On Tuesday, the Missouri Tigers took to Faurot Field in full pads for the second time this spring. And this time, the Tigers were a little healthier, as several players who had been out on Friday were able to practice on Tuesday, at least with limited contact.
It was a good practice, according to the coaches, who indicated that their goal for Spring Football is for their players to get better every day.
“It’s mostly fundamental work at this time of the spring,” explained Missouri Defensive Line Coach Craig Kuligowski, after the two-and-a-half-hour workout.
Coach Kool went on to say that his players are working hard and taking advantage of the opportunity to get better each and every day.
On Tuesday, the offense won the scored period of practice, and Coach Kool said that his defensive linemen were upset about that.
“That’s the reaction I want to see from them,” explained Kool. “I want them to be upset about losing the scoring period.”
Coach Kool went on to say that there’s some young guys in his group who have a lot of room to improve.
“They’re better than they were last fall,” said Kool, speaking of his defensive linemen. “And they’d better be better at the end of the spring than they are now. Then, they’ll have to keep getting better, and be even better in August than they are this spring. It’s my job to make sure that they keep getting better.”
Kool explained that red-shirt freshman Walter Brady, who just became eligible to join the team in January, is doing well for having just gotten started.
“He’s like one of the kids that shows up to football for the first time in July or August,” explained Coach Kool, speaking of Brady. “You know, he really is. But with that being said, he’s showing some pretty good promise so far. The thing I really like about that kid is his competitive nature is displayed very quickly. He’s a guy that hopefully will continue to get better. He’s got a lot of fundamental work to get better at. But you would expect that with any first day player. So, I’m pretty pleased with him so far.”
“He’s put on good weight, too,” explained Kool, speaking of Hatley. “I’m pretty proud of him.”
Coach Kool said that he wants every one of his guys to compete for a starting job. He wants them to think that they’re going to be the starter.
“My job is to get as many of them as possible ready to play,” explained Coach Kool. “I want them competing to be starters. Then in the fall, we’ll see where we’re at, and figure out where to go from there.”
Coach Kool mentioned that with a new defensive coordinator, there are a “few tweaks” to some of the things that the defense is doing.
“Tweaks” appears to be the descriptive all of the defensive coaches. Coach Odom explained that the “tweaks” are not representative of wholesale changes. He pointed out, as did Coach Kool, that they’re still trying to figure out what they’ve got in terms of personnel, and that once they’ve identified who their best guys are, they’ll figure out the best way to utilize them. But Coach Odom said that their base defense will still be a 4-man front, and that it’s unlikely that we’ll see four linebackers on the field together except on special teams.
So far this spring, the Tigers have been utilizing primarily a base 3-4, with Donavin Newsom on the strong side, rather than utilizing a nickel back in his place.
There's a lot of teaching going on, and a lot of fundamental work, or work on fundamentals. It's all about getting better each and every day.