COLUMBIA — Over the weekend, redshirt freshman linebacker Michael Scherer got his first reps with Missouris first-team defense.
By TOD PALMER
The Kansas City Star
So, perhaps no player will be more excited for Saturday night when the Tigers, 2-0, put their unbeaten record on the line at Indianas Memorial Stadium in Bloomington, Ind.
This is kind of like the moment you work for your whole entire life, said Scherer, a St. Louis native. That being said, I feel like Im as ready as I can be for it, and I will be ready come Saturday.
Of course, the circumstances that created Scherers big break arent ideal.
Scherer will start at middle linebacker because senior Andrew Wilson, a three-year starter from Raymore-Peculiar, was flagged for targeting and ejected early in the third quarter Sept. 7 against Toledo.
Wilson cracked Rockets receiver Bernard Reedy in the helmet with a forearm as he ducked on an incompletion over the middle. As part of the new penalty, Wilson also must sit for the first half against the Hoosiers.
There certainly was no vengeance on his part and hes never had that kind of penalty before even though the rule existed, Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said. But theres lessons to learn there. Youve just got to go low.
Theres also an opportunity there.
Its been a little bit different getting in with the ones and having that load on you, said Scherer, who has one tackle in two career games.
Scherer took advantage of the bye week by studying Indiana and getting mentally prepared to start even if its probably only one game for now.
I feel ready, Scherer said. I got lucky having an extra week to prepare for them, so Im already a week ahead of schedule.
Of course, with as much nickel coverage as Missouri has played, Scherer isnt likely to see the field every down against pass-happy Indiana, 2-1, which averages 50 points and 339 passing yards through three games.
It doesnt matter, Scherer vows to be ready and his teammates expect him to flourish.
Were very confident (in Scherer), because hes a smart kid, junior defensive end Kony Ealy said. Hes young. Hes just getting his feet wet, because this is his first year playing, but other than that, theres no excuses. Hes just got to get in there and get his job done.
Pinkel said Wilson, who is eligible to return after halftime, played with the second team during practices Saturday morning and Sunday evening. Hell alternate with Scherer between first and second team throughout the week.
We cant worry about him not being able to start the game, Ealy said. Weve just got to hope that when he comes back in hes going to make the same impact hes always made when hes on the field.
Meanwhile, Scherer is doing his best to ensure that he fills in adequately.
Ive leaned on (Wilson) the whole time Ive been here for the past year and a half now, Scherer said. I talk to him, I ask him questions and especially this week during practice, if theres anything I dont understand I go to him and hell give me some advice and tell me what to do.
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