Missouri left tackle Elvis Fisher is the lone holdover from the Tigers' 2007 recruiting class. He opened the 2008 season as the Tigers' starting left tackle, and has been charged with protecting the backside for QBs Chase Daniel, and Blaine Gabbert. He's been granted a sixth year of eligibility, and he's looking forward to his final season at Missouri protecting James Franklin's backside.
This spring, Fisher is recovering from the knee injury that cost him his 2011 season. He's close to fully recovered, and has even gotten into some of the contact drills. Following a recent practice, Fisher took time to visit with ShowMeMizzou.com, and he shared some of his thoughts with us.
"It's fun coming out here in the spring," said Fisher, who has missed the last two springs at Missouri. "I'm not in red. When you're in red, everyone makes fun of you a little bit. I wouldn't say I'm a hundred percent yet, but I'm getting there. It's just more of a mental thing now. So I sit down with the coaches and the training staff, and we kind of have a plan of what we're going to do………………………………………… You know, get to where I can trust it. It feels great out there!"
"I'm real excited to play in the SEC," said Fisher, who is from Florida. "It's going to be fun!"
"I've got a whole regimen worked out with the training staff, the coaches, and the strength coaches, you know, working out specific things, for the summer," explained Fisher. "Really the whole team does, but I've got a little extra plan in there, just for my knee, and just some things I need to work on. Stability-wise, trusting-wise, strength-wise, I've got little extra things that I'm planning to work on. It's going to be fine."
As a veteran's veteran, I asked Fisher to evaluate the Tigers' offensive line?
"It's looking good," said Fisher. "We need to start developing some depth . The young guys need to start stepping up, and they have been. Our two-deep has come ten-fold compared to the first day."
Fisher mentioned several of the young offensive linemen by name, and acknowledged that the young players are competing and battling.
I asked Fisher to talk about some of the young defensive linemen?
"Shane has worked his butt off," said Fisher. "He's a lot stronger, a lot faster. He reminds me of a young Kony (Ealy), or Aldon (Smith). Those guys are just fast around the edge. When he puts a little more weight on, and gets a little more strength, forget about it! I believe he'll be ready to play this year. I mean, he's got the mindset. He's got the work ethic. He's got the competitiveness."
"Matt's doing great! When he moved inside to defensive tackle, I feel like that's really his forte," explained Fisher. "He's like 290 pounds, now. He has a strong punch. He's really quick off of the ball. It's like just what he's meant to do."
Fisher talked about the prospect of playing a pair of games (at Central Florida & at Florida) close to where he grew up. He mentioned about a former teammate who is a starting offensive linemen for the Gators.
"I had a bunch of friends who played at all of those Florida schools," explained Fisher. "But, they're all graduated now…………………………………. I can't wait to play down there in front of family and friends."
I asked Fisher about the quality of players in the SEC?
"I don't know," explained Fisher. "In the Big 12, I've played against some of the best players in collegiate football. They run fast, hit hard, just like what we've been playing against. It will be different guys. I won't know everybody. I won't know what to expect, or what defense they'll be running. It'll take some getting used to."
I asked Fisher if the unfamiliarity is more of an advantage for the offense or the defense?
"I don"'t know," admitted Fisher. "I'd like to think it's an advantage for the offense."
"I went against Brian Arakpo when I was a freshmen," explained Fisher. "He was a beast! He was a senior. He was good."
"Aldon Smith is strong," said Fisher. "He's really good!"
Finally, I asked Fisher to compare Aldon Smith and Kony Ealy. He said that the two of them have "a lot of similarities". He said that he expects Ealy to have a big year this year.
"Our defense is putting it to us out here," said Fisher. "They're going to be good."