What have you seen of Missouri on film? “They’re actually a real good team. We were watching plays they were supposed to have touchdowns on. You know, they didn’t, but they’re capable of scoring and doing all those things. So we don’t look at their stats or notice the fact they haven’t scored because of all those things.
“They’ve had opportunities to score. So hopefully we show up to play and make sure we dominate from beginning to end and not let them get a groove in the first drive and just let them get comfortable.”
What did the linebackers work on during the bye week? “Really getting the young guys reps, making sure they’re prepared as the season goes on because we’re going to rate. Make sure those guys are ready to play and development for the rest of the season and next year. So coaches really gave those guys reps and let them know what they’re doing, preparing for these next couple of weeks.”
Did Missouri changing back quarterbacks change up a lot of what you had planned from last week? “Not really. We take the same basic game plan every game, make sure we attack the line of scrimmage and dominate the run. Those passes, make sure we’ll be there and protect the easy throws, and if they get the long throws we protect those. But our game really didn’t change.
“They’re both great quarterbacks, Matty Mauk and the freshman (Drew Lock). But we just prepare and make sure we dominate first through fourth quarters.”
When is the last time you played on a really wet field? “Maybe my sophomore year in high school was the last time I played on just a rainy field. But we’ve been practicing this week in the rain, it shouldn’t get in the way of the game. Just make sure we’re prepared and dominate.”
How important is it for the defense to exert yourselves early? “Ahh, yeah, we talked about that all week and through the bye. We can’t come out flat. We have to make sure we’re ready to dominate. Because the last time we had a late game, Southern Miss, you know we came out kind of slow and sluggish because we played so late.”
“So for Thursday we’ve got to make sure we come out with that fire and are ready to dominate going into the last stretch of the season.”
This team, the defense especially, seems to get better late in games, the fourth quarter you haven’t given up a touchdown. Is there any reason you see? “That’s really it. You can practice, we get great reps in practice. But you never can really just exactly give you the same looks until it gets to the game. That first drive is the hardest drive, getting a feel for everything. That’s why we settle down.
“But you just know we’ve got to be prepared and play fast from the first to the end and just come out and dominate.”