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November 6, 2013

Eye on the Future

There are three games left in the regular season, perhaps as many as five, for the Missouri Tigers. Every goal is still available for this team. So few are looking to the future.

But in the world of constant turnover that is college football, an eye must always be kept on the future. We talked to three Tigers who are playing limited roles this year, but will be asked to help a 2014 defense that will lose at least five starters.

How much does it help you for the future being out there even for a limited number of snaps?

Michael Scherer: "It's a big benefit. You get out there on the field and it's totally different. There's only so much you can get from practice and from going against your own teammates that really transfers out there to the field. There's a huge difference from just practicing to being able to get some reps no matter what it is. Just being out there on the field and making contact with other people on an other team, that really, really benefits you and just makes you more comfortable."

Duron Singleton: "It helps a lot. Just knowing what the talent level is out there and what I have to do to prepare myself. Next year, it will definitely help me a lot to prepare harder and work in the areas I need to work in."

Donavin Newsom: "It helps out a lot because it lets you know what the plays are, how to run them, what your assignment is. It gets you more involved and keeps your hopes up for playing.

"We got a lot of seniors that's gonna be gone this year so a lot of people are going to have to step up. I think maybe some freshmen might have to be backups, but they'll get some time to play. For people in my grade, I think we're getting more to know all the plays and getting it down pat better so we'll be able to fill those spots."

What are the biggest differences for you between this year and last year?

Singleton: "I think it was more of learning everything. Just everything thrown at you so fast, we change everything every week so it's a constant always learning everything. That's basically the biggest thing. The game, the speed of it is totally different. Coming from junior college, you always have the players on different teams who you go against every other week that's good, but on this level, everybody's good. Everybody's fast, everybody's strong so you have to bring your A game every single game."

"I'm in way better shape. I lost 15 pounds. I can play faster. I know the defense now, so as the season goes on I should get more and more and should be able to help us wherever we need."

Scherer: "It's a lot more fun to show up here all the time and being in practice it's a little more fun. Apart from the winning and losing, we're in the meeting rooms now game planning. We learn different things game planning, you study a lot of film. You learn stuff from doing that and then you also go through the game plan every week in practice. You're not being the scout team anymore, you're preparing for this team that's coming up and so getting those reps and being coached every day on what you're doing wrong, what you're doing right, watching film every day on what you're doing in practice helps a whole lot too."

Newsom: "To me that's a big step. I told my grandfather about it and he was more excited about it than I was that I was off scout team. Yeah, it's a big step."

When you know you're going to get a limited number of snaps, do you put more pressure on yourself to make a play when you're out there?

Newsom: "I'm behind Markus Golden on kickoff and he let me go in a couple plays for him so I had to give it all I got because he asked me to be able to step in for him. He asked me to go in for him because he knew the series right after kickoff he would have to be starting so he didn't want to be tired. I told him I'll go out there and give it all I got for him."

Scherer: "I don't know if you want to put it make something happen. Yeah, you want to make something happen, but you need to do what you're supposed to do. You go out there six, seven plays, which is what's been happening lately, you want to show that you know what you're doing and you're capable of doing what you have to do. Then once you do what you've got to do and you're there, you've got to make a play. You've got to put it all together when you're out there to show that you're capable of being in that position when you're called upon."

Every player here was probably the best player on almost every team he ever played on. Is it tough now being in the position of having to wait your turn?

Singleton: "It is. Basically I was brought in to play early, just learning everything, trying to adjust fast and just learn on the fly really. I feel like I've been getting better. I still got a long way to go but I feel like I'm going in the right direction."

Scherer: "It's tough because you want to be out there, obviously as a competitor and a football player, you want to be out there making plays and be on the field every single play. You know, in high school, I didn't come off the field ever. That part's different, but there's also a part where the whole team thing comes out in you and I feel I'm kind of lucky I get to learn from so many good players and learn so many different things when I'm not out there. Then when I do get my chance I get to do what I can do. You want to be out there, but there is a part that really helps being able to learn from some other guys."

Newsom: "Yeah, it's been tough. I just got done talking to my grandpa about that too. He was like, you just got to wait it out, wait till your time, you just got to understand there's older people more experienced than you that know the position."

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