Missouri's Rucker Trains for Shot at Pros
The loss still bothers the Ruckers because Mike was only three points away from a Super Bowl ring."He's where I want to be," Rucker said, "And he knows what it takes to get there."
And Rucker almost ended up there this off-season by flirting with the idea of declaring for the NFL draft. "They projected me to go in the 5th round," Rucker declared.
But Rucker ended up back in Columbia. His big brother told him to spend the next year hitting the weight room. Now he hopes to lead Mizzou to a Big 12 North title. Rucker says the hardest part of his team's off-season preparation isn't the heavy lifting, it's being up before the sun for early morning workouts.
"I don't think anyone likes waking up at 5 o'clock in the morning every Tuesday and Thursday."
Practice starts at 6 a.m, and while running and conditioning take their toll, the mat drills are the true test. "The mats are definetly the toughest," Rucker confesses. "We don't even call it winter conditioning, we just call it the mats, that's where the men are made."
And that's where the team develops its mental edge. "I think they work on your mental toughness on those drills," said starting quarterback Chase Daniel. "You might do it perfect and they'll send you back to see how you respond."
And Rucker hopes the early workouts will help them late in games. The Missouri Black and Gold Game is April 21st at 2 p.m.