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March 12, 2011

Pads pop at practice

The Missouri Tigers hit the practice field for the first full pads workout of spring football 2011. This marks the fourth overall practice of the spring. After Tuesday's workout, spring ball will already be a third of the way over.

"You can't waste a rep out here," Gary Pinkel said. "Before you know it, it's over."

Here are our observations of the latest workout:

*Greg White strikes me as a guy who is going to be more athletic than people think. He's a bigger back, but he's not a plodding fullback. I've heard White's name a few times in the offseason and he caught my eye on a run around the left corner today.

*The quarterback race will be watched closely every day. No one separated himself today. In fact, it seemed to me most of the time in one-on-one receiving drills and in team periods, the defense had the edge in the passing game.

*A couple of defenders I noticed specifically with good coverage at times were Tavon Bolden, Andrew Wilson, Zaviar Gooden and Tristen Holt.

*On inside run drills, Kony Ealy blew up one handoff to White. You're going to hear the kid's name A LOT over the next few months.

*Speaking of run drills, Henry Josey had a nice cutback run. I still believe he's the one of the group most likely to separate himself and emerge as more of a go-to back. That's not saying it will happen, just that if someone moves out of the pack, I think Josey's the guy.

*Wes Kemp "tweaked a shoulder" during practice and spent the last part of the workout with ice on his right shoulder and pads off. Jaleel Clark started the day in pads, but ended it in full red. In their absence, L'Damian Washington had a couple of nice catches and Jimmie Hunt led the highlight reel with a pretty one-handed grab.

*Daniel Easterly picked off Ashton Glaser during 11-on-11, putting a finish on a rough day for the sophomore quarterback.

*I will have much more on this in a story later this week, but Travis Ruth and Justin Britt both spent time at both guard and center during the workout. Britt told me that Austin Wuebbels and Jayson Palmgren are working on snapping as well. Pinkel and Josh Henson said after the spring they will rank all the offensive linemen 1 through 18 regardless of position and then find a way to get the best five on the field. Again, I'll have more on the center spot later this week.

*It was a former player laden practice. Jeremy Maclin, Tru Vaughns, Justin Garrett and Kevin Rutland all came in about halfway through. Blaine Gabbert was there as well. I talked to Blaine, who told me he will throw to some receivers from Northwest Missouri State on his pro day. He began throwing with them a few minutes after practice ended.

I asked about the possibility of playing for a plane ticket and flying Julio Jones in. Gabbert said Jones had a broken bone in his foot, found after he ran a sub 4.4 at the NFL Combine. "Freakish," Gabbert said of the former Alabama wideout. "Absolutely freakish."

*Speaking of pro day, because it is going to be such a production, Missouri's Thursday practice was moved to Wednesday to, as Pinkel put it, give proper attention to both events.

*Play of the Day: The quarterbacks may not have had the best day, but James Franklin did produce the biggest play. Jerrell Jackson beat the corner off the line then outran Matt White down the sideline. Franklin laid a perfect pass in Jackson's arms. It traveled probably 55 yards in the air and Jackson took it the rest of the way for about a 70-yard score.

*Missouri is back on the practice field Tuesday afternoon at 3:30 and PowerMizzou.com will continue to be your complete source for spring football coverage.

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