On Monday afternoon, Coach Pinkel met with the media, and addressed injuries, the depth chart, and other issues, as his team prepares for this Saturday's conference opener against Colorado.
Aldon Smith is out for this week's game, as he continues to recover from a broken fibula. Coach Pinkel was unwilling to try to project when Smith will return. Neither Jasper Simmons nor Jimmy Burge are listed on this week's depth chart, as both have been suspended indefinitely, and will miss this game. Everyone else appears healthy. Luke Lambert is listed as probable on the depth chart, at MLB, where he's listed second, behind Will Ebner. Zaviar Gooden is listed as the starter at WLB, where he played against Miami (OH), when Lambert was unable to go at game time. Andrew Gachkar is backed up by the rapidly improving Andrew Wilson at SLB. Mark Hill is listed third, behind Elvis Fisher and Kirk Lakebrink, at the left tackle position. Good for Hill, who has worked his way back from injury a couple of times already at Missouri. George White is listed second, behind Dominique Hamilton, on the nose, and both Marvin Foster and Bart Coslet are listed (3rd at DT and NT, respectively) on the depth chart.Coach Pinkel answered a question pertaining to Missouri's rise in the polls.
"I don't really look at that," said Coach Pinkel. "I want to be in the polls at the end of the year. I know our fans like that kind of stuff. We know it's very fleeting, if we don't take care of business."
Coach Pinkel responded to a question about what's different about this year's defense?
"We're still running our base defense," began Coach Pinkel. "There are some coverage differences. Some pressure. Everybody tweaks their defense, but we didn't change defensive schemes. If you have good players, they mature from year to year. They get better................... We'll judge our offense and our defense and every phase at the end of the season. We've got a lot of challenges out there............... But, I'm pleased that we're playing better, and more aggressively, and more physical.
Coach Pinkel addressed the "too many penalties", citing a lack of discipline as the underlying problem to be corrected. He said that he "had a frank talk" with the team about that, and insisted that he will get the problem corrected.
Coach Pinkel answered a question about whether there is more parity in the Big 12 from top to bottom this year.
"Maybe," began Coach Pinkel. "You know, we'll see. It's hard to judge on one or two games. The league will sort itself out, as it always does, after four or five weeks. You've got a lot of good coaches in this league, and they do a good job of recruiting, and building programs. It's the exciting part about conference play................ Strapping it on week (after week). I look for the league to be very, very strong."
Coach Pinkel fielded a question as to why he has had a succession of quality players at the QB position.
"I've always been fortunate in my whole career in that way," answered Coach Pinkel. "I don't know why. It's probably good though, in my business, to be strong in that area................ That guy's got to produce, especially in our offense............... I've always been associated with good QBs. I think Dave Yost does a great job of training them. I think we attract, we're attracting higher level QBs here now, because of the success that we've had. And hopefully, it'll continue."
Coach Pinkel talked about the Tigers' offensive line.
"I think all of them are doing a good job," began Coach Pinkel. "I think together, they've done a good job.................. We have a lot of experience there. We should play well in our offensive line. Because I think we've got a good offensive line. Obviously, you've got to do it every week. But, they're good. And, they should play well, and they should play consistently well. And, that's what our expectation level is.................... My level of expectation is very, very high. They should be good. And, they should play at a very high level."
Coach Pinkel down-played the fact that about two-thirds of Blaine Gabbert's passes have gone to Missouri's top two receivers. He said that it's not a problem, as long as it works. He did say however, that he'd like to get more guys involved, and mentioned wanting to get the ball to their "athletes". Then, he started talking about Jerrell Jackson, who is no longer wearing a cast on his hand.
"I think we could diversify a little bit," said Coach Pinkel. "If you throw it around to different people, I think overall, it helps you. I don't really see that to be a problem. I'd just like to incorporate some of our athletes in it, if we can."