Almost every football team has fights in practice. Most don't see the light of day publicly. But once in a while ...
Missouri defensive end Brad Madison suffered a broken middle finger on his right hand Friday because of a practice flare-up with third-team defensive tackle Brad Coslet. They traded punches on two occasions in the practice, in fact. Madison jammed his finger in the skirmish. Details are in this Kansas City Star story.
Madison leads Mizzou in sacks with 7.5. He didn't miss the next practice, and should be fine for the Tigers' Dec. 28 Insight Bowl date with Iowa.
Missouri Coach Gary Pinkel skipped last Friday's practice to go to New York. Along with Iowa Athletic Director Gary Barta and Mizzou AD Mike Alden, Pinkel rang the opening bell for trading at the NASDAQ market.
That was on behalf of Insight Enterprises, sponsors of the Insight Bowl. I'm sure the traders were suitably impressed.
Pinkel's reaction to Madison's injury: "Put a cast on it and play."
I'm not big on mock NFL drafts four months before the day (days) of the draft, but what the heck ... Some site called Draftek says Iowa's Ricky Stanzi is the No. 10 quarterback on the 2011 draft board, while Missouri's Blaine Gabbert, a junior, is No. 21.
Gabbert didn't major in football, apparently. Here is one of his Twitter posts from last week at @BlaineGabbert:
Studying for my last financial investments exam tomorrow http://plixi.com/p/63008137
Draftek has Iowa defensive end Adrian Clayborn going 21st overall. The site says:
Last year's Orange Bowl MVP may have been better served to leave school then, as the Hawkeyes weak finish in 2011 was marked by an inability of the supposed nails defense to get off the field. Still, Clayborn attracted regular helpings of double-team. He's technically solid, uses leverage well, and doesn't give up on plays.
Sunday was a good day for former Missouri players in the NFL. Receiver Jeremy Maclin had two touchdown catches for the Philadelphia Eagles in their 38-31 comeback win over the New York Giants. Brad Smith, who played quarterback wonderfully at Mizzou, returned the opening kickoff 97 yards for a New York Jets touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Receiver Justin Gage had a TD catch for the Tennessee Titans against the Houston Texans.
Last year, Iowa's season may have been "saved" to a degree when it staved off Northern Iowa in the season-opener, 17-16. The Hawkeyes went on to an 11-2 season.
In Week 3, Missouri had a similar game when Gabbert hooked up with T.J. Moe on a short sideline pass that turned into a 68-yard touchdown play with 51 seconds left for a 27-24 win over San Diego State. Gabbert had thrown an interception with 1:47 remaining, leading everyone at Faurot Field in Columbia to assume the visiting Aztecs had secured an upset win.
Vahe Gregorian of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wrote this story about the play that steered the Tigers' season in the right direction. An excerpt:
To the relief but also perhaps chagrin of many who'd left. Final score: Mizzou 27, San Diego State 24.
"We love our fans, but I just wanted people to wish they hadn't left," center Tim Barnes said. "And when they heard that cannon go off (after the TD), they must have gone, like, 'What — they won?!' "
Only recently has Moe watched replays of the touchdown, which came with 51 seconds left and proved the game-winner when the Tigers muzzled SDSU on the last series.
"What do I have to see it for? I lived it," he said, laughing but acknowledging, "It was one of those plays that you always dream of making."
The best way to be proven wrong about something is to make a public statement claiming something that you don't really know to be true. So I'll do it by saying I'd wager there isn't a single organized bus trip from Iowa to the Insight Bowl.
Missouri, however, has at least one. A 50-seat bus is leaving Columbia at 3 p.m. on Dec. 27. This isn't for the faint of heart, or for people who are fooling around. The bus will go straight from Missouri to Tempe, Ariz., without an overnight stop. A couple hours after the game, the bus will leave and go back to Missouri, expected back in Columbia a little before midnight on the 29th.
There is a dinner and a breakfast stop each way.