Britt Reflects On Season, Looks Ahead

Missouri left tackle Justin Britt talks about his first season as a starter, the adjustments he has had to make and what he sees in his future as he prepares for the final 2011 regular season game against Kansas

p>After senior left tackle Elvis Fisher went down during fall camp, sophomore Justin Britt moved from guard to tackle and stepped in for Fisher.  A week before the first game, Britt sprained an ankle, and began the season playing on a bad wheel.  He's since fully recovered, if anyone can be fully recovered this deep into a rigorous Big 12 schedule.

Heading into the Kansas game, Britt took time to visit with, and he talked about his season, and his thoughts going forward.

"I mean, I didn't think I was going to be playing left tackle this year,"  began Britt, describing his August position change.  "I was looking forward to playing guard, getting to pull more, and be more aggressive.  But, things happened.  (The injury to Elvis) was unfortunate.  When that time came, I was ready to step up.  The team needed me, and I looked at it that way.  I had an opportunity to do something for the team, bigger than what I had.  I really grasped that, and took the opportunity……………………………………. I sprained my left ankle a couple of days after Elvis went down.  That was unfortunate………………………………… You know, they wouldn't let me quit.  I had to battle through it.  I think that's made me stronger and tougher."

Britt said the he's "100%", now.  I asked him to evaluate his season's performance.

"At the beginning of the season, the first four or five games, I graded out pretty well, except for the Arizona State game,"  said Britt.  "That was one of my off games.  Then, we played Texas, and Kansas State, and A&M.  We were heading into the better part of our conference (schedule).  We were facing better people.  You know, I need to get stronger.  That will help me a lot………………………………. Of course, at left tackle, you face the fastest guy, and sometimes the strongest guy, on the D-line.  I'm looking forward to next year, and this off-season preparing, but of course we've got one more week guaranteed, and we've got to handle Kansas."

Britt said that he's gotten better throughout the season.

"I've become more confident in myself,"  explained Britt, talking about the improvement he's made during this season.  "This past game, I think, was my best game, one of my best games that I've ever played.  I just think there comes a confidence in understanding and knowing left tackle, and knowing that I can do it, and having that confidence.  What I can take from this season is that I'm not just an average player.  I have the potential to be an outstanding player.  But I want to be humble, too.  But at the same time, the team needs me to be aggressive, and to stand up and take action on what I can do."

"Moving into the off-season, I can think about what I've done well, and work on getting even better at that,"  Britt continued, talking about what he needs to do to improve.  "And, I need to work on my footwork.   Everybody needs to work on that.   I need to get stronger, mostly in my upper body.  Lower body too, but I need to focus on getting stronger in my upper body." 

I asked Britt whether Fisher will return next year, and how that will affect him?

"He might be back next year,"  said Britt, referring to Fisher's possible return for a sixth year of eligibility.  "I hope so.  That will help us out.  But, we don't know that yet."

I asked Britt what position he will play, if Fisher does return?

"I'll probably play right tackle," replied Britt.

Britt talked about playing Kansas.

"Kansas has been in a lot of close games,"  explained Britt.   "It's all about you're A game, who comes out ready to play…………………………………..  Anything can happen if you don't respect your opponent.  So I mean, we respect them, we respect who they are.  We respect the rivalry.  You know, they're going to come out, and this is going to be their best game.  We've got to come out and make this our best game, too.  I mean, that's why they call it The Border War, because it's going to be a war."

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