Jen Smith on UK Football

Q&A: Defensive coordinator Eliot on defending Missouri’s speedy offense

D.J. ELIOT

On how they defend an offense that runs over 100 plays a game: “You got to play 100 plays a game. We’ve just got to get ready for the tempo. We have to have a lot of substitutions. We have to have a lot of guys play. We need to play with high energy every down, and we need to make sure we have high urgency, and those are the things we’re emphasizing this week in practice.”

On the variances in good and bad performances from Missouri’s offense and what’s been different in the games where they’ve struggled: “I think like any teams, you know, you have your good days and your bad days. When they execute, when they’re on rhythm, boy, they’re tough to stop. And then games when they’re not, sometimes they can make mistakes that put them behind the chains, and maybe they don’t play as well. So, you know, they’re a team that has a lot of weapons, and when they are on rhythm they’re very tough to stop.”

On what the defense did well against Mississippi State to get them behind the chains early: “I thought that, you know, we started the game well. We played good first-down defense early in the game which then put them in second and long and third and long situations, which then your percentages of being efficient goes up. And so, we have to play good first down defense any game, not just this game, to be successful on defense. The more third and long situations you can get in, the higher chance you have to get off the field. The more third and short situations you get in, the higher chance they have to get a first down. So first down efficiency is critical, last week and this week.”

On how much they has to change scheme facing a spread attack like Missouri's: “Each week we change things a little bit, so whatever we think is best for that week, we'll go with. But a spread team, they put a lot of stress on you because you have to have guys out there to cover 'em and that reduces numbers in your box. Sometimes they have success running the ball because there’s more people out in coverage. It creates a balanced attack just by their formations and the skill that they have out on the field.”

On what he sees from Crockett, Missouri’s freshman running back: “I think that he’s very talented. He’s tough. He’s a hard runner. He’s fast. He’s a lot like Boom. It’s a guy that we have to keep contained. We have to play well; we have to tackle well, be in good body position to get him on the ground and not get juked.”

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