Former College of San Mateo (Calif.) cornerback Anthony Hines provides insurance for Missouri this season and bolsters the secondary for years to come.
That’s why Tigers coach Gary Pinkel green-lighted adding Hines to the 2015 roster despite the fact that camp already was underway.
“It was a situation where, from an eligibility standpoint, he has four years to play three (seasons),” Pinkel said. “That lends itself to you’re not really a junior-college player. It’s just a little bit different, and we like that way better if it works out that way.”
Hines, a native of South San Francisco, Calif., made 22 1/2 tackles with three interceptions and eight pass breakups in 11 games at San Mateo last season.
“We just thought he was a really good athlete …,” Pinkel said. “He’s a very good student, and it was just kind of the right fit at the right time. It was certainly OK, too, with where he was at. We had to make sure he handled that in the right way.”
Pinkel said Missouri’s staff was aware of Hines’ lingering foot injury, which he suffered in May, but expect him to be fine. Hines is expected to miss two to three more weeks and had his left foot in a boot Tuesday at practice.
The injury is a setback for Hines’ chances to contribute this season, but there’s still a possibility he’ll play this fall.
“Legally, he will be eligible, so we’ll have to wait and see,” Pinkel said. “That’s going to be difficult, but anything can happen too. If you have injuries, anything can happen. But we’ve got to get him out here and start working with him. Obviously, he’s got a little bit different experience level than a guy coming from high school.”
▪ Junior running back Morgan Steward got 12 touches during the first scrimmage last weekend, but he also got a few extra days of rest afterward to recover.
It’s all part of his continuing recovery process from a hip injury that forced Steward to miss the 2014 season and required surgery last November.
“First of all, I think he did really good,” Pinkel said. “Is he back to 100 percent? No, from what he was. But is he 80 percent better than he was two months ago? There’s no question about that, so we’re going to look at it optimistically.”
Camp has been filled with encouraging signs for Steward, but it remains unclear if or how much he’ll be able to contribute during the season.
“Hopefully, he’ll come around and get better as you go,” Pinkel said.
Pinkel said the start of classes next week, which will create more breaks in the training schedule, should benefit Steward.
“That rest in between is going to help him a little bit, but we’ll see where he goes,” Pinkel said. “It’s exciting that he’s not 100 percent but he’s getting much better.”
▪ Missouri practiced in full pads, but cut down the length of Wednesday’s practice to keep the guys fresh for the second scrimmage of camp on Thursday morning.
Pinkel said he expects the first string to get 35 reps and would like to see improvement from the first-team passing offense.
“Our whole passing game, we’re inconsistent,” Pinkel said. “We’ve got a lot of young players … (but) you have to get to a point where you don’t beat yourself — you don’t have poor routes, you don’t have poor throws, you don’t drop footballs. There’s just so many ways to mess up a pass play.”
Progress wound be nice as Missouri closes in on two weeks to go before its season opener Sept. 5 against Southeast Missouri at Memorial Stadium.
“We’re running out of time,” Pinkel said. “It’s getting here pretty quick, and obviously we’ve got to keep getting better during the season.”
▪ Wide receivers Johnathon Johnson (right ankle sprain) and J’Mon Moore (left shoulder sprain), running back Trevon Walters (torn right ACL), linebacker Roderick Winters (right foot) and kickers Andrew Baggett (back spasms) and Nick Coffman (groin strain) missed practice Wednesday.
Safeties Tavon Ross (torn ACL) and Ian Simon (hamstring) remained limited in practice along with wide receiver Thomas Richard (hamstring).