If there’s one thing offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee could say about Missouri’s defense, it's that it fields one of the most disciplined units he has seen all year.
“They're always where they're supposed to be, they're solid tacklers but what really stands out after that is that front four is really good,” Lashlee said following Tuesday night’s practice. “Their defensive ends, the (Michael) Sam kid, Kony Ealy, they've got the other two guys that play just about as much as them. Those guys are really active.”
Sam, a senior defensive end, leads the SEC in both sacks (10.5) and tackles for loss (18). Ealy, his counterpart on the other side of Missouri’s defensive line, is no slouch, collecting 6.5 sacks and 9.5 tackles for loss himself.
“They're really disruptive, they're violent, explosive, so that front four really concerns me, to be honest with you,” Lashlee said. “They're really good. They're really good at what they do. That's probably why they're top 2 in the league in rushing (defense) and leading the league in sacks.”
PROSCH JUST TRIES TO PLAY PHYSICAL: Auburn’s coaching staff has sung the praises of fullback Jay Prosch all season.
No, the senior doesn’t do anything glamorous — as the nature of the position would dictate. His blocks open running lanes for others, such as Mason and Marshall, to score the touchdowns and receive the accolades. Gus Malzahn made sure Prosch received his due, however, paying him the highest compliment imaginable.
Malzahn said Monday that Prosch is “the best fullback in the country.”
When informed of his coach’s comments, Prosch didn’t deny it. But he didn’t embrace it, either.
“I just know one thing about myself is that I'll play extremely hard, and I try to be the most physical player I can be every game,” Prosch said. “And I try not to think about any type of pain or injury but just play fearless. I think that's a lot of the reason why I'm where I am today — because of playing with that kind of mentality. I sell out for my team. When you play like that, there's no other choice but to be good at what you do. I think that's really what makes me different than other players.”
MALZAHN HONOR: Malzahn was named one of three finalists for the Maxwell Football Club's national coach of the year award.
The other two finalists for the award are Missouri's Gary Pinkel and Duke's David Cutcliffe. The winner will be announced Dec. 19.