Last week following surgery, Missouri coach Barry Odom said LB Cale Garrett is the heart and soul of the program, and an integral part of the defense. But this week, the coach shared how Garrett has behaved since the surgery to repair a torn pectoral muscle.

Before the injury against Troy 2 weeks ago, Garrett was a legitimate contender for SEC Defensive Player of the Year.

“We had to force him to stay overnight after the procedure,” Odom said at his regular Tuesday press conference. “That was a battle within itself, to try to get him to stay, but we tricked him and got him to stay overnight. Then the next morning, he was out there on the field at 8:30 ready to go and asking where his whistle was. We got him a whistle, and he’s obviously a huge part of what we’re going to continue to do. Not only on the defensive side, but the functioning of our program.”

Garrett, in his fourth year at Missouri, was coming off an All-SEC (Pro Football Focus) 2018 season, and had defensive scores in 3 games already. Against Troy, Garrett had 2 interceptions (including a pick-six), six total tackles (3 TFL) and two quarterback hurries.

At the point of his injury, Garrett led the Tigers with 43 tackles, which was tied for second in the SEC, and also has a team-high three interceptions, as a key player on the defense.