Defensive Line Play Good, Has Room To Improve

Missouri Defensive Line Coach Craig Kuligowski spoke with this week about his defensive line's performance in the Tigers season opening win against Murray State, and what he expects from them heading into week two.

On Monday, spoke briefly with Missouri Defensive Line Coach Craig Kuligowski, and coach Kul talked about Missouri’s defensive line play in their 58-14 win over Murray State.

“I felt we performed well,” said Coach Kul, talking about how the Missouri defensive line played against Murray State. “There’s some spots where we can improve, as with any game. I feel like we ended up, in a game that I felt like our line should dominate, where we did dominate.”

Coach Kul said that he felt that his defensive line did dominate “probably after the third series”.

"(In the first three series) they were getting rid of the ball fast,” explained Coach Kul. “They found a couple of seams in our pass rush, you know, to do a few good draws; tactical stuff that their coaches did a good job with. And you know, sometimes you adjust early in a game, and that’s what we did.”

I asked Coach Kul about his team’s intensity at the beginning of the game?

“If you would have seen us before the game, you would have thought we were playing the Super Bowl,” said Coach Kul. “I mean, the enthusiasm, the excitement, the fire in guys’ eyes, it was wonderful! The key, with some of our young guys especially, is we want to win the game, not necessarily win the pre-game, if you know what I mean. So sometimes, it appears to people in the stands, or people on TV, that it looks like you’re not intense. Well, the truth is, maybe you’re too intense. And so, you’ve got to just focus in and get normal……………………………………………… It’s just that normalization there of being able to focus on what you’re doing and not worry about all the other things going on.”

I asked Coach Kul about the throwback pass to the Murray State QB?

He said that Kony Ealy did a good job of recognizing the play, but he just didn’t finish the play. It sounded like Murray State caught the Tigers in a defensive call that left the QB unaccounted for as a receiver.

“You know, when you’re in a blitz, nobody has the QB necessarily man to man,” explained Coach Kul. “So, that can put you in a vulnerable spot.”

Coach Kul agreed that some of the young defensive linemen played very well. I asked him if some of his young defensive linemen earned additional reps?

“They certainly did,” replied Coach Kul. “When you put those guys in the game, you’re nervous. And then, they get in the game and they perform so well, then you’re less nervous. Now, you feel more confident with getting them in there.”

Coach Kul said that in addition to the 3 tackles (2 TFLs, 1 sack) that Josh Augusta was credited with, he also had a couple of assisted tackles that he didn’t get credit for.

I asked Coach Kul if Harold Brantley and Josh Augusta will be getting more game reps?

“We’ll see. We’ll see,” explained Coach Kul. “It’s all about competition. The younger guys want to play, and you know, we’ve been scrimmaging and doing all of these kind of things. And we get to the game, and they go in there to play, and you know, they showed up. So, we’ll see.”

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