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‘No Matter What’: Mizzou OL Xavier Delgado Wants Offensive Priorities Straight

Even after helping produce the SEC’s leading-rusher last season, Delgado isn’t satisfied unless it results in wins.

If there's one piece of optimism the Missouri Tigers can take away from last season's 6-7 record, it was the ability to run the ball well. 

Veteran fifth-year offensive lineman Xavier Delgado had a lot to do with this, but clearly thinks there's work to be done in a conference as elite as the SEC when he spoke to the media Thursday. 

And despite Mizzou producing the SEC's leading rusher last season - former Tiger and current Baltimore Ravens running back Tyler Badie easily paced the conference with 1,604 rushing yards - Delgado feels that an emphasis on running the ball more effectively is one of the team's top priorities. 

"Definitely running the ball for sure,” Delgado said. “Establishing the run game is important in the SEC. If you want to win games in the SEC you have to run the ball. If they know that you're gonna run the ball, we gotta be able to run the ball and make plays with it no matter what."

The team-wide focus on having a rushing attack that results in wins has been something that assistant head coach and running game coordinator Marcus Johnson has drilled into the heads of everyone on the offensive line.

"That's one of the big emphasis that Coach Johnson made is establishing the run game cause that's a big way to win games,” Delgado said.

Delgado made four starts in conference play last season and certainly knows from experience how tough these trenches can be. 

Mizzou failed to have a 100-yard rusher in six of the team’s seven losses last season. And in five of the six wins, the Tigers had a 100-yard rusher. The correlation is easy to see.

Delgado is clearly aware of this. And with his veteran leadership paving the way for success up front, the Tigers could be set for a season of similar rushing production with hopefully a few more wins as a result. 

You can follow Zach Dimmitt on Twitter at @ZachDimmitt7

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