Knick-knack, paddy-whack, Missouri keeps using “Bone.”
That’s the name for a special short-yardage package that features hulking defensive tackle Josh Augusta — a 6-foot-4, 355-pound senior from Peoria, Ill. — at fullback.
It’s netted a first down (and more) on all three snaps this season.
“I’m excited about what that group in that package offensively is going to become,” coach Barry Odom said of the super-sized formation that also includes senior tight end Tyler Hanneke (6 feet 4, 270 pounds) as a beefy blocker.
Augusta converted a fourth-quarter fourth-and-1 in the opener at West Virginia and gained two yards on a third-quarter third-and-1 last Saturday against Eastern Michigan.
He also had the lead block on a fourth-quarter fourth-and-1, taking out two Eagles’ defensive backs at once as he rumbled downfield to spring freshman Damarea Crockett for a 26-yard touchdown.
“I saw one person there,” Augusta said. “I hit him and I tried to knock him into the second person so my man can score.”
It worked, providing the icing on the cake for an offense that enjoyed its best night statistically since 2012 in a 61-21 rout.
Mizzou’s sideline was mostly smiles against Eastern Michigan, but that package is especially fun — for most of the team anyway.
“That’s one of those things, like the mother sometimes sees her son get hit and they just turn their head away,” defensive line coach Jackie Shipp said. “I’m just glad to see him come back to the sideline and get back on defense.”
The package was the brainchild of offensive coordinator Josh Heupel.
“I did it a year ago with some kids at Utah State,” Heupel said. “You just try to find guys that have unique characteristics that can help you play in a position and win ballgames.”
Missouri experimented with other players, including sophomore Terry Beckner Jr. as a jumbo fullback during camp, but eventually Heupel settled on Augusta, which provides an endless thrill for the former high school wide receiver.
“I get fired up a lot,” said Augusta, who also used to return kickoffs and punts in high school. “I used to play offense, so when they first told me I might play a little bit I was excited. I just really want to help my team get the ‘W.’ ”
Certainly, he did that against Eastern Michigan.
“When you block two guys on the same play and spring a touchdown, I’d say you did your job,” sophomore quarterback Drew Lock said.
Junior running back Ish Witter was jealous Crockett got to run behind Augusta.
“I basically told him before that play, ‘Just follow Josh. He’s going to open it up,’ ” Witter said. “ ... And he did. He got into the end zone. We need Josh more at fullback.”
Of course, fiddling around on offense isn’t Augusta’s only contribution. He has seven tackles, second-most among defensive linemen, with a team-high three tackles for a loss and the Tigers’ only sack this season.
“He’s had solid games for the number of plays he’s played,” Shipp said. “He’s doing a good job of maintaining his gap. His weight is coming down. He’s getting in better shape.”
That’s the key for Augusta, who actually weighs several pounds more than his listed weight (355).
“With Josh, when he’s in shape, he’s an absolute freak,” senior linebacker Michael Scherer said. “There was a time last year he dropped some weight and he had some really good games.”
Missouri hopes to see that again within the next few games this season.
“We all want that,” defensive coordinator DeMontie Cross said. “I think ‘Gus’ wants that and, hopefully, he’ll play himself into that shape. ... He is a force to be reckoned with. He eats up a gap-and-a-half, sometimes two, so he’s nice to have up there for us in the defensive line, especially in the run game. But his conditioning, it does hurt him, because the more he plays, the taller he stands and the less effective he is.”