TIGER KICKOFF: MU defensive lineman making name for himself

Friday, October 15, 2010 | 5:00 a.m. CDT; updated 10:42 a.m. CDT, Friday, October 15, 2010

COLUMBIA — Junior defensive end Jacquies Smith was supposed to be the second best Smith on the Missouri football team's line. But with Aldon Smith, last year’s Big 12 Defensive Freshman of the Year, sidelined the past two weeks with a broken fibula, Jacquies Smith has stepped up his game.

Last week against Colorado, Jacquies Smith recorded four tackles, including two for a loss. He’s filled Aldon Smith’s void on the field. It’s making up for his mouth that’s the real challenge.

“Yeah I take more initiative to just be more assertive,” Jacquies Smith said. “When he’s (Aldon) out there, he’s a big part of what we’re doing on defense. When he’s out of there, I feel like I take it upon myself as a challenge to be out there and to be one of those productive guys like he was.”

With two non-starters, Michael Sam and Brad Madison, getting more playing time, Jacquies Smith said he’s felt more like a leader than ever before.

“I’m just being more assertive out there,” Jacquies Smith said. “With Aldon and a few guys out on our defense, coach put a little pressure on me to basically step my game up.

At the same time, he’s trying to get his teammates to step up their games.

“Coach is always on me about my intensity, and basically just showing and leading the way for our way for our defensive line,” Jacquies Smith said.

But senior linebacker Andrew Gachkar said he’s not looking for Jacquies Smith to take over Aldon’s leadership role.

“I’d say half of our defense is really yanked up and then half is mellow, like Jacquies, which is good,” Gachkar said. “It makes it equal. He keeps it easy which makes other players see that and keep it calm on the field. He’s never really stressing out or anything like that.”

Typically, Jacquies Smith said it takes a lot of work to get him in the proper state for a game.

“It takes a lot of mental preparation for me,” he said. “I have to get in the zone. Before the game or once I go out there it’s just letting it out.”

But this week, with the Tigers playing in Texas, Jacquies Smith’s home state, he said getting amped up for the game won’t be an issue. 

“I know it’s loud, I know it’s rocking down there,” he said. “Being in my home state, I want to go down there and prove myself.”

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