A few words with... Jason Simpson

After sitting out the Kansas State game last season because he was suspended, junior S Jason Simpson will get a chance to make up for lost time Saturday. Simpson has surfaced as one of the Tigers' most consistent defenders, having made the transition from whip to safety without a problem.

Junior S Jason Simpson in a nutshell? On Monday, he sported the remnants of a Halloween costume, faded pen marks of a drawn-on bowtie around his neck. If you're curious, Simpson went as a character on the MTV show Jackass.

He may be a bit of a free spirit off the field, but between the lines, it's all business. Simpson has become the Tigers' top performer in the secondary, having recorded a team-high 74 tackles on the season. He also leads the Tigers with 12 tackles for loss, an impressive amount for a safety.

Simpson is most effective when he sneaks toward the line of scrimmage, as his size and speed allows him to track down opposing runners. Simpson has been a big part of the rise of the Missouri defense, which leads the league in yards allowed. However, he told InsideMizzou on Monday that he thinks the defense needs to do even more to push the Tigers back into the winner's circle...

On the difficulty of the defense playing well but not winning: "It's frustrating because our defense could have won the OSU game. We were up, going into the half. All we had to do was shut them out in the second half. We didn't do it, so we let the team down. That's frustrating because we worked very hard."

On the Nebraska game: "We didn't get any takeaways and we didn't get any big plays for our offense. We just have to place some more of a burden on our shoulders. Instead of looking for the offense to make points, we need to go out there and make points, too."

On how the defense can manage to score points: "It's just execution. If you go out there, you pop it out or hit somebody hard and knock it loose or get a pick. Every time you get a ball on the ground, you gotta pick it up and try to scoop and score. We need to score, or at least set up great field position for our offense. We didn't do that."

On why the offense needs to score: "I just think we might need to sometimes. We might need to win a game 3-0 or 7-0. You gotta shut people out and score on defense, whatever it takes to win."

On what the Tigers will focus on to slow Kansas State: "Definitely controlling Darren Sproles, getting a guy on him every time. Force them into passing situation and forcing mistakes by their QBs."

On if a loss to Kansas State would be effectively end the season: "I don't think it's it, but it's definitely a defining factor in our season. It's never over ‘til it's over, but we just gotta work hard this week."

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