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2015 Missouri spring game reports: Vanilla defense shows all sorts of promise

The Mizzou defense kept things awfully vanilla during Saturday's Black & Gold game, but it still looked awfully good.

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports - Black-and-Gold notebook

"You never know who's here," Missouri linebacker Michael Scherer said. "I don't know if there's a conspira -- yes, there is. Huge. You don't want to show too much and you also want to keep everybody safe."

That attitude gets amplified a little more when the spring game is being televised by the SEC Network, and can be watched and re-watched online at

Such as the situation for Missouri on Saturday, when it wasn't just the announced 30,117 bodies in the stands having access to a first-glimpse preview of the Tigers' 2015 squad. "Anybody that wants to saw this game today or will see this game," defensive coordinator Barry Odom said. "I don't get to see SEMO's spring game or Connecticut's or Arkansas State's.

Mizzou notes: Defense keeps it simple : Dave Matter

Missouri’s first-team defense checked off both goals.

Odom’s starters, matched against the No. 2 offense in the first half, forced punts on all of their possessions. Odom called a few blitzes but mostly let his defensive linemen rush the passer, resulting in four sacks, one each from starting defensive ends Charles Harris and Marcus Loud.

Asked about Missouri’s vanilla defensive strategy, linebacker Michael Scherer offered a different flavor. "Like, boring?" he asked. "You come out here to play football no matter what plays you’re running. Yeah, we didn’t do a lot of crazy stuff, but it’s one of those things where this game’s on TV. You don’t want to give up all the things you have."

MUTIGERS.COM Mizzou Spring Game Quotes

DE Charles Harris

On the defensive scheme today...

"We definitely have a lot of new and great plans out there. We want to try and keep some stuff on lockdown (until the regular season). It doesn't matter what defense we're running, we're going out there to dominate."

On playing against an offense in practice, as compared to live game action... "Today, they (Mizzou's offense) definitely changed. The offensive line protected the quarterback better. Maty (Mauk) was able to make plays. I definitely see a shift from regular every day practice to game time situations like today."

On what he learned about the defense this spring...

"Enthusiasm is contagious. I learned that if you don't have guys on defense making plays and being excited about it, then we won't play well. We have to keep it going all the time on the sidelines and on the field. We need to bring that enthusiasm every single play and every single drive."

Mizzou Tigers pennant Barry Odom

Odom's past, present, future collide at MU - Columbia Daily Tribune | David Morrison

If you hear enough stories about Barry Odom, they begin to sound like tall tales.

Like the time he and a couple of his friends interrupted their fishing trip to drag a man out of a fire. Odom wasn’t yet a teenager.

Or the times Odom and his brothers would find dead trees on their property and run into them, trying to knock them down like Steve Atwater, Ronnie Lott or Brian Bosworth — the patron saint of football for boys growing up in Oklahoma in the 1980s — leveled ballcarriers

Mizzou Tigers pennant Pink speaks

Gary Pinkel

Mizzou Tigers pennant $$$$$

Citrus Bowl trip cost MU $2.18 million - Columbia Daily Tribune | David Morrison

Missouri spent a total of $2.18 million on its trip to the Citrus Bowl at the end of last season, according to an expense report obtained by the Tribune through an open-records request.