Republished from the Jefferson City News Tribune
COLUMBIA — Missouri football coach Gary Pinkel’s favorite word this year seems to be “consistency.”
The Tigers closed fall camp with their third scrimmage Thursday morning, and Pinkel had one last preseason opportunity to squeeze in his favorite buzzword.
“It’s very difficult to be a real good football team if you don’t get the consistent play out of all 11 offensive players and all 11 defensive players,” he said. “The consistency. … It’s not about being perfect, but it’s about being a consistent player, so we become a consistent offense and a consistent defense.”
Quarterback Maty Mauk threw for 28 yards on 4-of-11 passing. Corbin Berkstresser was 7-of-12 for 51 yards, and Eddie Printz was 9-of-12 for 115 yards. Mauk had a fumble returned 52 yards for a touchdown by linebacker Eric Beisel.
Berkstresser and Printz are battling for a backup spot that Pinkel said will be decided soon.
And as for his starter?
“We’re working for consistency, him like anybody else,” Pinkel said.
No score was kept in the scrimmage, which featured limited play for starters. The offense and defense split the first two scrimmages.
Starting tailback Russell Hansbrough ran for a 55-yard touchdown against the second defense. Trevon Walters also rushed for a touchdown, running for 23 yards on four carries. Fellow freshman Ish Witter led the tailbacks with 67 yards on seven carries.
“I thought we did some good things running-game-wise,” Pinkel said. “I think there’s things in the passing game we need to work on. I think we need to get better at run defense. There’s always things. I just think we need more consistency as a team.”
Witter and Walters could see playing time this year as freshmen. Sophomore tailback has yet to play in a scrimmage because of a hip injury, and senior Marcus Murphy has split time between tailback and slot receiver to provide more depth at that position.
Murphy totaled most of his yardage through the run for the second straight scrimmage. He had 54 yards on five carries and 15 yards on two receptions.
The Tigers returned to Faurot Field after moving inside the Devine Pavilion on Saturday because of rain. This week, the team began practices at 2:30 p.m. instead of 7:15 a.m. in preparation for a schedule that begins with three afternoon games.
“It’s great being out in this heat,” Pinkel said. “But I just think we need more consistency.”