football Edit

Shipp ready to make his mark

As politely as possible, Jackie Shipp scoffed at the question:

Does Missouri’s development into a defensive-line factory surprise you?

Shipp (not pictured) inherits a young defensive line in his first year on the job.
Shipp (not pictured) inherits a young defensive line in his first year on the job.

His answer was a short soliloquy, starting with his familiarity of Missouri. He grew up in Stillwater, Okla. He played at Oklahoma. He’s coached all across the nation.

“I’ve been watching Missouri for an awful long time,” Shipp said. “...I think Missouri’s had good defensive linemen for a number of years.”

He starts listing off names. Wendell Ray. Jerome Salley. Jeff Gaylord. Bobby Bell, Jr.

“I played with a guy named Jeff Cross that I don’t here anybody talking about here,” Shipp said, “that ended up being a Pro Bowler, and came here. So I think Missouri’s always had good football players. I think they’ve had good defensive linemen and they’ve gotten better and better as time goes along. So, no, it was no surprise, but most definitely, do you about the guys that got drafted out of here? Do you watch them on television or what have you? Most definitely.

“But the University of Missouri’s had players for years. I don’t think it just started 15 years ago.”

Shipps familiarity with Missouri’s history serves him well. He has to replace Craig Kuligowski, the architect of Missouri turning into “D-Line Zou,” a run of success with different defensive linemen year in and year out. Shipp knows what he walked into. He’s not coming in and trying to erase the legacy of Coach Kul.

“You’re going to be respectful for what he did,” Shipp said. “Be respectful for what he did and what he’s done with those guys over that period of time. You never come in here and make the mistake -- ‘Oh, we’re going to do it this way, we’re going to do it that way.’ No. You’re respectful of what they’ve done and they know I respect everything they’ve done, but I’m going to change this up and I’m showing you why.

“I’m showing you why this can help you right here.”

Shipp was a surprise hire, following the quick back-door exit made by Chris Wilson to the Philadelphia Eagles. But even in the short time he’s been on the staff -- just over a month -- his players see similarities between Shipp and Kuligowski.

“I feel like they both got the same mindset of just making their guys better, being great coaches, keeping a good mindset,” defensive end Nate Howard said. “They both pay attention to the details a lot, so they feel like the small things make a big difference, so we notice that when we come out here on the field and see it.”

“They expect a lot of work, regardless of who you are,” defensive tackle Josh Moore said.

Shipp certainly pays attentions to the details. He said some of the changes he’s made came to technique and fundamentals. He also has ideas on how defensive linemen could be used.

“I always thought why can’t a defensive linemen be like a linebacker?,” Shipp said. “Why can’t you start him back in a stance, in a formation and those different types of things, and give yourself an advantage? Doing some different things like that.

“We’ll change up some different things by understanding how the game is played and what happens.”

As the players feel out their new coach, Shipp is feeling out his players. He’s been in charge of some dominant defensive lines throughout his career, so he knows talent.

“They’re up there with them,” Shipp said. “Now, you’ll never get me to make a comparison. People have been trying to get me to do that for years, but they’re right up there with some of the good ones I’ve had, most definitely.

“Being from Missouri, I’m sure you’ve seen some of them through the years, huh?”