MU's Receivers and QBs speak out

More interviews from your Missouri Tigers. This time we talk to some wide receivers, both old and new. We also spent some time with Farmer, Smith, Riccio and Hibbets to discuss the quarterback position at Missouri.

The RECEIVERS

 

JUSTIN GAGE

 

DISSECT THE MU RECEIVING CORPS 

"Crosby and Coffey… They are really ready to play.  They had to sit out a year, so they're ready to get on the field and make some plays.  I think as a receiving corps we will be real strong this year."

 

DO YOU EXPECT YOUR SUCCESS ON BASKETBALL FLOOR CARRY OVER?

"A little bit it does; going into the post-season, making it to the Elite 8.  Hopefully it will rub off onto the (football field).  Just seeing the basketball team makes it that far, and everything that came with it.  I know a lot of guys on the football field are hungry for a post-season game." 

 

DO YOU REMEMBER PLAYING AGAINST DEKE AS A FRESHMAN?

"Yea I do remember Dedrick, and playing against him.  He was a great competitor his freshman year in high school, so I know he'll be great for us on the football team." 

 

MIZZOU'S RECEIVING CORPS HAS GOTTEN A LOT TALLER, ESPECIALLY WITH THE ADDITION OF DARIUS OUTLAW, DO YOU SEE THAT AS AN EVERYDAY BENEFIT IN THE BIG 12?

"Yea I think it will be, having taller receivers, bigger receivers, it makes it harder for cornerbacks to guard you, and it gives you that much more of an edge, and with the height of our receiver corps I think it will play to our benefit."

 

WHO IN THE BIG 12 WOULD BE THIS YEAR'S QUENTIN JAMMER (ie SHUT-DOWN CORNER)?

"DeJaun Groce at Nebraska, and Newman at Kansas State, Illinois has two good ones as well. Oklahoma also has some great cornerbacks.  You know, most of the teams that play in the Big 12, and most the teams we will play this year, will have shut-down cornerbacks.  It's just a mentality of getting (used to) playing against them."

 

YOU GUYS HAVE NINE BOWL TEAMS AND THREE BCS TEAMS ON YOUR SCHEDULE. WILL THIS BE THE HARDEST YEAR EVER FOR MIZZOU TO GET TO THE POST-SEASON?

"I think it will be the hardest year, looking at the teams we play and the schedule we have, but you know to be the best you gotta play the best.  We have one of the best schedules in the nation.  That's something we need, to teach us what level we have to play at to be a bowl-bound team."

 

HOW WAS YOUR OFF SEASON?

"Stayed busy.  I worked out, conditioned, weight trained, ran and played catch.  Doing everything that involves the offense in the season to keep you in shape.  It went by pretty fast.  It was enjoyable.  I think this is the best shape I've been in my life, in college, everything. Hopefully, it will payoff on the field."

 

DO YOU STILL KEEP IN CONTACT WITH THE JEFF CITY FOOTBALL DEPARTMENT?

"I still talk to some of the guys in the football office.  Coach Grosso, Coach Johnson, just stay in touch with them, see how they're doing from time-to-time."

 

COACH GROSSO IN CHARGE MAKE A DIFFERNCE FOR THE JAYS?

"Yea I think it will make a difference.  Can't really tell until the season starts though.  I wish the best for them, and hope he does a good job."

 

 

DARIUS OUTLAW

 

YOU'VE GOT A SMILE ON YOUR FACE

"Yes, I do."

 

IN PAST YEARS AT MMA, THAT'S SOMETHING THAT I RARELY SAW, OBVIOUSLY THE CHANGE AGREES WITH YOU?

"It was a good change.  It's a good (feeling) to help the team out.  Having as many athletes on the field as possible is going to help our team generate more points.  Just being out here on the field is fun for me, and exciting.  Getting help from the other guys it should be an easy move."

 

OBVIOUSLY YOU ALREADY KNOW THE PLAYBOOK WHAT'S IT LOOK LIKE FROM A RECIEVER'S PERSPECTIVE?

"It's a little different.  Basically, knowing timing.  I (feel) I have an advantage on that because of playing quarterback last year.  First thing I have to really know is how-to run the routes, and things to do to get the db's of me.  Man, it's going to be fun."

 

CAN YOU DO THAT IN TIME FOR ILLINOIS?

"I hope so.  I plan on it.  I plan on it.  That's the whole goal.  I sat out all spring.  I missed out on spring ball.  Now I'm ready to go out here and get eligible, and go out here for this Illinois game in the Dome.  I plan on being out there playing."

 

THIS EASILY COULD BE THE TALLEST RECEIVING CORPS IN MISSOURI HISTORY.  THAT HAS TO BE A GOOD FEELING

"Oh yea, I mean even for the quarterback.  It makes a lot of things a lot easier for them.  Just being out there with all these athletes that we have on this team, we're going to be an exciting team to watch."

