Ford Shares His Thoughts On Tiger Defense

ShowMeMizzou.com spent some time with Missouri Tiger defensive backs coach Cornell Ford on media day to get his thoughts on his cornerbacks and the Tiger defensive performance as a whole.

On Monday, ShowMeMizzou.com spoke with Missouri assistant coach, Cornell Ford, and he shared some of his thoughts about the ASU game, and what he's planning to do to correct the mistakes.

"We didn't play very well. That's probably putting it mildly," admitted Coach Ford. "It was mostly missed assignments and busted coverages. We weren't in the positions that we needed to be in. It was more so that we had mental errors, more than anything else. Just lapses, not focused. When you're playing zone defense, everybody has an area, and a responsibility. Guys weren't in their area."

"In big games against really quality opponents, I think people tend to try to do too much," continued Coach Ford. "If you're having difficulty stopping a particular play, then other players try to go make a play. Then, the defense breaks down. If the front end of your defense breaks down, you might be able to get away with it, but when the back end breaks down, those are big plays."

I asked Coach Ford if inexperience is a factor in the mistakes that were being made.

"I'm not making any excuses. We have to get the job done," explained Coach Ford. "When I look at the guys that are in my room, I don't see any true returning starters. A kid like E.J. Gaines is going to be an excellent corner. He has an excellent future here. But, that was his second start………………………………. I need to do a better job of coaching them, and we need to execute better."

I asked Coach Ford about the failure of the Missouri corners to jam the ASU receivers coming off of the line?

"There were instances where we were trying to disguise coverages," replied Coach Ford. "And, there were other instances where they should have been getting jams on them. And, there were other instances where they just didn't do what they were supposed to be doing. All of the above."

Coach Ford talked about defending the swing passes to the running back that ASU utilized so effectively against Missouri.

"We didn't do a very good job of setting the edge to the defense," explained Coach Ford. "That's got to improve. Because against our defense, that's a play that we're going to see a lot of………………………………… You need guys that have to be aggressive, and get themselves on the line of scrimmage. And, get themselves in the position where either they can make the play, or they can turn it back inside to their help……………………………… That's not just on the linebackers. That's on the corners, as well. They've got to set the edge. Both of those guys, together, have got to do that for our defense."

Coach Ford said that E.J. Gaines has been the Tigers' best corner so far this season, and that Trey Hobson has been their second best corner through two games. He admitted that Kip Edwards was not at his best against the Sun Devils. He said that they need him to be at his best, and that they're giving him the opportunity to get back to that level.

Coach Ford said that he drills his corners on how to look for the ball in the air.

"We do the drill," said Coach Ford. "We do it consistently……………………… The key is to find the football. As some point, you've got to look back for the ball………………………………………... On the other side of it, young defensive backs, when they're threatened down the field, they tend to panic………………………………….. I tell them, you've got to trust your technique, go through your fundamentals."

Coach Ford talked about turning the ASU game into a positive learning experience for Missouri.

"We didn't play well as a defense," said Coach Ford. "Amazingly, we were still able to get into overtime, and had an opportunity to win it. So, we look at that as, we're going to be alright. We just need to fix some things, and our defense will be as good as we think it is."


Black & Gold Illustrated Top Stories