Mizzou Football Begins Fall Practices
COLUMBIA - The 2011 football season kicked off for the Missouri Tigers Thursday afternoon on the Kadlec Athletic Fields, and there was a definite air of excitement as the team went through the paces of a two-hour workout in unseasonably cool weather conditions.
Just two days after Columbia experienced record temperatures that officially reached 108 degrees, Gary Pinkel's team practiced Thursday in 83 degree weather, with a steady breeze to keep things cool. The players practiced in shorts, and per NCAA rules, will not be allowed to go in full pads until next week.
"It was a real good first practice, I was a little concerned Tuesday with the weather, and this practice in the afternoon," Pinkel said. "Lucky break here, the weather was good, I think we had a good workout, now things will crank up tomorrow. You're limited with what you can do with just helmets on, but I think it's the best way to acclimate players to the pads. Overall, good work and we'll add drills tomorrow, some one-on-one, some option drills, every day we'll add a little bit more," he said.
Team captains were chosen by the players Thursday afternoon, and the captains for 2011 will be a quartet of accomplished senior leaders: TE Michael Egnew, LT Elvis Fisher, SS Kenji Jackson and DE Jacquies Smith.
Another Tiger who wasn't on the field Thursday is junior college transfer DL Sheldon Richardson. Mizzou officials confirmed Wednesday that Richardsowas not cleared to practice yet with the team, but that they expect him to finish his NCAA eligibility requirements soon. Pinkel confirmed Thursday to media that the school is waiting on paperwork to finish the process.
"We expect him to be out here pretty soon," Pinkel said.
Prior to practice, the Tigers were included in the USA Today Coaches' Top-25 poll, as Mizzou debuted at #21 in the rankings. One national pundit, Sports Illustrated's Stewart Mandel included the Tigers as one of his five most underrated teams in the coaches' poll.