On Tuesday, the Missouri Tigers once again returned to the practice field in preparation for the Cotton Bowl.
“Overall, I thought it was a good practice,” said Coach Pinkel, speaking after his team’s second bowl practice. “It was really high energy! You know, when you take seven days off, or however many days we had off, generally you struggle a little bit getting going again. And, we haven’t at all in these two practices. That’s certainly encouraging. And, I think it has a lot to do with our leadership, and also how important this game is to those guys.”
Coach Pinkel said that as expected, the passing game was more crisp on Tuesday.
“I think overall, we’re doing well,” continued Coach Pinkel. “I think we’re getting our goals taken care of, which I think is good. And, we’re working on Oklahoma State, which is important. And, we’re also getting our young players more work. Right now, we’re doing individually twelve-minute periods right now, with all of those younger players, again to just kind of work them a little bit more, and get the real value out of this for them, not only preparing for that game, but then growing as a player on offense and defense.”
Missouri Assistant Coach Alex Grinch, who coaches Missouri’s safeties, said that it’s been good to work with some of his younger players for the first time since fall camp.
“The nice thing is to get the opportunity to work with them,” explained Coach Grinch, who mentioned true freshman Shaun Rupert by name. “That’s the biggest thing.”
“It’ll be exciting to see them again in the spring,” said Coach Grinch, who pointed out that Rupert has been working with the scout team all season, and he hasn’t really seen much of him in over three months. “I think Rupert has stepped forward. He’s been playing scout team all year, and all of a sudden, the lights go back on. It’s the first I’m seeing of him in a long time.”
That’s a theme that is echoed throughout the team, position by position, as each position coach is being afforded the opportunity to see and coach some of their younger players, and see the progress that they’ve made, not only in Coach Ivey’s Gun Club, but in learning their positions throughout the season as they worked with the scout team. Sometimes, the biggest improvement is just in the development of maturity, and with that, the increased ability to focus.
There’s one more AB practice on tap, then the Tigers will move into their regular bye week practice schedule, and the emphasis will again shift back to preparation for Oklahoma State, and preparing the veteran players to play their best in the Cotton Bowl.