COLUMBIA — Some kudos were lobbed Missouri defensive coordinator Dave Steckels way on Monday for his role in the 25th-ranked Tigers 5-0 start.
By TOD PALMER
The Kansas City Star
The Tigers have given up some yards and points, ranking 76th in the NCAA in total defense (412.4) and 41st in scoring defense (22.4), but anyones who has watched the games knows those numbers are skewed by some garbage-time plays.
Indiana and Vanderbilt, in particular, made hay after the game was well in hand for the Tigers.
Steckel has had some moments of genius, like switching Missouris defense entirely at halftime against the Hoosiers and coming out in a three-man front.
The Tigers also have seemed to improve noticeably in almost every game. The secondary has been tightening up coverage, the pass rush has gone from meager to borderline unstoppable and Missouri already has more interceptions than all of last season.
(Of course, the Tigers are the only team in the NCAA without a fumble recovery this season.)
Missouri does rank third in the SEC in rushing defense (118.6) and fourth in scoring defense.
Meanwhile, its passing defense is ranked last in conference (293.8), but the Tigers per-attempt average (6.6) is the third-best among SEC teams, trailing only Florida and Mississippi.
To reach Tod Palmer, call 816-234-4389 or send email to email@example.com. Follow him at twitter.com/todpalmer.