October 6, 2006

Defensive backs ready for Raider challenge

All season, it has been David Overstreet that has let the rest of the Tiger defense know exactly where it stood. This week, as the Tigers prepare to face the most prolific offense they will likely see this season, the Missouri captain had a simple message for his teammates.

"We've been asking for the secondary to get a challenge. I said,'This is our challenge,'" Overstreet said. "It's time for us to play."

The "us" in that sentence was a Tiger secondary that has been challenged very little in the first five weeks of the season. Missouri ranks second in the Big 12 in pass defense, due in large part to the fact that opposing quarterbacks have not had time to throw the ball downfield. But the Texas Tech Red Raiders boast the league's most lethal passing game.

"Tech, they're always going to pass the ball whether the corners are all Big 12 or just mediocre," said true freshman Del Howard. "Tech is gonna test us if we're all Americans or true freshmen. They're just gonna come after you."

One reason the Tigers feel okay has a lot to do with their own offense. Pinkel said the scheme they see on Saturday night should not come as a culture shock.

"All through spring football, through two-a-days, as you well know, we've got players lined up all over the field throwing the football. They've been in that a little bit of that environment. It's not like we run the I-formation, we're throwing the ball around a lot," Pinkel said. "I'm not in any way comparing our passing game and the success and that to Texas Tech, I think they're a cut above everybody. But I do think our whole defense is now able to work on throwing type teams because of our offensive switch."

Is Missouri ready to answer the bell for this challenge? The Tigers will find out in just more than 24 hours.

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