This spring, Missouri Defensive Line Coach Craig Kuligowski is having fun. He's doing what he loves to do, which is coaching the defensive line, and he has a fun group of players to coach. What is it that makes them fun to coach? Well, he has some experienced, proven guys, enough to fill the starting positions, and he has a bunch of very talented young guys to teach.
"These young guys are feeling like they have to be counted on now," explained Coach Kool. "And so, there's pressure on them a little bit. You know, these guys have got to step up. They've got to have that internal fire burning inside of them……………………………………… It'll be exciting to see how those guys perform."
Coach Kool talked about his two young defensive ends.
"Right now, both of our back-up defensive ends, which is Charles Harris and Marcus Loud, and as I said last time, they really haven't been playing like freshmen. And, they can't play like freshmen for us. They have to play like veteran players. Their intensity has been very surprising, just overall, to start off with. It's not, "Boy, I've got a lot of work with these guys". You know, these guys are ready to go."
Kool went on to talk about the DTs.
"And then at the defensive tackle spot, we've got a bunch of good players in there," continued Coach Kool. "So, it'll be interesting to see who ends up getting, you know, starting positions and playing time. Who knows? If we've got four great defensive tackles, maybe we'll find a way to use four defensive tackles all at once?"
Kool was asked about the potential of utilizing a four-man rotation at DE and DT, the way they did last year?
"I don't know. We'll see when the season comes around," replied Coach Kool. "But certainly, we'd like to play at least four guys inside, and four guys on the outside, eight total. We'll see how that works out when it comes up to game day. But sometimes, we'll play six guys inside. It's good to have a good group of guys that are physical guys that are tough guys."
Kool was again asked if they'll have four guys on the outside like they did last year?
"I hope we have it every year," said Kool. "Last year was the first year where you could say that we had four guys that there wasn't a huge drop-off, you know…………………………………………….. I hope it's like that every year."