HOOVER, Ala. — Day One of the SEC Media Days kicked off on Monday, July 15, and the University of Missouri was the first of 14 Southeastern Conference teams to be available for questions.
Head coach Barry Odom was excited about his team and the “alignment” of its goals, visions and beliefs.
As for the upcoming season, Missouri will be taking on Kirby Smart and Georgia on Nov. 9 at Sanford Stadium.
Last season, Georgia took down the Tigers 42-29, which catalyzed a three-game losing streak for Missouri. Turnovers and their inability to stop Georgia’s passing game were what led to the result and the team's difficulties.
One of the aspects of Georgia’s offense Missouri didn’t have a problem stopping was the running game. Georgia’s 2018 season average for rushing yards per game was 239.2, and the Tigers held them to 185.
Veteran defensive players like Cale Barrett and DeMarkus Acy felt confident they could continue to stop the dominant run games in the SEC, like Georgia’s.
“At the end of the day we all know we just have to do our job,” the senior Barrett said. “We’re a gap-responsibility defense, you have this gap and that’s all you need to do. I think we have the right players… Everyone’s going to do a good job having gap integrity. I think ultimately unselfish players on defense ends up turning into total team success.”
Acy was “comfortable” about being able to stop the run, especially with Barrett in the middle to back up an imposing defensive line. If a run does cut to the outside and to the sidelines where Acy is usually lined up, he has no problem making a play.
“I feel like I’m the hardest hitting cornerback in the nation to be honest,” Acy said. “I’m not really too scared of contact. I came in as safety, so I’m pretty fluent to stopping the run and if anybody comes, it doesn’t matter big or small, I’m gonna hit you still.”
As for their result against the Bulldogs last year in which Barrett recalls Georgia having “playmakers all over the field,” Acy thought it was all about how they close out games.
“At the end of the day it’s just about finishing,” Acy said. “Everything we do no matter if it’s academics or community service or on the field, it doesn’t matter, you have to finish the job.”