LSU defensive end Jermauria Rasco (59) bats down a pass by Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel (2) in the first half of an NCAA college football game in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) By Gerald Herbert
COLLEGE STATION, TX - NOVEMBER 24: Johnny Manziel #2 of the Texas A&M Aggies is taken down by E.J. Gaines #31 of the Missouri Tigers at Kyle Field on November 24, 2012 in College Station, Texas. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images) By Scott Halleran
(Missouri Football App) – The Mizzou defense is facing its toughest test of season.
Stopping Johnny Manziel is priority #1 #2 and #3 for Dave Steckel’s defense. “Stopping” isn’t the right word. You can’t really stop Manziel; you can only contain him.
Manziel has made the best defense in college football look silly. Despite that, there is a blueprint to limit him, a blueprint LSU followed last week.
“He’s a great player, we all know that. I don’t know if you ever truly stop him,” Mizzou head coach Gary Pinkel said. “LSU did a good job though. Everybody will say do exactly what LSU did. I don’t think every team and every player is perfect all the time. He’s such a great player. “
The biggest key to holding the Heisman winner in check is to force him to stay in the pocket. Opposing defenses should not allow him to use his legs to extend plays. Missouri is equipped to do just that. It features a defense line that gets up the field and applies pressure.
The Tigers must also stay disciplined in their pass coverage. Even if they are able to keep Manziel in the pocket, they will still be dealing with a good pocket passer.
Finally, the defense must continue to take the ball away. Manziel has thrown 13 interceptions in 2013 and is turnover prone on both good and bad days.