On Monday afternoon, Coach Pinkel met with the media, and updated everyone on the injury situation. Luke Lambert is out for the Kansas State game, and Jeff Gettys is out for the season, both with knee injuries. Kevin Rutland experienced back spasms, and was unable to play the second half last Saturday, but is expected to play against Kansas State. A little later, Rutland answered a question about his back.
"(It's) just spasms," replied Rutland. "The same thing happened to me during two-a-days. Hopefully, I'll get over it in time for the game, so I'll be fine."
Coach Pinkel indicated that there are "bumps and bruises" throughout the team, but that everyone else is expected to play.
Coach Pinkel addressed a question about the perceived failure of Missouri's receivers to get open, especially against man coverage.
"I thought we got open pretty good in that game, after looking at it on film," replied Coach Pinkel. "I thought we did a pretty good job of that. I think a lot of times, if your passing game is out of sync, it's either protection. There's different parts to it. There's protection. It's routes. It's throwing. It's catching. It's timing. It's all of the above. We just got to work through it............... We've got to execute better."
Coach Pinkel said that they have to continue to throw the ball down the field in order to open things up closer to the line of scrimmage, and the running game. He admitted that when you don't complete those long throws, it puts you in a disadvantageous down and distance situation. He said that what they needed to do was to complete some of them.
"We're just not executing well enough," said Coach Pinkel. "If you say we didn't run it enough, or we didn't throw it enough, or didn't throw it down the middle enough, obviously it didn't work, so we didn't.................... We're going to continue to throw the ball down the field, and we're going to work hard to get better at it."
Coach Pinkel defended his decision to stick with his starting QB, despite his obvious struggles.
"He had some struggles," acknowledged Coach Pinkel. "He's not perfect, but he's still a good player, and he's got my support 100%................... Some people say I'm loyal, and all of those other things. I'm committed to one thing, and that's our football program. And, the decisions that I make is for the football program.................. I've got to make those decisions, and I feel very comfortable, generally, with the decisions I make.""
Coach Pinkel pointed out that the offensive inconsistency wasn't entirely on Blaine Gabbert. He talked about protection, route running, and catching the football as components in the difficulties that they experienced in their passing game on Saturday. "Missed opportunities" was a phrase utilized by Coach Pinkel and others to describe the Tigers' offensive ineptitude last Saturday.
"I think it was execution," explained Coach Pinkel. "The thing about our offense, when you have one mistake by a particular player, it can affect the whole football play. The defense has a chance to cover up mistakes a little bit more. Our offensive execution was very inconsistent. Sometimes it was the throw, or the route, or we dropped the football, or protection forced us to throw the ball quicker. A lot of things happened there. It was unfortunate because we had not been that inefficient in quite some time. We're going to work hard in practice to try and correct it."
Coach Pinkel laughed when he talked about critics of the play calling.
"When it doesn't work," deadpanned Coach Pinkel. "It was the wrong play."