The popping of the pads and helmets was a nice sound to hear inside Dan Devine Pavilion on Saturday, especially if you like defense.
Dave Steckel's squad had another good day of practice, finishing it off by winning the 11 on 11 competition.
Coach Steckel had one word about today's practice. "Good."
The third day of spring practice started with communication drills, as the defense tries to know their assignments better than last season.
Expect the defense to make smarter reads and decisions under Steckel this season.
As defensive end Brian Coulter told InsideMizzou on Thursday, Steckel is much more detail oriented than former defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus, so expect that to reflect on the field.
The defense also took their smarts to 11 on 11 against the high-powered Tigers offense, and they won, 5 to 4. This victory does not come without a few spoils.
The offense had to do some up-downs and the defense gets to wear the black jerseys," Coach Pinkel explained.
The day was not all good in competition for the defense, though. The defensive line lost to the offensive line in one-on-one drills in which the goal for the defensive lineman is to grab a towel that the offensive lineman is trying to keep them away from.
Some players looked good, but others did not show enough strength to get past an improved group in the offensive line.
As the team moves on to practice on next Tuesday, the defense needs to continue on the path that they are going. If they keep up the energy and fire that they have shown throughout the first week of practice, then this could be a much improved unit under the direction of Dave Steckel.
Defensive notes from practice
•Defensive end Marcus Malbrough, a redshirt freshman from Texas, really stood out in drills today. He demonstrated great strength in getting past the offensive lineman in the towel drill. Then, in 11 on 11, he dropped into coverage and laid a huge hit on a receiver that scored tons of ooh's and aah's from everyone in attendance.
•Andy Maples, a senior defensive lineman, also looked impressive today. He forced a fumble in 7 on 7 drills and displayed strength in the one-on-one drills.
•Redshirt freshman George White, a defensive lineman, did not have his best day. He constantly got dominated in one-on-one drills and was visibly upset at himself.
•I really liked what I saw from Hardy Ricks today. He showed great closing speed in 11 on 11 drills and always seemed to be around the play. He and sophomore Kenji Jackson could be quite the safety tandem.
•Sheldon Richardson was on the field watching defensive line drills, and was chatting it up with multiple players. I think the reason he stayed committed to Mizzou was because of the friendships he has already made.