes for 115 yards, and Eddie Printz, a redshirt freshman, completed 16 of 29 for 116 yards. Neither threw a touchdown or interception.
Printz said the biggest difference between the quarterbacks in the battle to back up Mauk is Berkstresser’s inability to grow a beard.
“I think we both went out there and played the best ball possible,” Printz said.
Berkstresser and Printz split snaps with the second- and third-string units, going against the No. 1 and No. 3 defenses.
“It’s real humbling to see the kids that were making plays in the Cotton Bowl trying to get you,” Printz said. “It was a learning day for me, just like every other practice we’ve had, but good came from it.”
Golden talks about Ferguson
Senior defensive end Markus Golden, a native of St. Louis, said he hasn’t been riveted to news coverage of the ongoing unrest in Ferguson, Mo., where residents have reacted violently to the police shooting of an unarmed 18-year-old, Michael Brown.
“I’m in camp, so my focus is right here, right now,” Golden said. “I’ve got a lot of players to come out here and help. I’ve got to get myself better. So, I haven’t been paying attention too much, but my mom’s been telling me. The only thing I can say about it is I hope the people down there stay safe, stick together and stop the violence. … The violence makes it worse.”
Mixed bag for Baggett
It was a mixed bag Tuesday for junior kicker Andrew Baggett. The Lee’s Summit North graduate went three for five on field goals.
“We want him to make them all,” Pinkel said when asked about Baggett’s struggles. “I don’t know what to tell you.”
Baggett started his day with a 34-yard miss, pushing the kick wide right of the mark.
He rebounded by nailing a 45-yarder before shanking another short kick, this one from 32 yards, wide right again.
Baggett, who was voted preseason All-SEC third team, finished strong by connecting on a 33-yard try then capping the first-team offense’s two-minute drill with a 38-yarder as time expired.