Pinkel expects a challenge in Tempe

During the weekly Big 12 coaches' conference call Missouri head coach, Gary Pinkel, addressed the Tigers' season opener performance, the future of the Big 12 conference and the upcoming road contest at Arizona State.

Q: How do you prepare your first-year starting quarterback, James Franklin, for his first road game in what should be a hostile environment and against a very aggressive Arizona State defense?

A: "You always prepare for those types of things. That's the arena that he will probably be in for the remainder of the season. We are playing a very good Arizona State defensive football team. It's a great place to play. We were at the stadium for our (2010 Insight) bowl game. I was a Pac-10 guy and played quite a few games there (at Sun Devil stadium), so we'll just prepare like we normally do. He (Franklin) is working to try and become a better player and he will."

Q: James Franklin was a little critical of himself about how he performed last week. What did you think of him in his first start and what he got done out there?

A: "I thought he did a lot of good things. He made some really good throws. He missed a couple of throws and that will happen. I think he's a very talented guy that is going to be a heck of a player. My concern on offense is not so much him, but that we had a lot of breakdowns. We had a few penalties, we were inconsistent and you end up with negative plays. Everybody has to work to get better and that's what we are going to do. I think he will be fine."

Q: What did you think of Franklin's running on some of the designed plays and do you think that this can continue and be a big part of your offense this year?

A: "Not a big part, but it will be a part of what we do because we do want to utilize his abilities. I thought he did a good job there. He has to be smart about how he's running as far as how he's going down. But we're not going to run him 15, 20 times a game. That's not going to happen and that's not the type of quarterback he is. Depending on what kind of defense we play we'll continue to look at those options."

Q: With your offensive line having to be shifted a little, what are some the challenges you see coming up this week with Arizona State's defense?

A: "I think first of all we have two new players starting at left guard and left tackle, in Jack Meiners and Justin Britt. They did a lot of good things in the game (versus Miami-Ohio) and we just need a little more consistency from them. Jayson Palmgren started a lot but was playing first time at center, so that's all different for all three of these guys.

"Anytime you go out and compete, there are things you do well and there are things you need to improve. They are going to continue and work hard. We understand that we are going to play a lot of people, like Arizona State, that are really good football teams and that is just the arena that we live in. We're going to try and improve and play better, and hopefully we will."

Q: Are you expecting to get offensive lineman Travis Ruth back for this week's game?

A: "No, we won't get him back."

Q: Can you talk a little about what you think Arizona State might do schematically in terms of what you are looking at in this game?

A: "If you look at Arizona State, on offense their quarterback is a real good player. I am very impressed with him as I see him play. Their receivers have great speed and are impressive with that. Their running back is a really good player. They have a talented and very experienced group of players there.

"They have great players on defense and they play a very aggressive defense. We have to get our game plan, go and compete and we're excited about the opportunity."

Q: Can you give us a status update on defensive lineman Jacquies Smith and linebacker Will Ebner?

A: "Both of these guys will be out for this game."

Q: What do you make of all the talk about the realignment and how it affects the Big 12?

A: "I have absolutely no control over what is happening. I've been very honest and forthcoming with some of the things I have said about the Big 12 and I'm just going to focus on our big game this week against Arizona State."

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