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Rock M Preview Review: Here’s What You’ve Missed— The Trenches

Mizzou Football Links for Friday, August 18

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We’re another week into preseason football coverage, and covering THREE position groups this week. Earlier on in the week, the site’s football minds continued our coverage with a group Sam has affectionately just called, The Trenches, which encompasses the defensive ends and defensive tackles.

[DISCLAIMER: I wrote this all before I saw the Hoops social content or I would have talked Mizzou Hoops instead. So there’s that...]

On Monday, Nate and BK kicked off the week with a preview of the defensive ends, looking at the mix of transfers and leftovers. There are some question marks in this group, as per Nate, the only DE returning are Johnny Walker Jr. (most snaps in bowl game v. Wake Forest) and DJ Wesolak (quasi-linebacker and redshirt last year). With them arrives guys like Joe Moore III, who has been widely talked about in camp (and on this site), Austin Firestone, and Nyles Gaddy. Per BK:

Isaiah McGuire, Trajan Jeffcoat, DJ Coleman, Tyrone Hopper and Arden Walker took 1,579 of Missouri’s 1,692 snaps at defensive end last season, according to Pro Football Focus. The only returning defensive end is Johnny Walker Jr. Walker played more than a half-dozen snaps just three times last year... The last three games.

The lone “known commodity” for Missouri coming off the edge is Joe Moore III. The former Arizona State defensive end played more than 500 snaps last season for the Sun Devils. His statistical profile was similar to what Jeffcoat produced for Missouri.

Meanwhile, Josh asked the group, Is Mizzou’s defensive line underrated? The D-Line, after all, is the least celebrated of the Mizzou defense. Per Parker:

It does all start up front, especially in the SEC. While the likes of Ty’Ron Hopper, Ennis Rakestraw, Jr., Joseph Charleston and plenty of others are great talents, they won’t be able to be overly effective if they are the first people to touch the running back on every play, or if the opposing quarterback has all day to sit in the pocket.

On Tuesday, Nate & BK previewed the deepest rotation— the defensive tackles.

There isn’t much to say about Missouri’s defensive tackles, honestly. The group is talented and deep. It’s proven. The biggest question surrounding the group is now how they’ll perform, but which guys will see the field, and how often they’ll see it. Robinson watch will be something to keep an eye on.

How long will his transition to defensive end last? Does the Tigers’ depth at defensive tackle push Robinson to the edge all season? Or does Robinson’s dominance along the interior take precedent as the games take on greater importance? Time will tell. My bet is on the latter.

Meanwhile, Josh asked the group, Will the defensive line transfers make a difference for Mizzou? Josh hopes so, as he mentions they spend a lot of time creating havoc without landing any decisive blows. To counteract this, Blake Baker brought in some upgrades, of whom our writers seem to think Joe Moore will be the best. Per Quentin:

The Isaiah McGuire-sized hole on the edge is going to be tough to fill, but if any of the transfers can fill it, I’d pick the hometown hero IJoe Moore III).

On Thursday, we moved on to the offensive line where Nate and BK examined the O-Line corps, which are the most in need of improvement. Looks like they might get some help. From BK:

This isn’t a situation in which Missouri added quantity over quality. Marcellus Johnson was graded by Pro Football Focus as one of the top offensive tackles in his conference last season. He arrives at Missouri with some high quality tape and more than 2,000 snaps to his name. Cam’Ron Johnson allowed just one sack in 556 pass-blocking snaps last season, according to Pro Football Focus.

Meanwhile, Josh asked the guys, Will Mizzou’s OL take a step forward in 2023? Let’s hope so, as they just weren’t very good last year. Still, Sammy warns:

While I believe there will be an improvement along the offensive line position, I just don’t see enough there that this unit could become one of the “strengths” of this team to be a legitimate factor in the SEC.

A reminder: we’re wrapping up OL coverage today at the site, and Adeen will use his super cool cards to look at Johnson & Johnson, while Josh has one more question.

On to the Links!

Yesterday at Rock M

More Links:


  • Go get your limited edition Luther merch!
  • A collective.... of collectives? I just... I have no words.


  • We’ve missed you guys!
  • Kobe’s schedule is live! Cannot wait to go see our guy play in person!
  • It’s that time of year! The newbies have arrived and it’s time for Welcome Week and First Roar. Let’s check out the (many) social posts, shall we?
  • Hey, team!

Other Mizzou Sports

  • Per, Mizzou Gymnastics saw 14 gymnasts earn WCGA Scholastic All-America honors for their achievements in the classroom during the 2022-23 academic year. Congrats, ladies! Alisa Sheremeta earned honors all five years of schooling.... Wow.
  • Love to see all our teams back in action. Check out Track & Field
  • Mizzou VB goes on a scavenger hunt

  • If you’re looking to sign up for ESPN+, Rock M Nation now has an affiliate link: click Here for ESPN+ Now!
  • If you’re looking to sign up for a new streaming service, you can try FuboTV: click HERE for FuboTV access — FuboTV now has ESPN, CBS, FS1 and more sports channels.
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