Through his first four starts, Missouri sophomore CB Edwin Gaines has already established himself as Missouri's top corner. He's Missouri's fourth-leading tackler, with 26 tackles, including 2.5 TFLs, and 3 pass-break-ups, and an interception. Against Kansas State, Gaines played very well.
On Monday, Coach Pinkel talked about Gaines.
"He's a very talented athlete," said Coach Pinkel. "He has potential to be as good as he wants to be. E.J. (Gaines) has a chance to be really good."
Coach Pinkel cited "working hard", and attention to the "little things" as keys to the continued development of a player.
"That's how you make yourself into a great player," explained Coach Pinkel.
Earlier Monday, E.J. Gaines spoke with ShowMeMizzou.com, and he talked about how he graded out against K-State.
"Yeah. I graded out pretty well," replied Gaines, when I asked him if he had graded out well. "I mean, anytime we have a loss though, it hurts everybody on the (team). It was good, but not good enough!"
"I feel like I graded out pretty well," said Gaines, after I pressed him a bit more on the subjest. "And I feel like I played pretty well as an individual. And as a defense, I feel like we can play a lot better……………………………………. Overall, I feel like the secondary played pretty well. But, we can always play better…………………………………… We played alright as a defense, but didn't play up to our potential. We have to get that fixed."
"It's really the little things that are killing us right now," explained Gaines. "We've got to focus on the little things, like Coach Pinkle's telling us. We're not buying into that enough. We've got to work on that."
I asked Gaines if he thinks that guys are trying to do too much?
"Yeah. I feel like it is, sometimes," replied Gaines. "Myself included, being one of the younger guys, sometimes I try to do more than I have to, instead of just getting my job done, and doing my job as well as I can. If everybody does that, then we'll be successful as a defense, and as a team."
Gaines pointed out that against Kansas State, the Tigers registered three sacks.
"They're getting good pressure on the QB," said Gaines. "Anytime you come away with three sacks, the defensive line is doing their job."
I asked Gaines about the tackling.
"That's really just fundamentals, and being focused, whenever you're coming out onto the field," explained Gaines. "We all know how to tackle. It's just the fact that we have to come out here and do it. I feel like Coach Stec is going to have something drawn up for us to do this week, that's going to make sure that we get a wrap on the guy, and get him down to the ground."
Gaines was already quiet familiar with Iowa State's personnel, an indication that he had already been studying to prepare for the Cyclones.