On Monday, Coach Pinkel met with the media, and updated everyone on the injury situation, as the Tigers head into the final week of the regular season. Coach Pinkel mentioned Luke Lambert, who is out, and said that they are looking into a medical red-shirt that would allow Lambert to return for another season. He said that Will Ebner would probably be ready to play this week. He was scratched at Iowa State just before game time due to a neck strain. He's still playing with the broken bone in his foot. Everyone's beaten up, but it's all hands on deck.
Coach praised Jarrell Harrison's attitude in playing both safety and linebacker against Iowa State, and said that Harrison told him he'd play wherever they need him. Tavon Bolden and Matt White each saw considerable playing time last week, and are listed as the primary back-ups, behind Harrison and Kenji Jackson.
There's no school this week, so the team focus is all on football, at least according to Coach Pinkel. Players will be allowed to go home after early practice on Thursday, and will return Friday morning to bus to Kansas City. Players whose homes are close will likely host many of those who live too far away to make that quick turn-around. Aldon Smith is one who indicated that he expected to take some of his teammates home with him.
Coach Pinkel confirmed that Andrew Gachkar and Zaviar Gooden had played the entire game at Iowa State. Gachkar said that he expected to have Will Ebner back in the rotation this week. Coach Pinkel praised the job that Andrew Wilson is doing, and talked about him having a very bright future at Missouri.
"I think (Wilson's) doing a great job," said Coach Pinkel. "You know, he's a smart guy. He's really a tough guy. He's a very physical football player. With that, and obviously, loving to play the position, and working real hard, I think he's turning into a really good player, with a great future. You know, he's just a very young player."
Coach Pinkel talked about the deliberation that occurred leading up to the fake punt.
"We made the decision before the time out," explained Coach Pinkel. "It was made based on the personnel they had on the field. That was all discussed on Thursday, so we just had to make sure they were lined up the way we expected."
Coach Pinkel said that they have a signal to get out of a fake if they see the opponent doesn't line up the way they expected, and that it's not going to work.
The general consensus from everyone associated with the team is that Iowa State played as well defensively as they had all season. They also did some different things scheme-wise than they had previously, but the Tigers have had a steady diet of that the last few weeks. Everyone agreed that mistakes in execution interrupted several of Missouri's possessions on Saturday night.
I'll have more from Coach Yost later, but thought I'd share this here. He said that after the Tigers got up by 14, which was at the beginning of the 4th quarter, that the decision was made to alter the game plan toward trying to run the clock, and limit Iowa State's possessions. The Cyclones had four 4th quarter possessions, and Coach Yost said that he felt they should have cut that number down to 3 or 2. He also said that as the 4th quarter evolved, they became even more geared toward simply running the clock.
Regarding the rivalry with Kansas, Coach Pinkel cited a conversation he had in 2007 with ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit. Herbstreit told Coach Pinkel at that time that he had never seen anything like it, saying that the fans were "hateful" toward the opposition, and that they "really don't like each other". Coach Pinkel just laughed.