COLUMBIA, Mo. — Missouri tight end Brendan Scales’ promising preseason camp ended abruptly Wednesday when he broke his foot. He underwent surgery on Thursday that will sideline for several games into the season.
Scales, a fourth-year junior from St. Louis and Lafayette High, broke his fifth metatarsal and will miss six to eight weeks, Tigers coach Barry Odom said after Thursday’s practice. Scales had been working with the first-team offense since the start of the week while starter Albert Okwuegbunam and top backup Daniel Parker Jr. nursed injuries. Scales’ climb up the depth chart goes on pause for now.
“I hate it because he had made up so much ... and was really going to help us,” Odom said. “I hate it for the kid because he was really turning the corner.
Depth has been scarce at tight end the last few days. Okwuegbunam was limited again Thursday while recovering from the sprained right knee he suffered last week.
“I think he’s a lot closer to being 100 percent than not,” Odom said.
Parker returned to most drills Thursday after hurting his shoulder in practice earlier in the week.
Also on offense, slot receiver Johnathon Johnson has been out of action with a sprained toe on his right foot. Johnson is the team’s most experienced receiver, but the Tigers have two capable backups in the slot in Barrett Banister and Dominic Gicinto.
Odom called the toe injury “very, very minor.”
“But still, the explosion he has coming in and out of breaks we’ve got to manage that to make sure it doesn’t get out of control,” Odom said.
Defensive end Tre Williams has been out with some pain in his left shoulder, the same shoulder he had repaired previously, Odom said. “If we would play Saturday he would play,” Odom said.
Defensive tackle Jordan Elliott, a projected starter, sat out most drills Thursday because of soreness, Odom said. Odom indicated Elliott would be back for Saturday’s closed scrimmage. “We want to get more out of him Saturday than today,” Odom said.
Defensive end Trajan Jeffcoat remains out of action with a sprained elbow suffered on the first day of camp nearly two weeks ago. “He still would be day to day, maybe more week to week than day to day, but we’re making good progress,” Odom said.
Backup D-tackle Chris Daniels has been spending most of his time at practice working on conditioning. “He’s on the same plan I’m on: weight loss,” Odom said. “We’re trying to get him in that position.”
EIGHT TIGERS ON ALL-SEC
Eight Missouri players appeared on the SEC coaches’ preseason all-conference team, as released by the SEC on Thursday. Only Alabama (16), Georgia (10), Louisiana State (nine) and Auburn (nine) landed more players on the three teams. MU’s Okwuegbunam, right guard Tre’Vour Wallace-Simms and linebacker Cale Garrett earned first-team honors. Cornerback DeMarkus Acy was voted to the second team. Four Tigers made the third team: Elliott, left tackle Yasir Durant, running back Larry Rountree and kicker Tucker McCann.
TIGERS PREP FOR WYOMING
When the Tigers head west to play Wyoming in the Aug. 31 opener they’re also heading up, as in elevation. Laramie, Wyo., sits 7,165 feet above sea level. As a comparison, when the Tigers played at Colorado in the days of the Big Eight and Big 12, Boulder, Colo., is 5,328 feet above sea level.
To prepare for the elevation difference, team nutritionist Palmer Johnson has adjusted the team’s diet leading up to the game and added some new supplements.
“Also I’ve spent time talking to staffs that have played there before,” Odom said. “You look at it just like if you’re going into a situation where we’re going to be really, really hot. I want our guys to have all the information. At the end of the day, it’s how we prepare and ultimately how we play one snap at a time.”