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Offensive Presser Notes: K-State on the Horizon

Connor Wood, Javon Foster, Nathaniel Peat and Cody Schrader discussed the upcoming matchup against Kansas State.

NCAA Football: Louisiana Tech at Missouri Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Mizzou’s offense fired on all cylinders after a slow first quarter against Louisiana Tech in its season-opening 52-24 victory.

The Tigers will face a bigger test Saturday as they travel to Manhattan, Kansas, to challenge the Kansas State Wildcats. K-State shut out its week one opponent, South Dakota, 34-0, so the defense looks poised to continue its success.

Mizzou, meanwhile, hopes to reproduce its scoring output from week one while also establishing more rhythm throughout the offensive side of the ball.

Key members of Mizzou’s offense spoke to the media Wednesday evening about what it’ll take to be successful and grab the victory. Here are a few key quotes, notes and takeaways from the group:

Connor Wood | Offensive Line

  • “I thought we did pretty well. Obviously there’s stuff to prove, but that’s football ... We won the battle of the line.” On the o-line’s performance in the week one victory
  • “We go into every game with preparation, kind of with the same mindset of trying to win the line of scrimmage [and] be positive.”
  • “He’s a great player, obviously, but we’ve seen guys just as good ... You just got to be prepared and we really have to study on what their tendencies are.” On going against defensive end Felix Anudike-Uzomah
  • “I think communication on the o-line, for sure, especially against this [3-3-5] defense.” On what needs to improve this week
  • “I think great teams, they improve from week one to week two, and it shows in practice. I think we’ve done that so far.”
  • “I trust all my marbles with [Connor Tollison and Brady Cook].”
  • “I’m going to say the communication doesn't get harder. I feel like we have to lead more effectively because it’s going to be loud in there. We got to make sure we know both verbal and nonverbal communication skills will be needed in that game.” On how to combat the crowd noise

Javon Foster | Offensive Line

  • “We really focused on 1-0 ... Make sure we do everything right.”
  • Foster said playing a fellow All-Conference player is a motivator for him, but he remains dialed into each matchup he has, and anyone can get the best version of him any day.
  • “He has good, long arms. He’s really a powerful dude, too ... Watching him, he’s got a lot of moves in his bag.” On what K-State defensive end Felix Anudike-Uzomah brings to the field
  • Foster noted how the o-line had a few penalties last week, including one on himself, but that is something they’ve worked on in practice to combat the expected crowd noise.
  • “He was very confident and vocal. He didn’t look rattled or nervous at all.” On how Connor Tollison looked in week one
  • “Even though we rushed for over 300 yards, that still wasn’t our best game as an offensive line. We still a lot of mistakes and stuff we can clean up, so that’s basically how we took it. Just look at all the mistakes that we had and clean up from those moving forward.”

Cody Schrader | Running Back

  • “I think taking in the moment. That’s something that Barrett Banister told me. I asked him for some advice ... coming into that kind of big atmosphere.” On what he’s learned from his first Division I game.
  • “I think the coolest thing was a new tradition that we’re doing. I think you guys saw us doing a little song with the band ... I think that’s something that’s just cool.”
  • “That was an amazing moment that I’ll never forget. Huge shoutout to my o-line and tight end ... I didn’t even really get touched before I crossed the goal line.” On scoring his first Mizzou touchdown.
  • “At Truman, I watched film, but it wasn’t such a huge emphasis. I just kind of went out there and played, so that’s a huge side of the game that I’m starting to learn, [which] is how to watch film, how to break down different blitzes ... and read the linebackers.”
  • Schrader mentioned how he did not know he was going to be the starting running back until the coaching staff routinely told him before the game. He noted how it was a cool moment, but that everyone played extremely well in the running back room.
  • “It’s a completely different world. [It’s] something I’m very grateful for because I haven’t really had a position coach ... I’m learning how to actually play running back and how to catch the ball out of the backfield.”
  • Schrader said one piece of his game he is still working to master is reading the defense, specifically blitzes, because it’s such a valuable tool at his position.
  • “Nobody’s trying to keep information to themselves. I think that’s something that’s amazing about our [running back] room.”
  • “Just experience, especially with us going on the road ... He knows how to travel, especially at this level, so that’s something I’ve been asking him advice on.” On what Nathaniel Peat has advised him on
  • “16 hour bus rides. I remember that we went to Davenport, MI, and then we went to Wayne State, MI, back-to-back. I think those are both 16 hour bus rides with no AC, but it was fun, definitely team bonding.” On what traveling was like at Truman State
  • “I think every game is important and this is another step in our journey of being 1-0 ... we’re just thinking about executing on Saturdays.”

Looking for a big performance in the “Little Apple,” Mizzou will need to produce against K-State’s 3-3-5 defensive scheme that features Preseason All-American defensive end Felix Anudike-Uzomah. For the Tigers, that preparation begins with a mindset of one game at a time, and that’s how they’ll prepare to pull off the upset.