Missouri Tigers head coach Gary Pinkel was impressed with Missouri DE Aldon Smith on Saturday afternoon against Illinois. Pinkel put Smith at defensive tackle and defensive end as he spied quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase.
In the first half, it was clear that Scheelhaase's only weapon was running the ball. Smith and the Mizzou defensive line took that into account and held Scheelhaase to -6 yards rushing in the second half.
"We utilized his athleticism," Pinkel said of Smith. "It doesn’t surprise me. I told people a year ago we’ve only seen a glimpse of how good this guy can be. Again, you see these great numbers in this game but he’ll get a lot better. The reason is he’s got a great attitude. And he’s got great work ethic. The combination of those two things will allow a great athlete to really develop. I’m really excited and happy for him."
He was the Walter Camp defensive player of the week. He's been put on preseason watch lists so he's no secret. People know he's supposed to be good.
He took the first step to being good in week one with two sacks and another for loss totaling 12 yards lost. He also added 10 tackles. Scheelhaase was one of Illinois' few weapons and Smith helped take him out spying him in the second quarter and later.
The result was the -6 rushing yards in the second half.
I've generally mentioned Blaine Gabbert when talking about future NFL players but Aldon Smith is as good as any. He's having a terrific start to the 2010 season.
Mizzou nominated Smith for the Big 12 defensive player of the week.