Gaines Talks Final Spring Football Experience

E.J.Gaines returns for his senior season at Missouri as the top corner to date of the Gary Pinkel era. Gaines spoke with about his final go around with spring football as a Tiger.

A quiet leader, Missouri senior corner Edwin Gaines is something of a fixture in Missouri’s secondary. A two year starter, Gaines returns for his senior season at Missouri as the top corner to date of the Gary Pinkel era. Early this spring, Gaines took time to visit with, and he talked about Spring Football.

“It’s great to get back out here and compete after how last season went,” said Gaines. “It’s exciting coming into my senior year! There’s a lot of good things going on for me and this football team, so I’m excited.”

Gaines entered his name for evaluation by the NFL Draft Advisory Board. He received a fourth-round grade, which provided Gaines with a valuable measurement. He said that he was advised to continue to work on his “fundamentals and techniques”, and to just continue to “make the plays” that he has been making.

“It’s just exciting to come out here and know that I have a chance to play at the next level, if I’m blessed to,” said Gaines.

Gaines said that the competition for a couple of spots in the secondary is “a tight race”. He mentioned Xavier Smith and John Gibson as a couple of guys who are challenging Randy Ponder for the other starting corner position.

“It’s really close,” said Gaines, regarding that competition at corner. “It’s exciting, really, right now!”

Gibson has been compared to a young E.J. Gaines.

“(Coach Ford) told me that, too,” said Gaines, referring to the comparison between himself and Gibson. “I mean, I definitely (see that), too. As far as the speed goes, I’d say that he’s faster than I was when I got here. Knowing how to cover man-to-man coverage, he’s better than I was when I got here, too. I mean, he’s definitely making strides right now. Coach Ford says that he needs to be a little bit more physical. But that’s something that can be taught, which is a good thing. I definitely think he’s going to get in and make some plays, and kind of surprise a lot of guys this year.”

Around the Missouri football program, Gaines is known for his outstanding practice habits. He said that he’s trying to help Gibson improve his practice habits.

“My older brothers, Kevin Rutland and Carl Gettis, told me that there’s no way that you’ll play if you don’t make the plays in practice,” explained Gaines. “So, I started off making plays in practice, and it just carried over to the games………………………………………….. I’m just trying to take (Gibson) under my wing, and show him that you’ve got to practice how you play. And, he’s definitely listening to me and kind of looking up to me.”

Gaines talked about his personal goals for this spring.

“I just want to get better with my fundamentals and my techniques,” said Gaines. “And, I just want to make the plays that I didn’t make last year. I mean, more interceptions, more break-ups, more tackles. In general, just become a better football player.”

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