"After grading our film against Memphis, the most impressive thing to me was that so many people contributed to so many plays," said Rebel Defensive Coordinator John Thompson of the 23-21 victory over Memphis last Saturday. "We had four interceptions and all of them were caused by pressure on the quarterback.
"On Dustin Mouzon's 99-yard interception return, the key to that play was Jamarca Sanford's block of a Memphis wideout who would have probably gotten Dustin down. There were a lot of things like that all day. We hit the quarterback a lot of times and it paid dividends in the long run."
Thompson was also very pleased with the effort by the Rebel defenders.
"We played hard and had very few loafs for having to stay out there for 96 plays," he stated. "Effort and pressure were the two of the good things in the game.
"Our Red Zone defense was good, overall, but in the second half we didn't find ways to get ourselves off the field and we gave up three TDs in the Red Zone."
Now, J.T. and company have to contend with Missouri's spread offense directed by veteran QB Chase Daniels.
"Missouri has a great scheme. Daniels gets the snap deeper than the Memphis QB, they get it to him quickly and he makes excellent, quick decisions," Thompson explained. "It will be very difficult to get pressure on him - very few people have. He's a great QB, a guy who you enjoy watching as a football fan. He's a competitor and he's stronger than he was last year.
"He throws sometimes nine yards deep and you don't get a chance to hit him before the ball is out of there. That's a challenge to our pass rush and our coverage. They spread you out and if you get in the gaps, they run it like old-school triple option football. Daniels makes great decisions on when to keep it and when to pitch it."
The most glaring difference in the Missouri spread offense and the Memphis spread is the use of Daniels in the run game.
"He's always a factor in their option game. If you get out of your gap, they will hurt you. They have all three phases of the option - the give, the QB keep, the pitch - plus they get the receivers involved in the pitch sometimes. You better be where you are supposed to be and play assignment sound," said J.T. "You can't make a mistake. If you have the pitch, you better get the pitch. If you have the QB, you better get him. You can't be free-wheeling and you have to be very careful with your blitzes. We didn't blow a lot of assignments against Memphis, but we had some alignment problems and that's on me. I will get that fixed. I take that one and I will get it corrected. We have to correct it because Missouri is opportunistic to breakdowns, either alignment or assignment."
Missouri is also known for their big tight ends who are a major part of their passing game and run game.
"They are very big - both are in the 6-6, 6-7 range, and they are active in the run game and in the passing game. They have a lot of experience and are tough matchups for us, for anyone really," Thompson ended.
Defensive update -
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