Mizzou Football opens practice Thursday, Aug. 4
Mizzou fans cannot pop the cork just yet, the start of the 2011 season remains a month away; however, those thirsty for more football coverage can take solace in the fact that fall camp opens tomorrow afternoon.
The Tigers first official fall practice is scheduled for 3:45 p.m; it will be open to reporters but the public, aside from season tickets holders, will not be admitted.
There is a great deal of optimism surrounding this year’s team in spite of some uncertainty at the quarterback position. Head Coach Gary Pinkel has given every indication that red-shirt sophomore James Franklin can step in for the departed Blaine Gabbert, but the Texas native, who has thrown a total of 14 passes at Missouri, has some big shoes to fill.
Franklin played well in the Black & Gold game, completing 13-of-21 passes for 116 yards and two touchdowns, but the Tigers’ offense managed just three second half points in the annual spring clash.
While Franklin will, no doubt, be the primary focus of those attending fall practices, the Tigers’ coaching staff, according to PowerMizzou.com publisher Gabe DeArmond, has several position battles to focus on. Among the areas requiring extra attention are wide receiver, defensive tackle, and running back.
The Tigers, which return 15 starters and 50 lettermen from last year’s 10-3 squad, open the season on Saturday, September 3rd against the MAC’s Miami, Ohio Redhawks. Missouri opens its new round-robin conference schedule on September 24th in Norman against Big 12 favorite Oklahoma.
The Big 12 Football Media Preseason Poll predicted a fourth place conference finish for Pinkel’s troops this season.