COLUMBIA — In the aftermath of Missouri’s stunning 51-48, four-overtime road win over Tennessee last Saturday, co-offensive line coach Josh Henson bumped into Elvis Fisher and asked his senior left tackle a question.
By TEREZ A. PAYLOR
The Kansas City Star
“This feels good doesn’t it?” Henson said.
The look on Fisher’s face of pure joy was all the response Henson needed.
“When you’ve been through as many injuries he’s been through,” Henson said, “I think there’s just a real sense of vindication that this was all worth it.”
The last 15 months have not been easy for Fisher, a sixth-year senior was considered to be a mid-round NFL draft pick before his season-ending knee injury last August. But after rehabbing all offseason and suffering an injury to his other knee in September, Fisher has started MU’s last five games.
“In these last two games,” Henson said, “he’s looked like the old Elvis before he had the injury.
“And he really didn’t look that way (before).”
Fisher battled through discomfort and learned to regain the trust in his injured knee through August and September. Things appeared to get worse once he sprained the MCL in his other knee against Georgia on Sept. 8, but it turns out the latter injury was a blessing in disguise because it allowed him to rest both knees.
“Camp took a toll on me,” Fisher said. “And the first couple games, being back in there after being out for a year, was tough. So I think it was a blessing to sit back and recoup.”
Fisher returned for MU’s Oct. 6 game against Vanderbilt and hasn’t left the lineup since. And along the way, as his confidence has grown, so has his leadership — which Henson says was crucial in MU’s win over Tennessee.
“I felt like my old self,” Fisher said.
That’s why Fisher wore such a happy face after the game. He couldn’t have asked for more than to get a win — one that gives Missouri, 5-5, a chance to be bowl eligible with a win Saturday — and contribute to one of the offensive line’s best efforts of the season.
“To be the visiting team in a hostile environment and to come out with a W and get to enjoy the plane ride back, it’s just a great feeling,” Fisher said. “This team puts so much effort and work into this season, and we haven’t played some games the way we wanted to, but now we’re starting to come together and everything is falling into place. It just means a lot to see it happen.”
Saturday’s 6 p.m. game against Syracuse is senior night, and because Fisher isn’t quite sure he will pursue his NFL dreams after the season, he knows he better not take his last college home game for granted.
“I understand now more than ever that football isn’t going to last forever,” said Fisher, who said he wants to be a high school football coach someday. “I know I want to play my last two, hopefully three games (for Missouri). And we’ll go from there.”