Farmerís knee still source of pain

By DAVE MATTER of the Tribuneís staff

Story ran on Tuesday, September 25 2001

Kirk Farmerís limp is slowly fading, but maybe not quick enough for him to play Saturday against No. 4 Nebraska.

Mark Schiefelbein photo
Missouri freshman Thomson Omboga hopes to find some running room against Nebraska in his first start Saturday.
Missouriís junior quarterback is still rehabbing the torn medial-collateral ligament he suffered to his left knee on Sept. 8 and has not been cleared by MUís medical staff for full-contact drills. His knee will be evaluated every day this week, and until he has full mobility, heíll be watching from the sidelines.

"It just depends on if I can run full speed or not," Farmer said yesterday. "If I can run full speed, then I can play. As of right now, I canít run full speed. It just depends on how much it improves."

Farmer said he must be able to sprint, plant his left foot and make a quick move without further damaging the ligament. As of yesterday, moves like those were still causing him discomfort.

"When I do that now, itís a painful reaction in my leg," he said. "Usually itís not, but every now and then it is. I canít have that happening if I want to play well."

Farmer practiced lightly on Sunday and should throw again today and tomorrow. He is listed along with senior Jim Dougherty as the backup to junior starter Darius Outlaw, who split every two series with Farmer on Sept. 8 before Farmer was injured in the second half.

Farmer suffered a season-ending broken collarbone at Nebraska last season while putting together the best game of his injury-shortened career. Pinkel hasnít ruled out that Farmer will get a shot to finish against the Cornhuskers this year.

"He certainly has a chance to play," Pinkel said.

FRESHMAN STARTER: To some, Thomson Ombogaís name atop the MU depth chart may come as a surprise this early in his career. But for the freshman receiver from Grand Prairie, Texas, itís been a long time coming.

"Itís something Iíve been waiting for, and it was one of my goals when I first started," said Omboga, who will start Saturday ahead of sophomore Shirdonya Mitchell. "Iíve just been working hard and trying to do it."

Pinkel said the decision to promote the true freshman came down to his consistency in practice.

"He catches well, he runs good routes," he said. "Heís still got some maturing to do, but heís a got a lot going for him. We just felt heís taken that step to be a starter.

"Heís kind of a confident guy. I really like his personality. He believes in himself. He was heavily recruited and could have gone a lot of places. Weíre very fortunate heís on our football team, but heís also earned the right to move up. Heís certainly got a lot of big-play potential."

Omboga caught his first two passes - for 16 yards - against Southwest Texas.

"Iím pretty confident," Omboga said. "After I got that first catch, I think I got in the groove of what this is going to be like. But Iíve never played in a big game like this one."

● JONES RETURNS: Junior college transfer R.J. Jones should be a welcome addition to the MU secondary this week. The junior cornerback has been out since preseason camp when he separated his collarbone. Jones earned a starting role alongside junior Antoine Duncan after a strong spring camp but was lost for more than a month with the injury. Jones has returned to practice and is listed as a backup for Saturdayís game.

"How he practices this week will determine how much he plays in the game," Pinkel said. "Obviously weíre excited to have him back."

The Tigers have gotten by without Jonesí services in the first two games, relying heavily on Duncan and sophomore Michael Harden to man the cornerback spots. Jones, plus converted receiver Marcus James, should give the secondary some needed depth.

Without Jones, the Tigers are ranked first in the Big 12 and seventh nationally in pass defense, allowing only 120.5 yards through the air through two games.

Reach Dave Matter at (573) 815-1788 or