Missouri defensive line coach Brick Haley lost his best player to the NFL draft, but he’s not expecting any sympathy cards this season. The Tigers have seven senior scholarship players across the defensive front, including all four likely starters.

With first-team All-Southeastern Conference tackle Jordan Elliott now with the Cleveland Browns — the junior was a third-round pick in April — the spotlight turns to his former neighbor in the trenches, Kobie Whiteside.

The senior nose tackle from Houston is one of the most productive returning defensive linemen in the SEC. No returning player in the conference last year totaled more than his team-high 6.5 sacks. For a defensive front that’s struggled to mount a consistent pass rush off the edge, Whiteside and Elliott overwhelmed offenses up the middle. This year, Whiteside won’t have the luxury of playing alongside a proven playmaker.

“I’m trying to be more of a technician,” Whiteside said. “When it comes down to pass rush, I’ve got to find my best four moves, try to refine them. Every day in practice, just keep trying, keep trying, so I can become a bit better pass rusher, a better run stopper. Hopefully, people can see that.”

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