On Monday, Coach Pinkel met with the media for his weekly update on injuries, the depth chart, and the state of Missouri football.
Aldon Smith will miss the Miami (OH) game, and may be able to return against Colorado. Smith sustained a small hairline fracture of his fibula, a non weight-bearing bone in the lower leg, late in Saturday's game. Brad Madison will get the start in place of Smith, but in reality it sounds like Madison will split plays evenly with Michael Sam. Marcus Malbrough will back up Jacquies Smith on the other side, but the playing time there will be slanted more toward Smith. Brayden Burnett is listed on the depth chart, and may see some action at DE. Coach Pinkel talked about his defensive ends.
"Michael Sam, obviously, is doing a good job," said Coach Pinkel. "(Brad) Madison has got a great motor. He might not be the fastest of the six there, but he is really quick off the football............... Marcus Malbrough has done a very good job."
Luke Lambert is listed as probable for Saturday's game, and is listed as the starter at the SLB position. Andrew Gachkar has moved back over to the WLB position, and Zaviar Gooden is listed as Gachkar's back-up. Will Ebner, coming off of a big game against SDSU, will start in the middle. I'll bet we see these four LBs move around some during this week's game. For example, Lambert may play some in the middle, and Gachkar could alternate between the two outside spots.
Jasper Simmons is listed as questionable for Saturday's game, and will be re-evaluated during this week to see if he can play.
Coach Pinkel reflected some on last Saturday's game in response to questions about the offensive efficiency.
"We had some great opportunities," began Coach Pinkel. "We had some drops................. I looked at ten different opportunities that were thirty or more yards. I mean, just play catch, and we have ten thirty-plus yard completions more. And, that was very conservative. And, that's just not Blaine (Gabbert). That's maybe he was rushed out a little bit, or maybe he missed a little bit, or we had some drops. So, it's a combination of all of those things, and just being in sync, and being able to do all of those things."
"And the quarterback, he's not perfect," Coach Pinkel continued. "He's not going to go out there and every thing's going to be perfect all of the time. And, I think that one thing that you want to do is, and we talk to him about is, even if you're not playing your best................. What you want to get to the point is where you still do good quarterbacking. In other words, you don't throw an interception. You don't force the ball. So, maintain that good quarterbacking. That's what we call it. And, not do things to hurt the team."
"(Blaine Gabbert) did a lot of great things," Coach Pinkel concluded. "And by the way, when it's time to drive and hit Jerrell Jackson for a twenty-yard gain, and throw another completion to give us an opportunity to win the game, he was right on. That throw to Jerrell was a great throw and a great catch. That was the one that got it going................ When he had to do it for his football team, he did. And, I think that says an awful lot about him when you're kind of just not in sync. And, he wasn't the only one not in sync. Our whole passing game was not in sync."
Coach Pinkel indicated that he wants to get Jerrell Jackson more involved in the passing game, to go along with Michael Egnew and T.J. Moe. He thinks that Jackson will recover physically, and will be able to fill that role.
Coach Pinkel praised SDSU's freshman RB, Ronnie Hillman, as a "heckuva player", but insisted that the Tigers just can't continue to give up big plays. However, he lauded the defense for their overall play last Saturday.
"In the fourth quarter, our defense gave us a chance to win the game," said Coach Pinkel. "We had three turnovers in the fourth quarter. In a close game, I don't know, in college football, if any team's ever won with three turnovers in the fourth quarter. But, our defense gave up three points on those three turnovers. And, that gave us a chance. That gave us a chanced to win the football game."