Junior E.J. Gaines and fifth-year senior Kip Edwards might be the best pair of corners to play at Missouri. There's no question that they are a major component of what Coach Pinkel referred to earlier this week as the best defense he's had during his time at Missouri.
One feature of Missouri's best pair of corners is that Gaines and Edwards are trusted by the coaching staff to play more man-to-man coverage than Missouri has played in recent years.
"They're definitely great receivers," said Gaines, talking about Patterson and Hunter. "And, they have a great quarterback, too."
"It kind of takes me a little bit back to the Big 12 days, playing the Oklahomas and Oklahoma States, where they're going to put the ball in the air a lot," said Gaines, talking about playing a Tennessee offense that is averaging 323 passing yards/game. "I'm excited this week!"
Missouri is coming off of a very physical performance at Florida, and Edwards and Gaines are two of the more physical Tigers. Edwards said that being physical is "just a mindset and a swagger". Gaines talked about how they'll approach Tennessee.
"I mean, we've played big receivers before," explained Gaines. "So, I'm sure (Coach Ford) is going to tell us the same thing, which is to be physical with them. That's kind of what it comes down to at the line of scrimmage is being physical with them, and being on top, and having hip to hip coverage, and playing great man to man coverage. We've been playing a lot of man to man coverage, and I'm sure we will again this week. I'm just excited to play great receivers with a great quarterback!.............................................................. I'm definitely (looking forward to the challenge)."
"They're going to be throwing the football," exclaimed Edwards, smiling as he thought of the challenge. "That's their (modus operandi). We as a secondary, and as a defense, we have to step up and answer that bell………………………………………………. I'm looking forward to Saturday."
Edwin Gaines said that he gets excited when Edwards makes a play on the other side of the field. He called Edwards his "brother".
"He gets excited for me, too," said Gaines.