Head Coach Gary Pinkel has finalized his plans to reorganize duties on the defensive side of the ball, following the recent departure of former defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus.

Dave Steckel, who has been with Pinkel all eight seasons at MU as linebackers coach, will become the new defensive coordinator for the Tigers, in addition to maintaining his linebacker coaching duties.  He replaces Eberflus, who had filled the coordinator role from 2001-08, prior to taking an assistant coaching position with the NFL’s Cleveland Browns in February. 

The Missouri Tigers had their first spring practice.  Head coach Gary Pinkel was pleased with the energy and focus from the team.  He says the key now is just continuing to improve each time out.  The Tigers again will practice on Thursday.

2009 will bring along a lot of changes to the Tigers.  As I mentioned, Steckel is now running the defense and David Yost takes over the offensive play calling.  Since both coaches come in with past experience, the same philosophies will be in place with the defense playing a 4-3 base and the Tigers sticking with the spread. 

However, each play caller will bring in his own thoughts and ideas on how to make the units work better.  The biggest change is with all the graduating seniors, I’m sure many fans feel this is a rebuilding year, but the team can’t approach the season with that mentality.  Momentum is there from back to back high profile seasons and it’s time for the next wave of Tigers to carry the torch.  All eyes will be on quarterback Blaine Gabbert who follows in the footsteps of Chase Daniel and Brad Smith.

Gabbert seems comfortable with becoming the leader of the Tigers offense.  Listen to comments from head coach Gary Pinkel, Gabbert, new defensive coordinator Steckel and senior leadership Sean Weatherspoon. 

Mizzou Football practice