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Presser notes from Mizzou’s 2023 team captains

Congrats to the six Tigers selected to be the captains for this team!

NCAA Football: Arkansas at Missouri Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Missouri’s 2023 team captains were introduced yesterday. Repeating from last season is quarterback Brady Cook, left tackle Javon Foster, linebacker Chad Bailey, and defensive lineman Darius Robinson. Joining them this year is two familiar faces from the 2022 squad as MU’s leading rusher Cody Schrader and linebacker Ty’Ron Hopper earned the honor from their teammates.

“It means everything because that means I’m the representation of our team and our university, and its a huge honor, and I don’t take it lightly. Every day I’m just trying to be the best version of myself and be a role model for my teammates,” — Darius Robinson

“It’s a great honor, Our teammates voted for the captains so I think that’s the biggest deal for me that I was a great enough leader for my teammates to vote for me,” Chad Bailey

“That means a lot. It’s an honor to represent my team and the State of Missouri, and that’s what I’ve been doing. I’ve been more vocal on being a better leader, and I just need to keep doing that,” — Ty’Ron Hopper

“That’s like the biggest honor, I think, throughout my journey of playing college football. I think this is one of the most special. I’m just kind of looking back on my journey and seeing how far I’ve come to get to this place, and for the team to vote me captain is nothing but special and something that I’ll remember forever,” — Cody Schrader

“For me, honestly, its a blessing that my teammates trust in me being a captain again this year...I’m gonna try to do my best job for this team and leading the way,” — Javon Foster

“That’s the best honor I can think of. That’s something that I’ve dreamed about for a long time. To be a second-year captain, it’s truly a dream,” — Brady Cook

More from Brady Cook

His thoughts on fall camp as it wraps up: “I’ve been really happy with how I performed in camp. I’m really happy with how the offense has performed. The defense has been pushing us. They’ve given us great looks, and they’re a really good defense. So I’m happy with how the offense has done. I think we’ve really picked it up in the second half, and we have some momentum right now.”

On Connor Tollison’s impressive camp: “I can tell he’s got a different type of energy compared to last year and even this spring. I can tell he’s really starting to buy in, and he really cares. He wants to make this a big year.”

Where the offense has improved: “What stuck out to me is our ability to score in different situations at practice. A big emphasis has been putting us in different situations, whether it’s in the end of game, one minute left, end of half, different red zone situations, third down, or fourth down. The offense has done a great job of converting with a lot of that. With that, a lot more explosive plays. We’re tracking our explosive play percentage, which has been a big emphasis. Obviously, you need to push the ball downfield, you need to be efficient in the run game, and I mean, we’ve really been able to see all of that.”

On if it is easier to get the ball in Luther Burden’s hands after him transitioning into the slot: “100%. I mean, I think in any offense, you watch the receiver that’s getting the ball the most is probably the slot. It means you are gonna get free access, and your gonna get better is gonna be easier to just flip it out there to him, so naturally, he’s going to have the ball more.”

On his time with Chase Daniel: “Something that he told me that really stuck with me is really related to leadership, and it really just know how to communicate with your players, know who your audience is.”

Cody Schrader

On if anyone has established themselves as the lead back: “I’m not real sure on that. I think we’re all just here to work. Whenever our numbers are called, we just go out there and play.”

What Coach Curtis Luper has been preaching to the room: “I think for me and (Nathaniel Peat) it’s been more leadership, vocal leadership. We have a good understanding of the offense. We’re leaders in that room...But the main thing is ball security, protect the quarterback, and run the football and have fun. That’s something that I love about Coach (Luper). He allows you to go out there and have fun and play football, and we correct things on Sunday in the meeting room.”

His relationship with Nathaniel Peat: “I think me and him have a unique relationship...I think that brotherhood and that bond are really starting to connect, and I think me and him our relationship has definitely grown since last year it’s really cool to have someone that you compete against daily but then also somebody that you can bounce ideas off and watch film together after practice.”

Darius Robinson

How the defense is coming gelling together: “It’s really a lot of bonding outside of football. We’re here all day but actually going to hang out, Level up, bowling, and just a lot of different things like that and show us a brotherhood. We all want what’s best for each other, and we all have one common goal.”

On playing at the edge position: “(It) feels great because Coach Peoples is really pushing me really hard. This camp is, in my opinion, is one of my most difficult camps just because of the intensity and the different things that the new position asked of me, but he’s put me in the best position to be successful.”

What he’s seen from Johnny Walker and the rest of the edge rushers: “Johnny’s been ready. He had to sit behind a lot of talented guys, and he’s just very confident. He comes to work every day. Nyles Gaddy has had a great camp, and Joe Moore. We’re not obviously as deep as last year, but we’re definitely talented and putting in that hard-working mentality every day.”

Javon Foster

What makes the offensive unique from a lineman’s perspective: “A lot more explosive plays, trying to move the ball downfield vertically. For the offensive line, being able to hold up in pass pro and create run lanes to open up the passing game.”

More on the rise of Connor Tollison: “It’s like night and day. Connor, this off-season he just wanted to put his head down. He felt like last year he didn’t have his best shot, so this year, he just wanted to put his head down and show what he can honestly do at the center position. I’m proud of Connor, and he’s come a long way.”

On who he loves competing against along the defensive line: “All the guys, honestly. They got great coaches like Coach (Kevin) Peoples. He does a great job with the ends and trying to work on my weaknesses. So it’s honestly all the guys, D-Rob, Johnny, it’s a lot of guys I love competing against.”

Ty’Ron Hopper

On where he feels like the defense is at as fall camp comes to a close: “I feel like we met our goals. I feel like we’re in a great spot. We’re always going and getting better, so we got more days to work on things that we felt like we didn’t do well at, So I think we’re going to be really good.”

On where he feels the defense needs to improve: “We want to be more consistent. We were inconsistent. We probably start off hot and ended out bad, or vice versa. So we’re just focusing on being more consistent this year.”

On where he’s felt like he’s grown: “Definitely being more vocal. I feel like last year I didn’t do a good job of talking to guys and getting on guys, so I feel like that’s the spot where I grew the most.”

On what Tre’Vez Johnson brings to the team: “He can do everything from the safety position. He can tackle, he can hit, he can get you turnovers. There’s nothing that he can’t do at that position.”

Chad Bailey

On how this team is led: “I think this group is more player-led. We’re more comfortable in the system. Our coaches preach that our players got to be the one to preach the same message that our coaches are and I think we harp on that a lot.”

On what he’s seen from Ty’Ron Hopper: “Last year, I think he was tryna get used to Mizzou, you know what I’m saying, figuring things out to see where he fits in the program. Now this year’s he’s very vocal, he’s way more comfortable. He’s helping out the young linebackers. Last year that was something you probably didn’t see too much just because he was still trying to learn the playbook as well, and I was helping him with that. So I think now he’s just become a great leader by trying to help the young guys out.”