HomeSportsPowerMizzou - Tigers hoping consistency will lead to more defensive progress

PowerMizzou – Tigers hoping consistency will lead to more defensive progress

missouri head coach Eli Drinkwitz, defensive coordinator blake baker And the rest of the defensive coaching staff isn’t satisfied with a Top 35 defense from a season ago. It was a good year, but it’s not enough for this coaching staff.

There are certain words and phrases that seem to form the defense battle cry for 2023.

Takeaway. self Improvement. Development. Baker has challenged the players to be, “the best defense ever played in Mizzou history”.

To accomplish the latter, the Tigers’ defense will need to do the first three things, but coaches and players agree that another word in efforts to improve, grow, get takeaways and possibly be the best in school history. Will help: Continuity.

Drinkwitz said, “I think consistency on the defensive side of the ball is good as long as you don’t let it get comfortable.” “You have to push the boundaries and test new things and keep pushing and pushing for growth. So, I don’t think we’ve arrived or where we want to be on the defensive side of the ball.”

For the first time since Drinkwitz’s arrival in December 2019, the team will retain the entirety of its defensive coaching staff, led by Baker, who is also the team’s safeties coach.

Baker was hired as the safeties coach in January 2022 after spending one season as the linebackers coach at LSU in 2021. In February 2022, Baker was promoted to defensive coordinator. Steve Wilkes Departed to become the defensive pass game coordinator and secondary coach of the Carolina Panthers.

In Baker’s first season leading the Tigers’ defense, he helped turn around a Tigers defense that ranked 106th in the nation in total defense, allowing 434.6 yards per game and 113th in scoring defense at 33.8. Top 35 defense in points allowed per game in his first season.

The Tigers ranked 34th in the FBS in total defense, allowing 340.8 yards per game and 56th in scoring defense, allowing 25.15 points per game.

The turnaround occurred when the defense went with a more simplistic approach as Baker tried to assimilate Wilkes’ version of a 4-2-5 defense, while adding some of his own ideas from the version he had run. Baker has stated in the past that he believed it was easier for the team to learn the system they already had in place as opposed to learning their own version of the system.

Now, with everyone else under Baker for two years, he’s just trying to gauge the difference between pushing the envelope and going overboard.

“I have to tell myself we have to go back to basics,” Baker said. “We basically had to start back and not speed up the installation because last year we didn’t have much choice. … So, we were very simple, but I think it paid off.

“Once you understand the concepts and have good fundamentals, you are now able to do a lot, and that is what has got me to be careful in setting up too many and then making them my own. Not getting the fundamentals working. So, it’s a fine line from that perspective. My staff does a good job of saying, ‘Man this is too much,’ and we measure it.

The turnaround with the returning coaching staff is part of the reason the Tigers got eight starters to return on that side of the ball.

“Continuity Is Always Great,” Cornerback Coach Al Pogue, returning for his second season at Mizzou. “Everyone understands the plan and we all know how to push each other. It’s like a brotherhood within a brotherhood and I think it’s really huge.

“You have to give credit to not only coach Blake Baker that he allowed us to say this is our defense, not my defense. This is our defense. ‘Hey, Pogue, what are you bringing? (The linebackers and co -Defensive Coordinator (Coordinator) Dj Smith What are your thoughts? (defensive end) coach (kevin) people What are your thoughts?’

“Plus, for Coach Drinkowitz to make sure that happens, I’m sure guys had opportunities, but we wanted to be here. So, for him to have us here and make us available to do that.” Too big.”

Snap count for starters return vs starters loss

Jeffcoat started 10 games before Coleman took his place in the lineup.

Tigers lost by technicality with only three starts Dj Coleman, Isaiah McGuire And martez manual Declaring for the NFL Draft. when you add the defensive end Trojan Jeffcoat, who started the first 10 games before Coleman joined the lineup, is actually four starters. Jeffcoat’s last game he played in was against the same team he transferred to this off-season, Arkansas.

Even with the loss of those four players, Missouri would retain 75% of last season’s snaps headlined by defensive tackles Darius Robinson and linebacker tyrone hopperIt appears the two were destined to announce for the draft together COLEMAN, McGuire And manuel,

Robinson recorded 35 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks in 2022 and in the process said he received a draft grade “between the third and fifth rounds” and was out of Colombia with his sights on Indianapolis, IN were going of the 2023 NFL Combine.

Robinson said, “After the bowl game, I was invited to the NFL Combine and the Shrine Bowl and I told (head) coach (Eli) Drinkowitz that I don’t think I’m coming back.” more about everything. I felt like I didn’t reach my potential on tape and feel like I can get better. … “I’m glad everyone is back with me because we’ve got some very talented guys in this team so I say there has to be pressure. We have eight returning starters. We have to play the ball like we have never played before.”

Hopper arrived from Florida last off-season and had the best season of his career with 77 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, four pass deflections and a forced fumble.

Hooper was the last starter committed to the program for 2023, but again, consistency on defense helped earn him the decision.

“Everything went into it (making the decision to return),” Hooper said. “Basically, going over this with my family and the things I did really well on the film and the things I did badly and horribly. So, we have the same staff. ” , the defensive coordinator and the playbook and I trust the staff. I think they helped me get to where I was last year and I think they can help me take that extra step.

“I feel like it (consistency on defense) helps me a lot. It helps all of us. We already know the scheme, so now we’re able to identify things separately from the offense and focus on trends.” So we can call quicker and better plays.”

The team has a job to do if it wants to meet its lofty goal of being the best in school history.

Considering the modern era of football is pass-heavy and athletes and playcalling are more dynamic than in the past, the 2023 team may struggle statistically trying to catch up to the 1962 team that averaged only 5.2 points per game or 1967 units were allowed. 175.2 total yards allowed per game. Even bettering the 2004 squad that allowed 301.4 total yards per game (the lowest since 2000) or the 2010 defense that allowed 16.1 points per game will be a tall task.

Still, this is the group with their eyes set on it, and while consistency is one piece of the puzzle, the Tigers must now shift their minds to three other things they want to accomplish to become the best defense ever. . Takeaways, self improvement and development.

“Yeah, that’s our main goal right now and that’s what we want to do and we’re just working at it step by step every day,” the Mizzou linebacker chad bailey Said. “Just taking it day by day.”

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