COLUMBIA, Mo (KMIZ)
Many aspects of MU football have changed over the past few months, but the defense is not one of them.
It is moving forward with much of the same staff and schemes, but also a new leader.
Nick Bolton isn't an unfamiliar name to Tiger fans.
“He is the guy. Nick Bolton is Nick Bolton. That’s all he needs to be for us,” said defensive coordinator Ryan Walters.
You can watch the full interview with Ryan Walters in the video player below.
Bolton finished off the 2019 season as the SEC's top-rated linebacker, even through taking on an expanded role in the loss of Cale Garrett.
“There’s a lot of things that goes unseen, a lot of things that Cale did that I really didn’t understand that he did," Bolton said.
A shoulder injury cut Garrett's senior season short in October 2019. After that, Bolton said he knew he had to step up.
“Things as little as just encouraging teammates when they make a bad play. I tell them they’ve got a lot more plays out there to make," he said.
The linebacker added that he feels the leadership experience he gained last season, in Garrett's absence, will help him this year.
Even through one week of fall camp, his teammates had high praise for the junior.
“Nick Bolton is the biggest communicator, he kind of relays everything to the line," said Tre Williams, a senior defensive lineman.
You can watch the full interview with Tre Williams in the video player below.
Sophomore safety Martez Manuel said Bolton is someone he looks up to on a daily basis.
"Nick Bolton's leadership, his physicality, is something that I respect and drive to be like," he said.
You can watch the full interview with Martez Manuel in the video player below.
It would be pretty easy to feel the pressure of preseason All-American and All-SEC status, as well as a leadership position, but Bolton said it all adds to his drive.
"It's still the same motivation I had last year," he said. "My chip on my shoulder has been up since I got dropped from my dream school coming out of high school. That chip on my shoulder is the only thing I really need to motivate me day-in and day-out and to try to be a better teammate and help my team win football games."
You can watch the full interview with Nick Bolton in the video player below.
We also spoke with defensive line coach Brick Haley and linebackers coach D.J. Smith. You can watch those interview in the video players below.