Gary Pinkel called him a physical specimen, one capable of taking over a game.
Such compliments don't always flow so easily from the Missouri coach, but they come freely when he speaks of junior DT C.J. Mosley.
"He's playing very well," Pinkel said Monday. "He's a powerful athlete. He's very active. He's making a lot of plays. He's getting a lot of penetration at the line of scrimmage."
Senior DE Zach Ville is as well. A powerful attacker that balances the speed of sophomores Xzavie Jackson and Brian Smith at the other end position, Ville has become a force on the outside; like Mosley, he turned in two sacks against the Trojans and is a key part of a strong unit.
Read on for the players' thoughts about the performance of the defense thus far, along with why Mosley says he expects to record four sacks in every game.
On the mental aspect of the position:
Mosley: "It's real big. One thing that I learned this year is doing your job as an individual. If you don't do your job as an individual--the next man to you is relying on you to do your job--so it makes him look bad, too. If one of us don't do our job, the whole defense looks bad. I'm trying my best to play assignment football and not be greedy."
On how much senior Atiyyah Ellison has helped him:
Mosley: "He's bigger than me, man! I'm sure opposing teams, when they look across at us, he attracts the most attention. He told me that he gets triple-teamed. He can have those triple-teams."
On if his early strong play could draw more attention from opposing offensive lines:
Mosley: "I hope they don't pay no attention to it. Maybe I can keep doing what I'm doing now."
On how many sacks he hopes to record:
Mosley: "We try to throw them up. I don't really have a limit on those sacks. I'll take them how I can get them. They don't come often, man. I try to aim high, like one a quarter. I know that's not gonna happen, but you gotta have high expectations. You gotta think big. If you don't, it's not gonna happen."
On the defense's performance thus far:
Ville: "I think we look pretty good so far. I expect we're gonna do a little more."
Mosley: "You gotta think big in every game. We're looking for a shutout and we haven't got it yet. That's what we're looking for as a defense: shut the opposing offense out, no points. And go home happy."
On what they expect the rest of the season:
Ville: "A D-line that dominates. That's what I expect and what the fans should expect. This is our last time of going out there. So we gotta make a stand for ourselves. That's the only reason why we're out there, doing what we do."
Mosley: "That's the mentality, as a group. That's what we expect to do--dominate. We're not going out there to get our butts kicked. For the defense to be a good defense, it starts with us."
On camaraderie among the line:
Ville: "We all play like little brothers. We're basically brothers…so that's what we do, just play like a family. I feel like we'll get stronger as the season goes along."
On expectations heading into the match-up with Ball State:
Ville: "I don't know what to expect yet. I have no idea. We're still gonna do our thing."
Mosley: "I would expect much of the same thing (as) from Troy: trick plays, something to throw us off so they can get up early and take some momentum. That's what I would expect."