It’s Johnny Walker Time!
No, not the whisky. Gross. And it’s 5am. The football player.
Dave Matter’s newest post at STL Today talked about the D-Line, and how one name kept popping up at SEC Media Days: Johnny Walker. Why Johnny Walker, aside from his super cool name? Well, because my guy is the only full-time scholarship DE to return to the Tigers. The edge, per Matter’s piece, played just 113 defensive snaps, 56 coming vs. Wake in the Gasparilla Bowl when the Tigers’ top three DEs (Coleman, McGuire, Jeffcoat) all sat out. Hmph. So yeah... his experience as a longtime member of the Tigers squad and on the field will be counted upon next month. NEXT MONTH?!? Football season really is right around the corner!
There’s less proven talent on the edge. Walker, up from 245 pounds to 262, is running faster than ever, Drinkwitz said, and looks to carry over late-season production into a more prominent role.
“Defensive edge is probably the position we have the biggest question marks on our defense but feel like we’ve answered those questions,” Drinkwitz said at SEC Media Days. “Johnny Walker, who has been with our program going on four years (and) was in that initial recruiting class that I’ve had, has really bought into Coach (Ryan) Russell’s strength program and Liz Stuart’s nutrition program. Has done an excellent job at adding weight ... and is the fastest he’s been.”
So... here’s Johnny! If they don’t announce him like this when he takes the field this year, it’s truly a travesty. I’d like to envision he’ll be a menace to opposing defenses, just as Jack Nicholson’s character in The Shining wields his axe to wreak terror.
Jamaican me Jealous, Tigers
[If Sam read the Links, I’d be fired for writing that silliness]
Moving onto Mizzou Men’s Basketball, who is currently in Jamaica, taking in all the fun and sun while the rest of us Mid-Missourians quite literally melt with no ocean in sight. No, I’m not upset at all.
Here they are working out in the tropics.
And here they are practicing in a very white-walled gym. Its brightness kinda hurts my eyes, to be honest.
And just to include some more info, the Trib’s Chris Kwiecinski gave some thoughts on Saturday’s open practice, identifying some newcomers he (and the team in subsequent interviews) were impressed by. While pointing out there’s no way one person will fill the shoes of now-LA Laker D’Moi Hodge, there are two transfers — JUCO star Curt Lewis and IU transfer Tamar Bates — who may do it in combination. Per Chris K’s notes:
During drills and scrimmages, the two stood out. Lewis displayed his explosiveness the second he decided where to go with the ball; he also had consistent speed moving the ball across the court.
Bates had quickness with the ball. His ball-handling moves were effective with that quickness, and he displayed confidence in his game, too. Bates was strong in taking the ball on drives, although Gates did ask the crowd in attendance to encourage Bates to shoot the ball more. (also mentioned in Quentin’s lovely observations)
This Tiger team is also in desperate need of rim protection, and Chris projects Jordan Butler, though only a freshman, may be able to help with this in the short (or more likely) long-term. Connor Vanover, who is so skinny I think I could break him in half, will obviously also play a big (literally) role in this.
Butler, the 7-foot center from Greenville, South Carolina, was active in drills as a rim protector. He had back-to-back blocks on Noah Carter during a drill and also had a block on fellow freshman Trent Pierce.
And while he may not make an impression on the floor that much his rookie season, Nick Honor had some great things to say about freshman Ant Robinson, who’s already showing leadership potential and figures to be the next in line when Nick “Your Honor” and Sean East II finally end their Mizzou careers.
“Anthony’s from Florida, so he’s going to be a good guy,” Honor said (an Orlando native). “He just has all intangibles, he’s a hard worker. He’s an outgoing person. People want to be around him. I feel like that’s just everything you want in a leader.” He added, “He’s one of the most underrated freshmen in the country. We’re just watching development, and when he does his thing I won’t be too surprised.”
Can’t wait til Hoops season. Gotta renew my season tickets, which are on sale now.
On to the Links!
I actually found things to write about for Wednesday! [gives self-congratulatory high-five]
Yesterday at Rock M
- Nate’s looking at Barry’s Boys: The Remaining Defensive Players from the Odom Era in 2023
- Sammy’s looking at realistic expectations for Mizzou Baseball in year one under Kerrick Jackson
- PowerMizzou: Top 5 freshmen expected to make an impact in 2023 | Top 5 sophomores expected to make an impact in 2023 (Jarod Hamilton)
- Well well well well… we are feeling really good, Mr President.
- Hard agree, Dan.
Danario Alexander had 113 catches for 1,781 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2009 and WAS’T EVEN A BILETNIKOFF FINALIST https://t.co/5oh4MrbKTZ— Dan Keegan (@keegsdotcom) July 26, 2023
- Ooooooh. We love to see it.
- PowerMizzou is chatting with each member of the Mizzou Hoops roster. Here’s who Drew King has covered thus far: Tamar Bates | John Tonje
- Well, this is just disturbing. I’m not even embedding it. Bad Sickos Committee. B-A-D.
- But THIS fills me with joy. Love it so much.
Thank you to my country supporters, the BVI I may be the first, but I am definitely not the last! The youth is the future and I look forward to showing them the way! pic.twitter.com/DCKrBbmgiC— D'Moi Hodge (@Dmoi_VI) July 25, 2023
- Sophomore Averi Kroenke introduces us to the newest (and last) Linthacum, Hannah.
- News from the Matts, who are talking about scheduling stuff on the twitter (I’m not calling it X). I suggest clicking the link and following along with the whole thing. Pretty interesting chatter...
Last season, Mizzou didn't partake in a traditional MTE, which essentially added three home dates to the docket. We saw how the program used them. It's harder than ever to line up high-profile series, but the recent run of games against Wichita State was a nice balance.— Matt Harris (@MattJHarris85) July 25, 2023
Other Mizzou Sports
- Per Trrip, congrats to new Tiger Josh Mosh and (former) Tiger, Dalton Bargo.
- Welcome, Nicole Louw, to Mizzou Track & Field! Per the interwebs, Louw hails from Sasolburg, South Africa, and joins the Tigers from Nike USA (Oregon). She’s a distance runner, competing in the mile, 1500m and 800m. She’s a former South African U20 champion at both of those events.
Coming to CoMo— Mizzou Track & Field (@MizzouTFXC) July 25, 2023
Welcome home, Nicole! pic.twitter.com/Hmo5N2E4Jc
- Way to go, Brooke!!!! Shes such a pro!
- In news I think we missed because it was over the weekend, Brian Ward was named Associate Head Coach on Bianca Turati’s staff. Per MUTigers.com, he joins the staff after spending two years with the Buffs at the University of Colorado.
Colorado finished the 2023 campaign ranked No. 61 in the final ITA poll of the season – its highest ranking in 14 years – along with a No. 4 ranking in the mountain region. The Buffaloes played in the inaugural Universal Tennis NIT Championship, the team’s first postseason action since 2007.
Ward also spent three seasons at the University of Minnesota as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator from 2017-21. He also was an assistant coach for the men’s team at the University of Pennsylvania from 2015-17 where Ward helped recruit a pair of Top 25 signing classes.
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