COLUMBIA, Mo. - Gary Pinkel's new approach towards practice seems to be paying off.
Especially when compared to 2012, the Missouri Tigers have been remarkably healthy through the first two weeks of fall camp. No one has suffered the kind of catastrophic injury that may force him to miss significant time.
But, we've finally had the type of injury scare that can make you hold your breath.
- Injury update: CB E.J. Gaines was in a red non-contact jersey and was wearing a large brace on his left knee when practice began Tuesday. Apparently, the senior team captain strained his patellar tendon during Monday's workout. Team spokesman Chad Moller tweeted Gaines is expected to miss a week or so due to the injury. Gaines wasn't the only starter sitting out Tuesday's work. Running back Henry Josey has a strained hamstring. His ailment is not deemed to be as serious as Gaines.' His status is listed as day-to-day.
Last fall, it was glut of injuries along the offensive line that helped sabotage the season.
Pinkel willingly offers the fact that five of his top 10 offensive linemen in 2012 missed significant time with injury.
So far in 2013, they've been completely healthy.
Is it Pinkel's new practice policies that limit hitting and have cut out two-a-days?
When asked that very question after Tuesday's practice, senior guard Max Copeland answered, "Absolutely. I'd make that argument, man, because the nature of our job is we're just head-bangin' for two and a half hours, dude."
Yes, if you didn't already know, that's how Copeland speaks. You will hear the word "dude" and/or "man" approximately 15-20 times per minute in conversation with the rock 'n roll enthusiast.
Copeland also added, "I'm very appreciative that (the) coaching staff has taken measurements to make sure that we stay healthy."
He's not the only offensive lineman to share those sentiments. Evan Boehm, Justin Britt and Mitch Hall all agreed when asked the same question on Tuesday.
Each was sure to point out that no position group does as much hitting in a given practice as the offensive line. In fact, it's hard to do any kind of drill at the position without physical contact.
And it goes without saying, health breeds continuity on an offensive line, and continuity is vital to success. Last year's starting line was more musical chairs than five fingers as one fist.
With health across the board this year, the offense line is gaining the needed comfort with one another to be on the same page when calls are made at the line of scrimmage.