Missouri Football Preseason Camp Update: Revisiting Saturday's Scrimmage

Ryan FallerAnalyst IAugust 17, 2009

The Missouri Tigers' first official scrimmage of preseason camp ended with favorable results on both side of the ball. But after the Offense had claimed a 54-31 victory, a bulk of the praise was being showered upon the player who will continue to be so acutely observed under the microscope during the 2009 season.

Nearly flawless in his piloting of the first-team offense, sophomore quarterback Blaine Gabbert completed 17 of 22 passes for 217 yards, a touchdown, and an interception to punctuate an impressive first 10 days of camp—during which he eliminated any and all questions as to who the starter will be in the Sept. 5 season opener.

"He can lead this team. He can lead this offense,” wide receiver Danario Alexander said of Gabbert, who also led the team in rushing with 52 yards on five carries, including a scintillating 31-yard scamper down the sideline. “There’s a great deal of confidence in him.”

The Columbia Daily Tribune's Dave Matter has all the stats from Saturday morning's scrimmage at Faurot Field. Courtesy of Power Mizzou, below is a pair videos from the weekend, including head coach Gary Pinkel's comments on the scrimmage.

Missouri Scrimmage Highlights @ Rivals Video

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Tigers talk about scrimmage @ Rivals Video

Saturday's scrimmage also resulted in some changes to the depth chart. Here are some of the more notable modifications:

  • Senior wide receiver Jared Perry, who has managed to raise the ire of Pinkel with a number of dropped passes, is now practicing with the second-team offense, though he is still listed as the No. 1 X-receiver
  • Redshirt freshman Jimmy Burge now sits behind Jaron Baston as the team's No. 2 nose tackle
  • Impressive true freshman Kendial Lawrence is listed as the No. 4 running back, behind starter Derrick Washington, De'Vion Moore, and Gilbert Moye. If he performs consistently the way he has thus far in camp, it's not out of the question to see Lawrence leapfrog Moye on the depth chart.
  • Sophomore Jimmy Costello seems a solid choice for the No. 2 quarterback job, but true freshman Blaine Dalton is making the decision a little bit tougher, Pinkel said Monday.

With the conclusion of Saturday's encouraging scrimmage came more promising news. Nick Demien, considered by several recruiting services to be the top-rated player in Missouri and a top-10 offensive tackle nationally, announced his verbal commitment to the Tigers.

A product of Timberland High School in Wentzville, Mo., the 6'6", 295-pound Demien was being pursued by schools all over the country for his uncanny athleticism as well as the sheer size and power he possesses for his age.  Evaluated as an equally devastating blocker against the run or pass, Demien fielded a virtual laundry list of offers from schools that included Oklahoma, Oregon, Florida State, UCLA, Wisconsin, Ole Miss, and Arizona, among others.

“I was hoping to land maybe one or two offers from schools,” Demien said. “I didn’t know it was going to blow up this big. I was awestruck at first. I was shell-shocked, you could say. I started to weed out schools where I didn’t want to go because I didn’t want to waste their time.

For what it's worth, Demien is the third top-rated player in the state to commit to Missouri in the past three years, following Sheldon Richardson's pledge this past February and Gabbert's decision in 2008.

Assuming he upholds his pledge, Demien, who has also been projected as a difference-maker at guard, will join what is becoming a factory of skilled offensive tackles at Missouri. This season's starters, Elvis Fisher and Dan Hoch, both sophomores and potential all-Big 12 selections, are joined by true freshman Jack Meiners. Who is quietly pushing his way up the depth chart and may see playing time in 2009 thanks to a solid preseason camp.

This doesn't include Chris Freeman, the 6'8", 350-pound behemoth who is currently waiting out a decision from the NCAA on his eligibility after committing to the Tigers on National Signing Day in February.

Photo courtesy of Columbia Daily Tribune


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