Article posted by Missouri Gazette
Posted on August 12, 2017
Columbia, Missouri. – Mizzou Football and head coach Barry Odom held the eighth practice of #MIZCAMP17 on Wednesday morning. A spirited 11-on-11 took place on the third practice field behind Mizzou’s Athletic Training Complex. Mizzou got after it as both sides of the ball made plays. The highlight of the 11-on-11 came when QB Drew Lock found WR Johnathon Johnson breaking through in the slot for a touchdown after a perfectly executed pump fake by the third-year QB.
One of the most tradition-rich position groups in Mizzou history is the defensive line, affectionately known by everyone familiar with the program as #DLineZOU. Mizzou has certainly seen its fair share of first-round NLF Draft picks over the years, most recently highlighted by DE Charles Harris last season, leaving a leadership void that needed to be filled. Senior DE Marcell Frazier seems up to the task through the first week of #MIZCAMP17.
A great connection with first-year defensive line coach Brick Haley has allowed Frazier to take the next step and get after the quarterback, something he did very well over the final three games last season, registering 6.5 sacks and 7.5 tackles for loss during that span. For Frazier, he wants to continue the tradition of great play from Mizzou’s D-Line while using his leadership to help a young group buy into what #DLineZOU is all about.
“Off the field, it’s more about being a family, taking care of your brother and being a great teammate and if you are, how do you show that you are a great teammate?” Frazier said. “You set your goals and that’s what you want, but when it actually happens, it’s surreal. Like when Charles is standing at the podium like this guy is next, it puts a responsibility automatically on you from a national standpoint.”
While Frazier is ready to take the reins from Harris this season and be the focal point of Mizzou’s defensive line, he knows he still has areas to improve, which is where fall camp comes into play. Luckily, for him, he is learning from one of the best when it comes to teaching defensive lines in Haley.
As you might guess, Brick is not his birth name – it was earned in the housing projects of Alabama when he was a kid. Playing ball with some of the local kids, Haley went diving for a ball head first into – you guessed it – a brick wall. He hit the wall so hard that he was bleeding, but what was even more amazing, is that there was a big piece of the brick ripped out of the wall by Haley’s head. That is when he became Brick Haley.
That legendary toughness is what makes Haley a great coach. Working with his group all camp, one of the first things that became clear to him was that Frazier was ready to carry the torch for #DLineZOU.
“He wants to be the leader that everybody knows he can be,” Haley said of Frazier.
For Haley, much like Frazier, he expects his group to be great.
“Our job is to do the very best that we can to uphold that tradition and the things that we expect from that position. For me, it is a challenge every day, but it is a challenge that I accept willingly.”