A hamstring injury suffered toward the end of fall camp kept Missouri starting CB Kip Edwards 6'1" 195 out of the Tigers' season opener against Miami (OH). He returned to the field against Arizona State, but he surrendered a deep pass play down the seam when it appeared that he lacked the necessary explosion to keep up with ASU WR Aaron Pflugrad. Following the Oklahoma game, in which he appeared to be close to fully recovered, and a bye week, Edwards told ShowMeMizzou.com that he's fully healthy, and at full speed.
"I've been a hundred-percent healthy since OU," said Edwards.
I asked Edwards if he was 100% healthy and running at full speed against Arizona State?
"I was a hundred percent (at Arizona State)," said Edwards. "I just played terrible."
Following that assertion, I told Edwards that it hadn't looked to me like he was running at full speed at ASU.
"Well, looks can be deceiving," Edwards replied. "That's what my grandma always said. I was a hundred percent. I just didn't play well."
"I'm back to my 4.3 speed," said Edwards.
I pointed out to Edwards that most DBs in college don't turn to look for the football, when they're running down the field in coverage. I asked Edwards what he and his teammates are doing to try to make looking for the football become habitual?
"First, I'd like to say that in the Oklahoma game, E.J. (Gaines) turned (his head) and he looked for the ball, and got a pass break-up," explained Edwards. "I did it, as well, and it was an incompletion. So, we are starting to look for the ball. We've been doing it in practice. We do drills on it."
"Really what I've been telling the guys, is when you're running hip to hip, you look him in his eyes," continued Edwards. "When his eyes get big, the ball is coming. Look up! That's all you have to do. If you look up, it will be either a break-up or an interception. And, it will not be a penalty."
Edwards said that looking around for the football has really been emphasized in practice. Now they just have to take their practice to the game.
"(Take your practice) to the game," said Edwards, providing the answer to the implied question. "That's all it is, because you play how you practice."
I suggested to Edwards that taking practice to the game can take some time.
"Sometimes," admitted Edwards. Then he said, "But, we don't have time. We're trying to get back into the winner's circle."
I asked Edwards about the morale of the Missouri defense.
"We're feeling good," explained Edwards. "We're humble, but we're still feeling good. We're still going to go out on Saturday and play together as a unit. But then again, it starts on Tuesday. On Tuesday, with a nice physical practice, it'll be good for us."
I asked Edwards what they'll be working on this week in practice?
"Just our fundamentals," replied Edwards. "We have to be masters of our fundamentals, to be good in this league."
With everyone back healthy in the Missouri secondary, Edwards expressed confidence in the Missouri secondary. Edwards also emphasized that he and his teammates have to continue to master their fundamentals. He talked about working on fundamentals to improve their tackling.
"Fundamentals, back to basics, back to fundamentals," said Edwards, explaining what they need to work on to improve their tackling. "See what you hit. Square it up and hit it."
Edwards said that Coach Ford emphasizes tackling with their head in front of the ball carrier.
"We are emphasizing that every day," said Edwards. "Really, Coach Ford is. He's yelling. He's screaming at us. Because we have to be better tacklers to play in this league."
"My feeling is that we have to play our A game this week," continued Edwards. "Or, every week! But, it starts on Tuesday in practice. We have to play our A game. Because games are won in practice, not on Saturday. Well, they are won on Saturday on the scoreboard, but generally, games are won in practice………………………………….. You play how you practice."