 

WHAT MAKES THE GAME FUN FOR YOU?

"Just being out there playing.  If I get the opportunity I know that I'll work hard and produce.  Get a chance to get out there, and hopefully start in a game at receiver.  Knowing that I've started a game at quarterback...that would just be a thrill enough for me."

 

HAVE YOU EVER PLAYED WIDE RECIEVER BEFORE?

"I have...in Rec Ball. (laugh).  I played a little bit in high school my freshman year.  Hadn't really played besides that until this summer in 7-on-7.  The guys said I've been adjusting pretty well.  All I can do is go learn the plays and keep getting better."

 

HOW HARD IS IT GOING FROM BEING THE ONE MAKING ALL THE DECISIONS TO RELYING ON SOMEONE ELSE TO MAKE THE DECISION?

"I can see what the receivers were talking about 'why didn't you throw me the ball'.  It could be an easy adjustment.  Going back in the huddle and telling the guys what I saw, and what I saw that will (help them make their reads).  (Having the perspective of a qb) is an advantage, too.  Just knowing Kirk, and knowing Brad, and being in meetings with them, and knowing what they like to do, when they like to throw I pretty much know.  All I gotta do is put it all together."

 

 

BEN FREDRICKSON

 

HOW DO YOU FEEL THE TE SITUATION STACKS UP WITH DWAYNE BLAKELY IN THE NFL?

"The TE situation is going to be great.  We are all competing.  (This Offense) has the tight end go "R", or "Y".  We've got 5 great tight ends. Dwayne Blakely...what a true gentleman.  There is no one better that fits the mold of an NFL tight end.  He is a great, great guy, and a great athlete, too.

 

WHAT DOES THE MU's OFFENSE ASK OF ITS TIGHT END?

"Basically, you have to do everything, catch the ball, run with the ball, block.  They are looking for everything.  So, you have to catch, and you have to run."

 

WHAT IS YOUR STRONGEST ATTRIBUTE AS A TE?

"I think I do pretty well blocking, and pass blocking.  I (Jokingly) don't know if the coaches would agree?"

 

CAN YOU PICK OUT AN EARLY LEADER AT THAT POSITION?

"Oh, I have no idea, we are just that close.  A lot of people are that close."

 

HAVE YOU SEEN THE NEWCOMER, DeQUINCY HOWARD YET?

"He is just an athlete.  He is a pure athlete.  He can run.  That's what they're looking for.

He can catch and run, and block."

 

HOW DID YOU GET HERE FROM CALIFORNIA?

"Coach Christenson recruited me out of California, (Community College), and I've been here for a year.  This is my last year.  I'm going to miss it.  I love the town.  I love all the people.  I love the coaching staff, too.  I love the coaching staff."

 

WHAT IS THE BIG DIFFERENCE FROM JUCO?

"The JUCOs had a lot of athletes but the discipline wasn't there.  The level of discipline from JC to here was night and day different."

 

HOW ABOUT THE TRANSITION FROM HIGH SCHOOL TO JC?

"That was probably the biggest transition for me.  Speed-wise, I saw how much speed they had at JC that you didn't get in high school.  I thought (high school) was fast, but when I went to JC it was just so much faster, and then I came here and it was a little bit faster, but kind of the same tempo."

 

ARE PRACTICES HARDER?

"Oh, extremely harder here.  I love the practices.  I didn't really have a position coach at the JC level, and then I come here and get my own coach.  It's great.  Big difference."

 

HOW DO YOU GET ALONG WITH COACH WALKER?

"I love Coach Walker.  I couldn't ask for a better coach.  He's great.  He's taught me a lot about the game; a lot of techniques.  Coming from JC ball to big-time Big 12 ball, it's all technique."

 

 

The QUARTERBACKS

 

KIRK FARMER

 

HOW HAS THIS SUMMER BEEN DIFFERENT FROM LAST?

"A lot less golf, A lot more film, a lot more throwing, just a lot more determination really, because I know this one is my last, and I think every single play that runs though my mind.  Hopefully I've acted on it, and I'll be a better quarterback for it. I love playing quarterback.. It's what I've always played.  I couldn't think of playing anything else.  It's the position with all the action.  You get all the glory, and you get all the infamy.  I couldn't imagine being a lineman, where you just go in there.  I have to respect those guys so much."

 

WAS THEIR PRESSURE ON YOU AS A KID FROM YOUR DAD TO PLAY QUARTERBACK?

"It's just something I've always done.  I started playing tackle football, I guess, in 4th grade, little league stuff in Dallas, Texas, and I've just been playing quarterback all my life."

 

HOW IS COACH PINKEL?

"Coach Pinkel is a great coach.  He's got his ducks in a row.  We're ready to go."

 

HOW MUCH DO YOU FOLLOW THE JAYS?

"I love the Jays.  It's where I went to high school.  It's where all the tradition is in my opinion.  I really think they've got a good coach in Coach Grosso.  I really respect him a lot.  I've had a lot of years under him.  I respect his opinions and his coaching."

