On Thursday, the Missouri Tigers once again returned to the practice field in preparation for the Cotton Bowl. The Tigers practiced indoors for two hours in helmets and shoulder pads. It was the final of three AB practices, which features more of an emphasis on more work for the younger players.
“We had a real good practice today,” said Missouri Head Coach Gary Pinkel. “This is the end of the AB practices. We’ll get going tomorrow. For us, tomorrow will be a Tuesday practice, just as we did a normal Tuesday practice in October, time-wise. (We got in) a lot of good work. Good effort by everybody. I’m pleased with that. We stay on our feet, you know, and try to stay healthy through this also. And hopefully, we can do that.”
The work that the young players got in will really pay off for next year.
“It’s just a little bit of an emphasis,” explained Coach Pinkel, talking about the value of the AB practices. “We’re still working on Oklahoma State. We’re not just shutting that down. We’ve been working on (Oklahoma State) every practice, and in all of our meetings. But, this really allows us to get the (younger players) going again, and for our veteran players, they’re backing off a little bit. It really allows us to do a lot fundamental work to help these players for next year. So, I don’t think there’s any question about it. It’s a plus! It’s certainly an advantage. Last year was the first time in many years we hadn’t done it, so it’s nice to be back doing it again.”
Coach Pinkel declined the opportunity to talk about individual players that have caught his eye during the AB practices.
“There’s so many good young guys out there, it’s difficult to say (who’s standing out),” said Coach Pinkel. “The most important thing is that they leave a better football player than when they go on the field. That might sound pretty optimistic, but you have to come out as a player, and expect to get better, when you come out and practice, attitude-wise. And, you will get better than somebody who comes out and says, “let’s practice and get it over with”. ”
Coach Pinkel and his staff really emphasize that their players have good attitudes. I've heard Coach Pinkel say that they have "zero tolerance" for bad attitudes.
Coach Pinkel addressed a couple of injuries. He said that true freshman WR J’Mon Moore had injured his shoulder several weeks ago, and that’s why he’s been sitting out. He said that Moore will probably "start running a little bit” next week.
“Moore’s a really good, young player,” said Coach Pinkel. “He’s a really good, young player.”
Coach Pinkel also said that L’Damian Washington has been missing practice time because of a “turf toe”, and that he has benefited from the additional time off since the SEC Championship Game.