Tag Archives: Brad McNulty

What to watch for as Missouri takes on South Carolina

Story by Christian Clark, KBIA Sports

Missouri (3-1) begins Southeastern Conference play against No. 13 South Carolina (3-1) on Saturday at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, South Carolina. Here are four things to keep in mind before the Tigers and Gamecocks kick off at 6 p.m.:

  • Marcus Murphy versus South Carolina’s special teams unit: Embarrassing was South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier’s adjective of choice to describe his team’s 48-34 road victory over Vanderbilt last weekend. The Head Ball Coach sounded especially irked by a Gamecocks special teams unit that allowed two kickoff returns to be returned for touchdowns. The Gamecocks’ inability to limit big special teams plays last weekend could bode well for Missouri’s Marcus Murphy. The junior is averaging 39 yards on four kickoff returns this season, including a 100-yarder he took back for a touchdown in Missouri’s season opener.

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Injury knocks out another Missouri lineman

By the Associated Press

Missouri’s Britt out with knee injury

Missouri right tackle Justin Britt will miss the remainder of the season after injuring his right knee against Florida.

The junior starter left the Tigers’ loss at No. 7 Florida in the second quarter Saturday. After the game, coach Gary Pinkel speculated that Britt tore the anterior cruciate ligament in the knee. Pinkel said Monday that the extent of the injury will be known when Britt has surgery Oct. 16.

Backup center Brad McNulty is projected to make his third career start this week at Tennessee while Mitch Morse will shift to right tackle.

Britt and freshman left guard Evan Boehm have been the only offensive linemen to start every game for Missouri (4-5, 1-5 Southeastern Conference).

Mizzou’s young offensive line steps up in Fisher’s absence

darren hellwege logo

Darren Hellwege, Sports Commentator

There was one moment in Missouri’s loss to Georgia that had to break the hearts of Tiger fans. In the second quarter, senior offensive lineman Elvis Fisher collapsed to the turf and had to be helped off. After a long career at Mizzou, Fisher appeared to be done for when he lost last season to a knee injury. However a hardship ruling from the NCAA granted him an extra season. It was a special thing, seeing him get the chance he richly deserved to have a senior season. It has been great for the young offensive linemen to have him around. He was more than just the captain of the linemen, he was almost a father figure, a true coach on the field. Max Copeland, the Tigers outspoken guard, looked to be on the verge of tears as he talked about how awful he felt for Elvis. “Seeing my brother on the ground like that, it was worse than losing the game.” And believe me, this is a guy who hates to lose.

We learned later this week that Fisher might not be lost for the season, after all. But the injury will cost him several weeks, and robs him of the senior season of which he’d dreamed. But the importance of Fisher goes beyond his play on the field on Saturday. The bunch that will line up in front of quarterback James Franklin against Arizona State this weekend is awfully young and inexperienced. Mitch Morse is a sophomore with two starts. Justin Britt is now the old vet, starting all of last season at left tackle and now starting on the right side. The Max Copeland story of walk-on to starter is an inspiration, but he’s still very inexperienced. Brad McNulty is a redshirt freshman and will get his first start this Saturday. And of course, Evan Boehm is the true rarity on a Gary Pinkel team — a true freshman starting on the offensive line.

Those five youngsters are, unless there’s a miracle healing and and senior offensive lineman Jack Meiners comes back quicker than expected, your Missouri Tigers offensive line. But we learned last weekend that there’s more to these guys than youth. Copeland once explained to me how a lineman has to know what all four of his linemates are doing on each play. It makes sense, you don’t want guys crashing into one another, but it means an awful lot of knowledge, almost having to know five times as much as you might think for every play in a fairly complicated offense. So, when Fisher went down, they were ready. McNulty came off the bench to play center, and after starting at center, Morse moved out to tackle. Britt went from right tackle to the left side, where Fisher had been playing.

But everyone made the move and played their new positions without a hitch, against one of the best defensive lines in all of college football. There’s a toughness, a dedication to purpose, in this bunch of linemen. Some is just personal character. A lot of it is great coaching, and the way they’ve handled one injury after another and kept right on doing their jobs is a major tribute to Bruce Walker and Josh Henson, the offensive line coaches in a staff of assistants under Pinkel that frankly are to coaching what Georgia is to defensive line play — among the elite few in the nation.

But that character, that drive, that dedication, also comes from their time with Fisher. Talking with guys like McNulty and Britt about Fisher is like talking with a small child about Santa, There’s a level of respect, admiration, and yes love they all hold for their leader that cannot be shaken, and it’s well-earned. Every player on the Missouri offensive line is a better football player for having spent time learning from and with Fisher. And more than that, they’re better men. I don’t know what career path Fisher has in mind, but there is a “stuff” that the very best coaches are made of, and Fisher has it in spades. Copeland said it best — small wonder, there’s little he can’t say best — when he said “I’d ride into battle with him anytime.”

When you say “intelligent football player” some might snicker. Others might assume we’re talking about a quarterback, or free safety. The brutes who line up in the trenches, the guys who can bench press a Volvo and spend their days beating the daylights out of one another, you don’t expect to find a lot of functioning brain cells down that way.

You’d be surprised. If you thought linemen were just big tough guys who went out and hit the guy across from them, you couldn’t be more wrong. These are intelligent guys. Copeland’s a physics major, McNulty’s studying psychology. Britt was on the Academic All-Big 12 second team last season, and Morse was first team Academic All-Conference.

So, when someone refers to the brains behind the Mizzou Tigers football team, don’t limit it to the guy calling the plays. There’s a lot of smarts in the offensive line, too.

Elvis Fisher’s knee injury will not end his season

The third time around, Mizzou lineman knows how to rehab

By Peter Marek

Elvis Fisher mug shot

Elvis Fisher

Elvis Fisher, a sixth-year senior offensive lineman for the Missouri Tigers football team, was forced to sit out for the entirety of the 2011 season with a ruptured patellar tendon in his left knee. During the second quarter in Missouri’s SEC opener against the Georgia Bulldogs, Fisher sprained the MCL in his right knee.  “It’s serious, but not as serious as I thought it was going to be,” said Fisher.

At Monday’s weekly media day coach Gary Pinkel announced that Fisher’s MCL injury will keep him off the field indefinitely.  “The good news is he can get back, it’s a sprained ligament, it just takes time,” Pinkel said.

After having an MRI and learning that he did not need surgery but instead several weeks of rehab, Fisher felt a big relief. “Shoot, sign me up for that.  I’ll take that any day of the week.”

“I’m just going to be doing rehab three times a day, just like I used to be doing and I’ll get back out there as soon as I can,” Fisher said.

Fisher not only brings talent to the offensive line, but also a lot of experience.  He has been big role model for the younger players to look up to.  “Elvis rubs off a ton on us, he’s the lead wolf in the pack,” said Brad McNulty, a fellow offensive linemen and Fisher’s roommate.

With out Fisher in the depth chart, the Tigers top 10 offensive linemen includes two upperclassmen, and both are only juniors.

All of the offensive linemen are trained to play each position on the line just in case of injuries. With Fisher out there were adjustments in positions. Mitch Morse moved from center into Fisher’s position and McNulty, a redshirt freshman, came off the bench to play center. “We take very great pride in being tough, and I think we’ve proven that so far.  We just have to be versatile and role with the punches,” McNulty said.

Justin Britt , a redshirt junior, will be taking over the left tackle position during Fisher’s absence.

Until Fisher is healthy enough to return to the field, he will do everything he can to help his teammates best protect their offense.  “I’ll be out there helping out with the line, working on technique and helping out where ever I can,” said Fisher.