Near the conclusion of a fall camp during which Missouri's defensive line often had the upper hand, ShowMeMizzou.com spoke with defensive line coach Craig Kuligowski, and he shared some of his thoughts about Missouri's defensive line.
"We're confident," began Coach Kuligowski. "We're working hard. We've got to get better, still. We're running out of time, but I think we've made some good progress during camp."
I asked Coach Kuligowski about the defensive line depth.
"Well, I think that we've got some good players, and some good players behind them," replied Coach Kuligowski. "I guess we'll have to wait until game time to see how deep we really are."
I asked Coach Kul how many defensive ends he thinks he has that are ready to play at a Big 12 championship level?
"Some days, I feel like we have eight," replied Coach Kul. "And, some days I feel like we have two. You know, our goal is to have six. And so, that is what we're working towards."
I asked Coach Kul if they would regularly play six DEs?
"I have no idea," replied Coach Kul. "Honestly, I have no idea."
I asked the same questions with regard to the DT position?
"We've got a lot of good players there, and a lot of guys with experience, fortunately," replied Coach Kul, talking about Missouri's defensive tackles. "We've got guys with good size. Tough. So, I think we're going to find a way for each one of those guys to help us out in some way, somehow."
Coach Kuligowski provided some insight into the way that players are positioned on the nose, or at the three technique.
"Actually what we do, is we kind of play left and right," explained Coach Kul. "So, we have a tackle and a nose. And, we can play them tackle and nose. But last year, we ended up going left and right................................. It depends on the players, but with all of these fast-tempo offenses, we want to get lined up as fast as we can. So sometimes, we go with a left and right scenario............................... They should learn both sides. If something happens during a game, we don't want to be testing it out in a game."
Coach Pinkel talked about how his staff determines who is going to play, and shared some of his thoughts about this year's defensive line.
"What we do is we always tell our players, you don't have to be a starter to play here," explained Coach Pinkel. "If you're a back-up player, and you prove that you're good enough to play at a level to win a championship in the Big 12, then we're going to play you. Honestly, we want to play as many players as we can."
"We have some really good depth (on the defensive line)," continued Coach Pinkel. "It's a good place to have a lot of depth. If you can play a bunch of guys up front on defense, and you can maintain speed and quickness, that's a huge plus!"
As preparation for the season began, it's obvious that the Tigers' defensive line is a strength of the team. And, it appears that Missouri does have the quality of depth along the defensive line to "play a bunch of guys up front on defense", and it should prove to be a "huge plus".