Defense — A leader in the middle with more help surrounding
The defense for the Tigers could bring some issues this season, but they hope they have their problems fixed from last year.
Missouri had one of the weakest secondaries in the conference, but the Tigers actually bring in the most depth in years and feel the group could be a strong unit in 2019.
Mizzou will run a 4-2-5 defense, with an extra safety in the line of defense instead of a traditional three-linebacker set.
The extra safety is split between Khalil Oliver and Ronnell Perkins — both have plenty of experience. Tyree Gillespie and Joshuah Bledsoe form a tandem at the other safety positions that the coaches believe will bring success to those spots, something they haven’t had too much of in recent years.
At cornerback, Mizzou has three capable starters in DeMarkus Acy, Jarvis Ware and Christian Holmes.
Acy hopes to be selected in one of the early rounds of next year’s draft, while Ware beat out Holmes for the starting nod this summer. Holmes stared eight games last season, and the defense immediately improved. Ware’s jump could only make the Tigers that much better as he brings length and speed to the Tigers.
At linebacker, the Tigers have a good one in Cale Garrett.
He has 252 tackles in his career and is a first-team All-SEC selection by the coaches. The defense will start and end with Garrett, who also ended last year as first-team All-SEC by Pro Football Focus. Next to him is Nick Bolton, who is a new starter with plenty of special teams experience from last season.
As for the defensive line, a unit known as “D-Lin Zou” over the years, the Tigers have one of the best defensive tackles in the SEC in Jordan Elliott. Next to Elliott is Kobie Whiteside, who could be swapped in for Akial Byers, a player who can switch positions along the line for Mizzou.
Chris Turner and Trajan Jeffcoat are the defensive ends, with Tre Williams and Jatorian Hansford in a reserve role.