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Missouri DL coach Jackie Shipp asks, "Why can't a defensive linemen be like a linebacker?"

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News and Notes from Missouri's third spring practice. Media were able to meet with Odom, Jackie Shipp, Andy Hill and Joe Jon Finley as well as the WRs, DLs and TEs.

Jackie Shipp coaching his defensive line group.
Jackie Shipp coaching his defensive line group.
Injury news:
  • WR Jonathan Johnson - right ankle sprain
  • WR Emanuel Hall - left hamstring
  • WR Ray Wingo - left hamstring
  • FS Cam Hilton - left hamstring

On Tuesday, Odom told the media he was going to be directly involved with coaching special teams saying, "After Week 1, if we look really crappy on special teams, then I didn’t do a very good job." Since then, Johnathan Rutledge announced he had officially joined Mizzou as a WR/special teams coach.

Andy Bauer announced he was retiring from football yesterday. Barry Odom had this to say about Bauer:

Odom went on to talk about Alabama grad transfer Chris Black and his impact on trying to lead the team and the young receiving group. He also discusses the hiring of Jackie Shipp.

"I hope that people understand the staff that we have, they all wanted to be here. They’re excited to be here. The guys we’ve got out there that I walk into the staff meeting (with) everyday, the nine guys around the table, they’re anxious to make Mizzou football better.

Odom also revealed he'd hired Mike McHugh to be the new Director of Recruiting Operations. Per Odom, McHugh created the position at Missouri in the early 90's and held the same position at Oregon, California, Fresno State and most recently Washington (here's his Washington bio).

Odom also had high praise for tight end coach Joe Jon Finley, citing his transition from a great player to a great coach and his impact on the running game.

Defensive Line

Jackie Shipp inherits a defensive line that returns everyone from last year's elite unit. I asked Shipp how he's putting his stamp on this squad:

"There might be some different things you teach from a technique standpoint. Getting them to understand to understand some different things. I always thought why can't a defensive lineman be like a linebacker, why can't you study backfield sets and formations and those different types of things, to give yourself an advantage. We'll change up somethings up some different things by understanding how the game is played."

On the talent on the defensive line, Shipp said,

"Talented. Very good talent. Have a good work ethic but it could be better. Physical skills."

Harold Brantley during outdoor practice:

On comparing this defensive line to others he's coached,

"They're up there with them. You'll never get me to make the comparison. People have been trying to get me to do that for years. They're right up there with some of the good ones I've had, most definitely. Being from Missouri I'm sure you've seen some of them through the years."

On the level of talent:

"You all expect a whole lot more when they say there's talent on that defensive line. But it's a good product to work with, it's a great product to work with. But a lot is expected of it."

Wide Receivers

Andy Hill coached Missouri wide receivers from 1996-2012 before moving to quarterbacks coach in 2013. This year he's back. Toward he end of this video I asked Hill if there was an emphasis he was bringing to the group with his switch.

On receivers like Nate Brown moving around:

"We're running routes and getting lined up quicker and all that stuff. There's a little bit of ... the right word might be .. I'd say we're 'uncertain" because we want to be exact and so we gotta play fast and run fast. If you don't know what you're doing, you can do those things."

On coaching receivers:

"The point of emphasis is to make plays and get lined up and play fast. Play your speed. If you're a 4.7 guy, run 4.7. If you're a 4.3, run a 4.3. But if you're a 4.7, don't run 5.2"

I was able to catch redshirt sophomore wide receiver DeSean Blair and ask him a few questions about injuries and the impact of Andy Hill on the receiver group.

Observations:

  • Tyrell Jacobs, a redshirt freshman, appeared to be practicing with the offensive lineman Saturday, likely because Mizzou is so thin in that unit. You might recall left guard Nate Crawford made a similar transition a few years ago.
  • Easily the last group to leave practice were the wide receivers. I saw Nate Brown, DeSean Blair and J'Mon Moore, among others, practicing individual catching drills well after practice ended.
  • Harold Brantley looks very thin, as you saw above. He's practicing with the team, but I wouldn't hold out hope he plays this fall.
  • Terry Beckner Jr. was available to the media and told us, "I don’t feel like I’m far behind. Just really wanting to get back at it, but I know that my body isn’t ready yet. Just sitting back and getting as much knowledge as I can."
  • Practice moved into the Devine Pavilion for the second time due to rain.
  • Evan Boehm and Connor McGovern were attendance, taking in practice.
Up next:

The next practice, on Tuesday, is closed to the media. The next open practice will be Thursday, March 17.

Full schedule