HOOVER, Ala. — Missouri linebacker Eric Beisel doesn’t want to look too far ahead into the upcoming season. But he’s excited about where Auburn football lands on the team’s 2017 SEC East slate.
Missouri opens the season with four consecutive home games — the last one coming against Auburn on Sept. 23. Beisel says he sees that as the chance for a perfect start for a Missouri team that went 4-8 a season ago.
“I like the schedule this year,” Beisel said Wednesday at SEC Media Days. “The schedule is set up exactly how we would’ve wished for it to be set up, for what we’re trying to accomplish this year. That’s a valuable tool to have going into the season. That four-game stretch is going to be awesome.”
Auburn will follow Missouri State, South Carolina and Purdue on the Missouri slate. There’s a good chance Gus Malzahn’s Tigers will be the first ranked team Missouri plays in 2017.
That makes the outspoken Beisel’s eyes light up.
“We haven’t really focused on that yet, but I do believe that’s strategically in a valuable spot for us to make a statement,” Beisel said.
The Sept. 23 meeting between the two Tigers will be their first regular-season meeting. The previous two matchups all-time came in the 1973 Sun Bowl and the 2013 SEC Championship Game.
Auburn’s first trip to Columbia, Mo., will also mark a quick return for Greg Brown. The Auburn secondary coach was Missouri’s cornerbacks coach in 2016.
Missouri wide receiver J’Mon Moore said Brown had a positive impact on the team during his short stay in Columbia, and it wasn’t limited to the defensive side of the ball.
“Coach Brown is a great guy,” Moore said. “He knows what he’s talking about. Going against the things he was teaching the DBs, it just helped me as a receiver. I faced some different types of techniques and learned how to get off certain things.”
Beisel also spoke highly of the former Missouri defensive assistant, and he said he was eager to face him as an opponent this fall.
“I really like Coach Brown,” Biesel said. “I thought he was very business-like, very professional, and I thought he put the right players on the field and put us in a position to win a lot of games. It just came down to execution.
“No hard feelings toward him for leaving. We’ve just got to take care of business on our side. We’ll run into him this year, so may the best man win.”
But Beisel, who has made plenty of waves during SEC Media Days, fired a warning to opponents — such as Auburn — who travel to Faurot Field this season looking for a victory.
“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 that returns 10 starters — with Drew Lock leading the pack — that’s disrespect,” Beisel said. “Don’t come to our field thinking you’re coming out with a win. Any team that does that, they’ll pay for it.”