 

WHAT DO YOU EXPECT TO CHANGE ABOUT A TONY GROSSO LED JAYS TEAM?

"I've always thought Coach Cole was a great X's and O's coach.  Tony is a little more passionate who can really get you fired up.  It's just two different styles and hopefully it will work (for Jeff City)."

 

 

BRAD SMITH

 

NUMBER ONE QB.  YOU'VE GOT TO PROUD OF THAT?

"I thank God for blessing me to come this far.  I'm very excited about the opportunity."

 

MOST OF THE PLAYERS ON THIS MIZZOU TEAM WERE LEADERS ON THEIR HIGH SCHOOL UNITS, WHAT'S IT LIKE TO COMPETE TO GET PLAYING TIME?

"It's different.  You have to take it in stride.  Look at each opportunity to get better, and not look at each situation as competing against a person, but competing against yourself to help our team."

 

WHAT DID YOU FEEL YOU ACCOMPLISHED DURING SPRING DRILLS?

"The coaches would have to tell you that.  I guess just execute the plays they way they wanted it to be run."

 

WHAT IS THE MOST EXCITING THING YOU'LL BRING TO (FAUROT) FIELD?

"Hopefully everything.  Hopefully the winning, the running, the throwing, getting lots of production from Darius over here, and Gage and all those guys.  The most important thing is making plays.  When you do that that sidelines get excited. I'm really looking forward to it. We want to make big plays and doing a lot of good things."

 

A LOT OF QUESTIONS ABOUT THE OFFENSIVE LINE, HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT YOUR LINEMATES?

"I don't think about it.  I'm very comfortable with the coaches, and these guys have worked hard all summer, and they are working hard right now to get to the level we need to get to be able to compete.  I have a lot of confidence in them."

 

HOW HUNGRY IS BRAD SMITH?

"Very hungry!  I think about it every day.  Every hour, every minute.  I think about it all the time.  About different situations, about different plays, about making plays.

 

DO YOU THINK MUCH ABOUT OPENING DAY AND ILLINOIS?

"Yes, but I'm thinking about double sessions right now; doing whatever it takes to help our team."

 

 

SONNY RICCIO

 

A LOT OF PEOPLE HAVE WRITTEN YOU OUT OF THE QUARTERBACK RACE, BUT AS COACH PINKEL REMINDED US EARLIER, YOU'RE VERY MUCH IN THIS RACE.  DO YOU FEEL (LIKE YOUR IN THE RACE)?

"Oh, absolutely, I'm right there with those guys.  Maybe I don't get as much ink as them, but that's fine with me.  Kind of the way I like it anyway being the underdog.  I'm used to being the underdog, and I feel very much in the race.  I feel if I have a good summer camp (practice), that I'll be right there with them."

 

WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST ASSET AS A QB?   IS IT YOU ARM?

"That comes along with it.  We all have strong arms.  I feel more comfortable throwing on the run, but I can't say I throw better than them.  I feel comfortable on the run, and we've put a little more of that into our offense."

 

I NOTICED THAT AT MMA LAST YEAR, IS THAT SOMEHTING THAT COMES FROM YOUR HIGH SCHOOL DAYS?

"Yeah, uh-huh.  We had a lot of roll out and bootlegs, plus I got flushed out of the pocket a lot trying to make plays.   That's basically what I am trying to do here, make plays, be consistent with my throwing, making the right reads, and I feel if I can do that I feel I'll get some playing time this year, and maybe start.  I'm just going to take every thing in stride, and do what I can do."

 

WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE TARGET?

"I think Marcus James is a tough receiver, but Justin Gage...whew!  We have a good receiving corps this year." 

 

 

JOSH HIBBETTS

 

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN COLUMBIA?

"Pretty much the whole summer.  I (moved up) the first week."

 

HOW DO YOU SEE YOURSELF DOING IN THE QB RACE?

"I don't want to compare with the other quarterbacks, I just need to keep working hard, and contribute to the team in any way I can."

 

WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST WEAKNESS, OR THE THING YOU NEED TO WORK ON THE MOST?

"I just need to let myself develop."

 

YOU LOOK VERY COMFORTABLE IN THE POCKET.  HOW MUCH HAVE YOU PLAYED THE POSITION IN THE PAST?

"I played a little my sophomore year, and then my senior year.  I've been playing football since kindergarten.  I also played QB in junior high."

 

BESIDES WR, AND QB WHAT ELSE DID YOU PLAY IN HIGH SCHOOL?

"I played a little free safety in high school also."

 

WHERE ON THE FIELD DO YOU FEEL THE MOST COMFORTABLE?

"Receiver and quarterback seem to fit me well."

 

IS THERE A PARTICULAR COACH YOU GET ALONG WITH BETTER THAN THE OTHERS?

"I can relate to all the coaches.  They are all pretty easy to get along with."


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