Missouri LB doesn’t back down
Beisel sustains smack on ‘team down south’
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.”
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.