One of the major questions for Missouri entering this season was how senior quarterback Chase Daniel's blind side would be protected. Answer: red-shirt freshman Elvis Fisher.
Fisher began his MU career last Saturday by lining up against Will Davis, Illinois' first-team All-Big Ten defensive end. Fisher, the starting left tackle, held Davis to three tackles and zero sacks.
"We played against a very good defensive front," coach Gary Pinkel said. "I don't know if you can ask much more from Elvis Fisher. Here's a red-shirt freshman that came into a high-octane environment and made the necessary adjustments to be able to focus and compete. He had his wins and losses, but he made a huge statement for himself to be able to do some of the things that he did."
Daniel also said Fisher's performance was huge.
"We knew that he was going to be a high-level player," Daniel said. "He played exceptionally well against a great defensive end that was first-team Big Ten. Not only him, but the entire offensive line played extremely well."
Highly recruited out of high school, it didn't appear at first that Fisher was going to be a Tiger. His father is the radio analyst for the University of South Florida football team, which also gave Fisher his first scholarship offer. When Fisher decided to come to MU, there was not an open spot on the offensive line. But he remained committed to the role and now has a starting spot.
Because it was Fisher's first collegiate start, offensive line coach Dave Christensen was easier on him compared with other offensive linemen.
"I'm going to put more pressure on him now because he's experienced and he's not a rookie anymore," Christensen said. "After the game, I told him that he's not a rookie anymore and that I expect this type of performance every single week."
Fisher's father, Jeff Fisher, traveled from St. Petersburg, Fla., to St. Louis for last week's game.
"He was real happy for me," Fisher said of his father. "I didn't see where he was sitting at the beginning of the game, but when there were a couple of minutes left in the game, I saw him waving at me so I went and talked to him afterwards."
Because Fisher plays a vital role in protecting Daniel, the two have become close friends.
"I don't consider him as just a quarterback or teammate as much as I do a friend of mine, so I need to make sure that he feels safe and that he can trust me," Fisher said.
This weekend against Southeast Missouri State, Fisher will likely line up against senior defensive end Ben Gugler, who had four tackles, including two for a loss, against Southwest Baptist last week.