On Friday, Missouri continued Spring Football with the third practice this week, and the first practice in full pads. Afterward, Coach Pinkel said that they got in a lot of good work.
“First pads practice today,” began Coach Pinkel, speaking of the Friday afternoon practice on Faurot Field. “I thought it was good. A lot of good things. A lot of competitive things, and a lot of drill work. What it’s all about now is studying the video, improving, and getting better. What’s most important is that you fix things, and that you improve as a football player. So, lessons learned. And hopefully, Tuesday we’ll come out and be a better football team than we are today.”
With full pads on, the Tigers finished the day with a scoring period, offense versus defense. The defense won the day, which Coach Pinkel said is to be expected at this time of the year.
“Defense is a little bit ahead of the offense today, which is very normal for your first pads practice,” explained Coach Pinkel. “But the good news is we can get a lot better. You know, it’s a time for the young guys to pick it up and raise their game to another level. Honestly, your older players see that. And your older players are positively encouraging them, almost demanding them, to pick up their game. Because they understand. They understand that these guys have to play to a certain level. So it’s kind of neat that they kind of get some positive peer pressure from their teammates. You know, “hey, you’re playing on the number one defense now”, or “you’re playing on the number one offense”, or you’ve moved up from three to two on offense and defense”. And guess what? Your game's got to be consistent, and played at a different level. So all that stuff’s kind of neat when our veteran players kind of help us positively motivate our players.”
There really has been a huge emphasis on practicing individual fundamentals, as well as beginning to integrate everyone into their assignments, and reading their keys. With two new coaches, although Coach Pinkel is quick to point out that Coach Odom is not new to Missouri, there are a few little tweaks to some of the individual drills. Of course, this staff is always evaluating and upgrading everything they do, so tweaking drills is not entirely new.
Coach Pinkel said that he tries to be aware of “everything that’s going on out there”. He said that he has “good coaches” and that he trusts them to do things the right way. He did point out that it’s his job to coach his coaches, as well as to be concerned about everything that’s going on when the team is on the field.
“I try to be aware of everything that’s going on out there,” explained Coach Pinkel. “There’s a lot of things that we need to do to get better. They’re good coaches. They’re doing a good job, offensively also. It’s very competitive out there. I’m concerned about everything that goes on out there. That’s my job……………………………………….. What I do is I coach the coaches. That’s what I do. I take notes from practice. If there’s things we need to learn, and discuss, or talk about, then I go into meetings. There’s lessons learned for everybody.”
“You know, I think you always raise the bar,” explained Coach Pinkel. “That’s what an athlete does. He raises the bar……………………………………. It’s up to us as coaches to make sure that we’re guiding our players to do it. The guys at this level, if you want to be a great player, I mean, you’re raising the bar all the time. A guy like Michael, you don’t have to talk him into working hard, because he can become a lot better player. He’s a good player. Now, he wants to become a great player. It’s a lot more difficult to become a great player than what it was before. It’s just about working hard, and getting stronger, faster, quicker, and competing. You know, just that remarkable commitment that you need at this level if you want to be a great player.”
The Mid-American Conference on Friday announced that Coach Pinkel has been selected for induction as part of its 2015 Hall of Fame class.
Coach Pinkel is the winningest coach in Toledo history (73-37-3), and was twice named MAC Coach of the Year. Gary Pinkel was also a standout player at Kent State. He had already been inducted into the Hall of Fame at both Kent State and at Toledo.
Since he arrived at Missouri in 2000, Coach Pinkel has become the winningest coach in Missouri history, as well, with a 113-66 record.
“It was never, ever on my goal list to be inducted into any Hall of Fame,” said Coach Pinkel. “I’ve been fortunate to be inducted into a few. I found that out today, and I’m honored. It means a lot to me. Any time you receive an award like this, you also know that there was a lot, a lot, of people that had a lot to do with it. I’m very honored, and flattered, and appreciative that they chose me.”