Mis­souri LB doesn’t back down

Beisel sus­tains smack on ‘team down south’

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - SPORTS - TOM MUR­PHY ARKANSAS DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE

HOOVER, Ala. — Mis­souri line­backer Eric Beisel knew ex­actly what he was up to in Novem­ber when he ad­vised the Arkansas Ra­zor­backs not to get off the plane in Columbia, Mo.

“I talk a big busi­ness, and I’m ex­cited to go out and back it all up,” Beisel said at SEC me­dia days Wed­nes­day. “So I hope I might have p****d a few peo­ple off and made a few Miz­zou fans ex­cited for the sea­son. That’s the ex­pec­ta­tion, and we’re gonna win a lot of games this year.”

He con­tin­ued his rhetoric re­gard­ing Mis­souri’s bud­ding ri­valry against Arkansas, which he re­ferred to as “the school down south” on sev­eral oc­ca­sions. He also ex­plained why he talks smack.

“I’ve al­ways been like that,” the se­nior said. “It’s al­ways fun. I like to make things a lit­tle bit more per­sonal. But that’s foot­ball, es­pe­cially SEC foot­ball. It’s an en­ter­tain­ment busi­ness, prod­uct driven. It’s our job to give the fans a show.”

Beisel in­ten­tion­ally mis­pro­nounced Arkansas as “Ar-Kansas” and es­sen­tially pre­dicted a vic­tory for his 3-8 Tigers over the 7-4 Ra­zor­backs on the Mon­day of Thanks­giv­ing week last year. Mis­souri ral­lied from a 24-7 half­time deficit to beat the Hogs 28-24 that Fri­day.

“It was pretty ex­cit­ing,” he said. “I turned my so­cial me­dia off the sec­ond I looked at my phone, and I had over 1,000 no­ti­fi­ca­tions from Twit­ter. So ob­vi­ously I stirred the pot a lit­tle bit. I prob­a­bly, I guess you

could call it ‘poked the bear.’ I’d say it’s more pok­ing a cute lit­tle kit­ten with the state we were play­ing.”

Beisel was asked whether he felt pres­sure to back up his com­ments in the Arkansas game.

“Yeah, when we played that team down south, I was hop­ing that would hap­pen,” he said. “I was hop­ing maybe it would serve as a dis­trac­tion. Call it bulletin board ma­te­rial. I’d be glad to have my face on their bulletin board, have their play­ers walk by and see my bright, red beard ev­ery morn­ing.

“But yeah, I hoped it would spark some­thing, and it did. I was get­ting dou­ble, triple teamed ev­ery sin­gle play. What does that do? That leaves Mar­cell Fra­zier un­blocked. That leaves Thomas Wil­son un­blocked. Hey, bring it on. I’ll sac­ri­fice. I’ll sac­ri­fice my life for this team if it means a win.”

Mis­souri Coach Barry Odom said one rea­son he brought Beisel to me­dia days was be­cause he had emerged as a team leader late last sea­son af­ter an in­jury to Michael Scherer. He also ad­mit­ted he wanted to bring a lit­tle hype to me­dia days.

“Also for the Arkansas beat writ­ers, I brought Beisel for that, too, be­cause I un­der­stand we’re sup­posed to flame up that ri­valry a lit­tle bit,” Odom said. “You’re wel­come in ad­vance.”

Mis­souri quar­ter­back Drew Lock and re­ceiver J’Mon Moore said Beisel likes to keep things in­ter­est­ing.

“Eric has a blast with that,” Lock said. “He’s def­i­nitely tak­ing his four years and run­ning with it. He’s def­i­nitely sparked the ri­valry a lit­tle bit.”

Moore said, “We do not like Arkansas. That ri­valry, it just got worse be­fore the game, see­ing them. And then Beisel had his lit­tle thing go­ing on.

See­ing them be­fore the game, it was per­sonal. There was just that ha­tred cul­ture to­wards Arkansas.”

Beisel’s words looked a lit­tle hol­low at half­time when the Univer­sity of Arkansas, Fayet­teville led by 17 points, but the 6-3, 240-pounder from Fen­ton, Mo., said he had a plan for that.

“I saw that game played 1,000 different ways, and that was one of them,” he said. “I wouldn’t have chose that one to be the one, but you know, I think I heard Coach Odom say it, ‘We had them right where we wanted them.’ When we came out, we fin­ished the job and took care of busi­ness.”

Beisel was asked about the nas­ti­est thing said to him on so­cial me­dia re­gard­ing his com­ments about Arkansas.

“Noth­ing I couldn’t han­dle,” he said. “Ob­vi­ously that state down south has such an amaz­ing fan base. I mean, se­ri­ously, hats off to them. They de­serve it. They have an in­cred­i­ble coach in Coach Bielema, an in­cred­i­ble staff and great play­ers. They’re a great team. We just hap­pened to be a bet­ter team that day.

“But just like small things like death threats and things like that. Noth­ing I couldn’t han­dle.”

Beisel, who was given the nick­name “Zeus” in high school, said he was a gla­di­a­tor in a past life. He’s watched the movie Gla­di­a­tor seven or eight times and calls Spar­ta­cus the best show on TV.

A re­porter asked Beisel whether there is a team in his sights this year.

“Any team that thinks they’re go­ing to come into our house, step on our field, run the ball against us, pass the ball against us, stop our of­fense, which is returning 10 starters, Drew Lock lead­ing the pack, that’s dis­re­spect,” he said. “Don’t come to our field and think you’re com­ing out with a win. So any team that does that, they’ll pay for it.”

Beisel

Democrat-Gazette file photo

Mis­souri line­backer Eric Beisel (left) mocked Arkansas days be­fore the teams played last sea­son in Columbia, Mo., and the se­nior con­tin­ued the tough talk about the Ra­zor­backs on Wed­nes­day at SEC me­dia days in Hoover, Ala.

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