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UK defense has to be ready for fast tempo

UK's defense will face a tougher challenge at Missouri. (Wade Upchurch Photo)

UK’s defense will face a tougher challenge at Missouri. (Wade Upchurch Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Even though Missouri lost at home to Middle Tennessee State University last week, the Tigers still had 112 offensive plays.

“We’ve just got to get ready for the tempo. We have to have a lot of substitutions,” UK defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot said about Saturday’s game at Missouri. “We have to have a lot of guys play. We need to play with high energy every down, and we need to make sure we have high urgency, and those are the things we’re emphasizing this week in practice.

“When they execute, when they’re on rhythm, boy, they’re tough to stop. And then games when they’re not, sometimes they can make mistakes that put them behind the chains, and maybe they don’t play as well. So, you know, they’re a team that has a lot of weapons, and when they are on rhythm they’re very tough to stop.”

Kentucky’s defense had success early against Mississippi State but then had trouble stopping the Bulldogs in the second half. But Missouri’s spread offense is more difficult to defend.

“A spread team, they put a lot of stress on you because you have to have guys out there to cover ’em and that reduces numbers in your box. Sometimes they have success running the ball because there’s more people out in coverage. It creates a balanced attack just by their formations and the skill that they have out on the field,” Eliot said.

Missouri freshman running back Demarea Crockett gives his team a running game in the spread offense. He has three 100-yard rushing games and had 158 yards and four touchdowns against Middle Tennessee. He has 546 yards and seven scores this seasons.

“I think that he’s very talented. He’s tough. He’s a hard runner. He’s fast. He’s a lot like Boom (Williams). It’s a guy that we have to keep contained. We have to play well; we have to tackle well, be in good body position to get him on the ground and not get juked,” Eliot said.

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