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“Competition” is the watchword for the Missouri defense in 2017

Missouri doesn’t have a ton of known quantities on defense, but the Tigers have competition and options.

Delaware State v Missouri
Christian Holmes and Barry Odom
Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Rock M Nation’s Tramel Raggs was at practice on Monday and got some pretty interesting quotes and clips from Missouri defenders and defensive assistants. Watch the videos and see how many times you hear the word “competition.”

Secondary coach and defensive co-coordinator Ryan Walters

Because there’s so much competition, because there’s no solidified spot, those guys gotta be on, and they gotta be on all the time. Otherwise you create room for somebody to bypass you. So that’s definitely been good for us. You see a lot less mental errors, see a lot more studying, and you see a whole lot of hustle plays because of competition.

We’re pretty multiple, so you’ve gotta be well-versed in a lot of different techniques and understand where your help is in a lot of different schemes. So you’ve really gotta be a student of the game, gotta understand concepts, gotta learn concepts that you’ve gotta memorize in your position. I think bringing all the secondary together has helped that in terms of cutting down on the mental mistakes and not getting beat on an out route when you’re supposed to be outside leverage.

Freshman cornerback Adam Sparks

It’s completely different, but I’m loving it. I mean, being around a team allows me to not be as shocked ... they keep me upbeat so I can be upbeat during practice and be able to take the physicality.

It’s never ‘every man for himself, especially with this team. If you do something bad, they’re never going to let you hold your head down. It’s always ‘next play, next play, next play.’ You can’t think about what you just did.

Sophomore cornerback Christian Holmes

(This was shared in today’s Links post.)

Me and DeMarkus [Acy] ... that’s my guy. ... That’s my brother.

Defensive line coach Brick Haley

“Competition” isn’t just a theme in the secondary. Defensive Haley says it’s prevalent throughout the defense.

It plays well into what we’re doing. We didn’t have a lot of the guys in the spring that are here now, so competition’s there. We’re changing the depth chart every day, so a guy has a good practice, he bumps up, guy has a bad practice, he bumps down. So basically the competition part of it has been really good for us.

Like Walters, Haley is dealing with instructing more than one position, but unlike the secondary, Haley’s line will feature a lot of what he calls cross-training — getting particular players ready to play both on the inside and outside of the line. The word “multiple” applies to every level of the defense; one should expect a lot of looks and formations from Mizzou this fall.

Finally, here’s the head man.

Missouri’s next open-media practice will be on Wednesday.