Linebacker Ruise impresses
As Saturday’s scrimmage progressed, the highlights became less and less frequent for Missouri’s first- and second-team defenses, but senior linebacker Darvin Ruise staked his claim to the starting weakside linebacker spot.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Kansas City Star
Ruise, who has worked behind sophomore Donavin Newsome at times during spring practice, forced fumbles on a couple occasions with bone-jarring hits.
“I just made the most of my opportunity and showed that I am one of the leaders on this defense,” said Ruise, who saw extended time when Newsome left with a shoulder injury.
Ruise also explained that he’s not worried about his starting job.
“The whole (Newsome) playing in front of me, it’s not that I lost my spot,” Ruise said. “They wanted me at a certain weight and gave me a little motivation by moving me down. I’m trying to get to that weight, and I’m reaching that goal.”
Hairy relationship between quarterback, center
Missouri redshirt sophomore quarterback Maty Mauk and junior center Evan Boehm have been friends since arriving on campus together in 2012.
Mauk and Boehm make for a quirky pair and, with Mauk expected to the starting reins, hope the off-field chemistry they share will translate to the field.
But Boehm confessed Saturday that things are bound to get hairy — literally.
Mauk “came up to me and said, ‘I want to do something weird this season,’” Boehm said. “I’m weird, so I’m down for that.”
Mauk decided to start growing out his hair and facial hair and told Boehm, “This season, we’re going to mullets and beards.”
Otte takes turn in spotlight
Missouri senior wide receiver Gavin Otte isn’t physically imposing at 5 feet, 10 inches and 200 pounds, but he imposed his will on the Tigers’ secondary at times.
Otte made a highlight-reel catch in the back of the end zone for a 31-yard touchdown from Berkstresser.
“I saw where I thought it was going to be, so I ran, kind of threw my hands out and jumped,” Otte said. “God blessed me. It landed right in my hands.”
Otte also led all Missouri receivers with five catches for 76 yards overall.
“We lost a few good receivers, so I think it opened some opportunities up,” Tigers coach Gary Pinkel said. “Last year, he might have played more if we hadn’t had the kind of depth we had. But we lost some veteran players and he’s a guy who’s always worked real hard and really has always done a lot of good things.”
Missouri picked up several injuries Saturday during its first spring scrimmage.
Running backs Marcus Murphy (sprained ankle) and Russell Hansbrough (sprained shoulder) both were dinged up along early in the scrimmage along with starting defensive tackle Matt Hoch (sprained ankle) and linebacker Donavin Newsome (sprained shoulder).
“One thing we learned a couple years ago is you’ve got to get guys ready to play,” Pinkel said. “So, if you’re going to get guys hurt, this is a good time to get them hurt, so you can get them healed up.”
Hoch tweeted that he broke a bone in his ankle and would have surgery Sunday. It was unclear how long he would be out.
The Tigers already were playing without linebacker Kentrell Brothers, who underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum last week, and strong safety Braylon Webb, who picked up a concussion last week.
Junior cornerback Ernest Payton also remains sidelined. He had surgery in September to repair a torn ACL.
Mauk and junior Corbin Berkstresser from Lee’s Summit performed well during the spring’s first scrimmage Saturday at Memorial Stadium.
Meanwhile, redshirt freshman Eddie Printz went 11 for 19 for 106 yards, but he also threw two late interceptions — to safety Chaston Ward and linebacker Denzel Martin.
Fellow redshirt freshman Trent Hosick, a Staley High School graduate, was nine of 14 for 68 yards with a 10-yard touchdown strike over the middle to redshirt freshman tight end Jason Reese.