Thigpen Discusses Linebacker Situation

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    (Video via UTSports.com)

    Transcript:

    On Jakob Johnson:

    “I keep forgetting he’s only 19-years old. I ride him, I ride him, I ride him. I thought today he responded really well. We was in the meetings and he’s actually talking like a sophomore or a junior. So I thought today he really stepped up, took command of the huddle, made all the checks, made all the adjustments, really pleasnt surprise that he responded the way that he did. He came in last night, made a ton of adjustments for us last night, looking forward for the challenge.”

    On if it’s strange not having A.J. Johnson in the meeting room:

    “In the beginning it was. Those older guys, you’ve got a guy like A.J. that takes presence in a room like that. The room is always football-oriented. You talk football. And now you got a guy like Maybin in the room, and now you’ve got younger guys stepping up. That’s what I’ve been looking for. Young guys that can come up, step up, talk the game, speak the game, make the checks. I thought Jakob and Bynum did a good job in the meeting rooms, still got two or three days to prepare.”

    On if this is an adjustment for Jalen Reeves-Maybin: 

    “Yeah, but he doesn’t make the calls. You ask anybody on the football field what job they don’t want, it’s the ‘Mike’ linebacker position because of the way the guy has to communicate. He has to do all the checks. He’s got a lot on his plate. You know, he’s got to line up 11 guys on the football field and then do his job, and then make adjustments on the move. It’s the most difficult position on defense. I look forward with Jakob, he’s come in everyday and we’ve asked him a lot of difficult questions and surprise him and he’s able to answer them. Put him in some situations on the football field and thought he responded really well.”

    On if they make adjustments to make it easier for Jakob Johnson:

    “It’s part of the system. We’re not going to change. We’re not going to make it any more simple for him. Here, you get what you deserve, and he deserved to play this week. He’s doing everything we’re asking him to do. We’ll make the adjustments on the sideline for things we don’t see on the practice field.”

    On what he expects from Missouri’s offense:

    “They’re going to do what they do. They’re going to line up four wides, run inside zone, run their best running plays, take their quarterback and do what they’ve been doing the last couple games. Utilizing him in the run game and the throw game. I don’t see them changing much at all. What we’ve got to make sure we do is tackle in space, guys communicate and make the plays that we’re supposed to make.”

    Not included in that video, Thigpen also had some interesting comments on A.J. Johnson in light of the senior’s suspension: