With just more than 48 hours to Citrus Bowl kickoff, let's check out the latest goings on in Orlando.
"From anecdotes about pre-game regurgitation to his affinity for the Discovery Channel to introducing the words ‘rat face’ to the trash-talk lexicon, Morse is what the AMT is all about," NMMMBWAA awards committee treasurer David Morrison said. "Mitch is always thoughtful, engaging and entertaining in his media interactions. Even if he didn’t always feel like talking to us, he always at least pretended like he did. That’s a win for us."
Morse keeps the award in the offensive line room, following inaugural winner Max Copeland from last season.
"We gave a lot of crap to Max when he got it last year," Morse said. "I feel like I’ve handled it much better than him. I’m a better person, honestly. I want to be quoted saying that."
"There was a huge adjustment period, so there were times I was extremely frustrated with myself," Simon said. "It seemed like I was catching on so slow and there were certain things that other guys were catching on really fast. It took me longer to adjust to it, but (safeties) coach (Alex) Grinch was very patient with me and (defensive coordinator Dave Steckel) was very patient with me.
They worked with me and we were able to find the right formula and make everything work." Simon grew comfortable by the end of 2013 at nickel, but he was asked to switch positions again last spring, moving to free safety after Matt White’s graduation.
The key to stopping Minnesota is gap integrity up front. Their big plays are all created off of opponents' mistakes. This offense will frustrate you and wear you down, but if your defense becomes undisciplined to try to make big plays, that's when this team will strike. Mizzou's defensive line will give the Minnesota offensive line a hard time, similarly to the way Ohio State's did. I'm just not sure this Minnesota offensive line is athletic and powerful enough to contend with the likes of Shane Ray, Lucas Vincent, Josh Augusta, Markus Golden, and, in my opinion, Mizzou's best upcoming NFL prospect, Harold Brantley, if they feature the I-formation as prominently as they have in the games I watched. I believe Minnesota will likely try to incorporate more of its Wing-T based concepts to try to test the discipline of the Mizzou front-7 after seeing what Auburn was able to accomplish with it against the Tigers a year ago, as well as the success Alabama had when they used it at points in the SEC Championship.
Outside, Brown mostly matched up with cornerbacks. Now, he sees linebackers, nickelbacks and safeties. "It’s almost like two different positions," Brown said. "Most people on the outside looking in look at it like we’re all receivers, but we’ve got to think on the outside, you’re running against corners and faster guys. On the inside, it’s stronger guys. So you’re trying to elude defenders and that sort of thing, and also just finding space. You’ve got to be conscious of the coverage, the guy outside of you and who’s running which routes."
Jones had offers from 28 FBS schools coming out of high school, but he wanted to play quarterback, and most of those schools wanted him to play receiver. He made a verbal commitment to Missouri – Minnesota’s opponent in the Citrus Bowl – but flipped to Minnesota on signing day.
Post-Dispatch: No Alabama hangover, Tigers say (well I would hope so ... that game was more than three weeks ago ... that would be one hell of a hangover):
"The thing is, you can dwell on it and let it haunt you at the bowl game and not show up and then lose two games when you really shouldn’t," senior receiver Bud Sasser said. "We didn’t play our best game (against Alabama), but why end on that note?"
Players insisted the grieving process ended with the first bowl practice earlier this month in Columbia. The team’s lengthy stay in Orlando began last Monday, starting with a few days at the Disney theme parks before a week of practices.
"Honestly, for some of us it started the Sunday after the SEC championship game with the taste it left in our mouth," junior center Evan Boehm said. "We didn’t like it. We didn’t like the way that game ended. I’ll give Alabama all the credit. They’re a great team. But we didn’t play to the best of our ability. And we know that."