Jackie Shipp is the third defensive line coach for the University of Missouri over the past few months, following long-time DL coach Craig Kuligowski and then short-time replacement Chris Wilson, who was hired but quickly left for an NFL job.
Shipp arrived in Columbia with a strong resume from his time spent at Oklahoma and Alabama and Arizona State, where he’d coach the past three seasons. When he joined the Tigers, he found a throng of defensive linemen that may be the most talented and deepest position group on the Tigers’ roster.
“Very athletic,” Shipp said Saturday of his initial thoughts on the defensive linemen he inherited when he arrived. “Very athletic. Have a lot of talent. Very athletic. Can run. We’re long, big, fast, quick. I was very impressed from the first day.”
Shipp’s job now is to make the most of their diverse abilities.
Asked how a player like second-team All-Southeastern Conference defensive end Charles Harris can take his game to another level, Shipp’s answer outlined how each of his talent pupils could get better.
“Improve your techniques and fundamentals,” he said. “And also understand how the game is played. I made the statement earlier, why can’t a D-lineman be like a linebacker? Why can’t you know backfield sets, formations and different things that help you tell what kind of blocking scheme you’re going to get?
“Improve your knowledge of the game. Because I think we all agree, if you have great physical talent and you put some mental to that, you can be pretty special right there.”
The new defensive line coach talked about the need for more communication along the defensive front, similar to how much offensive lines communicate, and brought up the possibility of using stand-up defensive ends in new defensive coordinator DeMontie Cross’s revamped scheme.
“It’s their ability,” Shipp said. “The way they can run. Their size, strength. They have a lot of tools, know what I mean? So, yeah, they have the physical tools and the mental tools to do it.”