Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel addressed the media late afternoon in his weekly Monday media event to answer questions.
Coach Pinkel's Opening Remarks…
"Zaviar Gooden will not play next week. He came back and tweaked his hamstring a little bit, and as everyone knows hamstrings are a sensitive injury so we need to get him healed up. Also, nobody else on the injury list is expected to return this Saturday. Central Florida is a very good football team that is well coached. They're a disciplined team that is very impressive. They've got good size and run really well with great talent. They played Ohio State very close, which gives us respect for them, what they can do, and what they've done."
On the special teams play being one of the biggest disappointments of the weekend…"Probably the most disappointing thing about our football game the other day was our kicking game and the field position consequences of it. We work very hard at that and have played in a lot of big games with a great kicking game. Give (South Carolina) credit because their kicking game gave them most of the short fields that they had all day. I'm really disappointed in that and I'm responsible for that, so it's my job to get that fixed which I intend to do."
On his thoughts about Franklin's performance as of late…"I think (Franklin) can play better, but I think he's doing OK. Generally, Any time you look at an offense, especially our offense, that is struggling, then you are going to point to the quarterback. What we do is we break everything down. We look at the receivers; we look at the offense line, and all of the other aspects of it. But I believe in him and expect him to get a lot better."
On how the offense can start moving the ball better against SEC defenses…"Well I think you have got to block better, throw better, and catch better. And if we do all of those things better and more consistent, then we will move the ball better. And that's the facts."
On Mizzou possibly beating themselves rather than South Carolina beating them…"I think we broke ourselves down a lot in Saturday's game, but it isn't that we played this average team and just didn't execute. We played a very good football team, and I'm disappointed in the way we executed. I think we are better than that, and I certainly give them credit as I always do."
On if Franklin is getting anxious and anticipating a strong rush with a young O-Line…"I think Franklin is getting a little frustrated, but that's normal, and he knows that because we have young offensive line. But the young offensive line will get better as we go. And we held up in many ways too, I mean once we were down three touchdowns, we were throwing the ball every minute, which is hard against that defense. Our offensive line did a lot of good things against a really good football team. But we are also having breakdowns in a lot of different places, and where it gets fixed is in the consistency of doing things on the practice field, and then carrying that over to game days."
On whether leadership was an issue this weekend in South Carolina…"The leadership responsibility for this program starts with me. It's my job to fix the problems that we have here. Obviously I have a good staff, and have good seniors and captains. It's hard to win. You have to play hard to win. You can't go in and play your ‘B' or ‘C' games, and expect to win. It isn't going to happen, especially against the people we have been playing."
On how Sheldon Richardson has really matured on the field this year…"(Richardson's) played very, very well. I mean he was all over the place. He's maturing and he's playing more consistent after being with the program all summer and having two-a-days. He's just going to get better and better, and he's got a great attitude. He made a lot of plays in that game, and we use him as examples to our defense. If he's running 25-yards downfield as a defensive tackle to make a play, well that's just remarkable movement for a guy who weighs 295 pounds. It's great to see, and he is becoming a dominating player."
On his thoughts about Franklin's performance as of late…"They mixed it up really well. They had a dump route that they used very well, including four times on one drive while we were in zone coverage. But we also didn't execute. We had some breakdowns in our secondary coverage and the fundamental disciplines that we needed to have. And so I give (Connor Shaw) a lot of credit, but after watching the film, we didn't help our cause. So now we have to learn from it and get better."
On the obscene number of missed tackles versus South Carolina…"We haven't had hardly any missed tackles this year, and generally that is just focus, or lack there of. Players aren't zeroed in when there are that many, because that looked ugly. And that doesn't look like Missouri football, so we tend to fix that too."
On E.J. Gaines blatantly getting beat a few times against the USC receivers…"(Gaines) was on an ‘island' for most of the game, and it is very rare that a ball is even completed in his direction. But he made a few fundamental errors, and they made some plays. He'll be back and battle through that. But it's very similar to when a lineman is noticed. A lineman is only noticed when the guy he is blocking gets a sack. And the corners are the same way. You're on an island all by yourself, and your major mistakes will get exposed more so than other mistakes."
On trying to get WR Dorial Green-Beckham a bigger role in the offense…"We had 58 plays and I think he played 26. So we are getting him in more, and we called his number a bunch of times. We intend to get him the ball more and he's doing a lot better in practice. My message to him though, and it's the same message I told Danario (Alexander) and J-Mac (Maclin), is you focus on becoming a better player. That's all you focus on, instead of worrying about filling expectations. That's all you focus on, and that is how you will fulfill your potential."
On making the starting punter job a competition for this upcoming game…"We just wanted more consistency and (Barrow's) backup has done a great job in practice. So we just decided to make the starting job competitive, which we do time to time. And we will see how it goes."
On wearing a patch this weekend as a way to raise awareness for MD…"We've been doing this the last 5 years. It's been nationwide with the whole FCA – which is our coaches' organization – to try and get some help find a cure for MD. It's raised millions of dollars in the past five years that we've done it, so it's been very productive. We will wear patches on our arms on national TV this weekend. It's something that has grown in five years and has been very positive."