So for those of you filled with consternation about the 2008 Mizzou defense, this PowerMizzou article about incoming LB Joshua Tatum is probably music to your ears.
"With next year's group of guys, I definitely think we have the firepower to do so," Tatum said. "I am going to bring a lot of intensity to the game. I am just an old school, smash-mouth linebacker.
"I think that with Sean Weatherspoon, Brian Coulter and getting guys like Sheldon Richardson, we have a good chance to build the defense up and just continue on with greatness. It starts with recruiting and getting the biggest and most talented guys. The way Missouri's defense plays next year will only make it better and make guys want to come to the school and be a part of greatness."
"I think next year we will be giving it to guys. Not taking anything away from last year's team, but we are going to work very hard in the off-season, and it's always about getting guys that play at a high level and practice at a high level. Competition is everything. I will be competing with Sean Weatherspoon. I will be pushing him, and he will be pushing me. I can't wait to get down there, so we can immediately get it going. And it starts with defense."
Here's to hoping he can back up the talk...
As if my own previews weren't enough, ahem, Dave Matter talks his second look at what the Big 12 North will have in store for 2009.
Oh yeah, and Gary Pinkel: Toledo Varsity T Hall of Famer.
Finally, The Trib's Steve Walentik takes a breath and reflects on what the first 15 games have told us about Mizzou basketball.
Leo Lyons has also been a big part of the Tigers' fast start, and he still remains one of only six players to rank in the top 15 in the Big 12 in both scoring and rebounding. He's averaging 14.7 points and 6.3 rebounds through 15 games. But Lyons has struggled lately, averaged fewer than 10 points in his past four contests and has only topped 12 once in the past six. He reached a new low Tuesday night with four points and two rebounds in 14 foul-plagued minutes. The Tigers will need Lyons to return to his early season form if they're going to reach their full potential in league play. The question is, how?