As Spring Football moves past the halfway point, and heads into Spring Break, ShowMeMizzou.com spoke with one of the most acclaimed of the Missouri Tigers, in junior corner Edwin Gaines. During 2011, Gaines was outstanding, as he recorded 69 tackles, set a school record with 16 pass-break-ups, and was named First-Team All-Big 12.
Gaines talked about how spring football is going for the Tigers.
"It's going well," said Gaines. "We've got a lot of young guys out here trying to learn. They played scout team last year, so they're just getting out here trying to learn the ways, and me and Kip (Edwards) and all of the upperclassmen are really trying to show them the ways."
Gaines has been on campus less than two years, but he's already a veteran presence on the team. I asked him about that?
"It's like I'm a new guy really, since we're going into a new conference," laughed Gaines. "We're really just going against each other right now, so it's kind of like just being in the Big 12. It's going to be different whenever season rolls around, but right now we're just trying to get the fundamentals down and the technique down for the younger guys."
Gaines has already looked at video on some of the Tigers' SEC opponents. I asked him what he saw?
"Really, they're similar to the Big 12," explained Gaines. "It's a little different in that in the Big 12, they're going to throw the ball more, and in the SEC, they're going to run the ball more. But I was watching the receivers. In the SEC, they're a lot bigger. They've got bigger receivers, and better blockers, things like that. I'm just looking at some of the little things like that right now."
"The big difference for me is that instead of playing the football, we're going to have to play the receiver, because of their height," explained Gaines.
Gaines is 5'10" and 190 pounds. He ran a 4.36 forty this spring and posted a 40" vertical jump. Gaines said that he put up 18 reps at 225 pounds in the bench press.
Gaines said that the pass break-ups he accrued last season are nice, but that he wants to come up with interceptions. I asked him about some of his other goals for this spring?
"My football goals are really just getting my technique down in my off-man coverage," replied Gaines. "I know we're going to play a lot of man in the SEC, just like we did last year. So I mean, just getting better at the fundamentals: press-man, off-man, cover two, we run a lot of cover two. Just getting better at what we do, and concentrating on myself getting better at the little things, and also coaching up the younger guys."