Mizzou media day quotes

Missouri head coach and his Tigers held their weekly media address on Monday

Missouri Tigers head football coach Gary Pinkel addressed the media at his weekly Monday presser. The following are quotes from the event.

Opening Statement

Good afternoon everybody, I appreciate you all being here.  Injury-wise, we don’t have any right now.  We’re in pretty good shape right now.  Nate Crawford played a little bit in the game.  Got bumps and bruises like everybody does midway through the season.  There’s a lot of guys all over the country, including our players, who are working through those.  That’s something that we feel good about.  Vanderbilt is a good, good football team.  Derek [Mason]’s done a great job building that program, I’ve been very impressed with him.  They’re athletic, they’re well coached, and he’s getting better and better.  I’m very impressed with this football team.  Obviously we’re preparing, the game is important for us.  I can’t devalue that in any way.  I can’t, it’s real important.  This is a game that we’ve got to play very, very well and give our very, very best on both sides of the football. That’s what we intend to do.  We’re working hard, hopefully we can get that done.


On if the team reevaluates their goals throughout the season

Yeah, certainly we do.  This is not about- if it’s all just about winning the SEC East and being in the championship game, then for a lot of guys in the next two weeks a lot of teams are going to be out of it.  What we do, the goal is obviously a national championship.  That’s on top.  We’ve probably had 2 opportunities to win the championship game if we’d been in that game in the last 8 years.  We certainly always want to win the SEC East to be able to be in the championship game.  Those are our goals, part of that goal is to go to a bowl game and be bowl champions.  So there’s a lot out there.  There’s 8 teams that are going to play in championship games in the country.  One from the power five, one league doesn’t have it, and there’s probably going to be fifteen teams outside of that that’ll be nationally ranked nationally ranked at the end of the year.  I cover all of those things with our players.  It’s important for them to do that.  There’s a lot out there.  We have great potential, but as the season clicks down here, as the games click down, the sense of urgency becomes bigger and bigger.  I’m just real honest with our players about it and that’s the way I’ve always been.


On if the focus begins to shift to next season

I’m not thinking at all about next year.  I’m thinking about Vanderbilt.  Absolutely 100 percent, that’s all I care about.


On if bowl eligibility has become a focus

Vanderbilt.  Winning that game.  Our players get the numbers.


On being on a losing streak for the first time since 2012…

You know, I think ultimately we’re more determined.  I’ve been head coach 25 years, I’ve been here before many times.  Thank heavens not that many.  Certainly, we’ve had experiences.  It’s going to happen to you.  How you react to it is the most important thing.  Being more determined, practice harder, work harder, and knowing that there is a lot out there.  That’s what we’ll do, that’s what we have to do.  Again, there’s a sense of urgency.


On avoiding internal animosity as the defense outperforms the offense

First of all, when I first got here we were winning games 48 to 34, so I’ve been on both sides of this.  We’ve had very few problems with that.  You’ve got teams where that’s their teammate.  That’s their buddy.  You know that they are working hard and you are going to be encouraging.  You can encourage or discourage.  In our walls, in this building, we want to encourage positive people.  If we see any of that going on, generally we’ve got captains and leaders that make sure that gets taken care of.  We’ve rarely had a problem with it that I’m aware of.  When you’re going through adversity, we always have zero tolerance of bad attitudes with our program.  Just zero tolerance.  Freshmen, we give them a little leeway.  Once you’re done with freshmen year, there’s none.  You have to have a good attitude or you’re not going to be around here.  Certainly, through adversity, that’s what you’re talking about, attitude is hugely important.  I think that what’s most important too is that we should stay tied together as a team, and I think we are.


On the difference in handling a struggling offense versus a struggling defense

It is still problem solving, so fixing the problems that you have on both sides.  It gets very frustrating, but you’re more determined.  You’re more persistent.  We don’t sit back and say “Gosh, this is difficult.  This is tough.”  We’re battling.  In practice with our team, our coaches are.  This isn’t just about the players.  We’ve got to coach better.  We’re all involved.  We’ve got to game plan.  We’ve got to do all of those things.  We’re going to continue to do that.  As you go back and look at the film, there’s fifteen, eighteen, twenty plays that we were so close to making a good play.  You lean on those a bit and still move out of it.  Certainly, they’re a very good defensive football team, Georgia is.  Certainly, they made a lot of plays, but also there are other things that we could have done better.


On if any group on offense is close to a breakthrough

They kind of bounce.  Problems can bounce around a little bit.  Honestly, you’ve got the offensive line, you’ve got the running backs, you’ve got the receivers and all of their responsibilities, you’ve got the quarterback, and you’ve got the coaches.  Everybody’s got to do better.  Everybody’s got to improve, and that’s what we work on.  We’ve also got to game plan the best we can, too.  So we’re all [MISSED QUOTE] together.  I’ve got good coaches and I’ve got good players.  We’ve just got to get it together.  Continuity.


On if frustration has led to penalties

We only had four this week, this past game.  We didn’t have very many.  I think for the most part we’ve been doing better.  I think what you worry about is you see frustration, I feel like you see personal fouls.  Two weeks ago we had a personal foul by two freshmen.  We had a facemask and we had a late hit.  Those were two freshmen, and actually there was a third one, a block on another freshmen.  Thanks for reminding me about all of those.  Certainly, you worry about that.  That’s what we call emotional stability.  When things get out there and things are going crazy out there, are you in control?  Are you focused?  Are you sure that you can manage in front 8,000 people, 70,000 people, national TV.  Can you manage yourself?  We try to train our guys and give them tools to work with so that they stay focused.  You say “Focus up.”  Years ago, “Focus up,” that’s what you’d say.  “Focus up and get your mind right.”  We have techniques that we teach our kids now and they work.  The younger guys, it just takes a little bit longer.


On if the team consulted the SEC regarding controversial penalties called in the Georgia game

What you do, we have a really good process here, everybody sends in time of the game and the foul or what have you and it gets evaluated and sent back.  That’s certainly how our officials get better, and that’s certainly something that we have to look at because we want to know.  We have to be able to teach our players what’s the right thing to do and what’s the wrong thing to do.  In the SEC, you know we have best officials in college football, so I think that’s what you start with.  In the most recent report, those two that you just mentioned were improperly called.  They came back and said that it was interference on the punt return, on Hilton, and also the pass interference should not have been called.  They were real critical plays, but what I tell my football team is you’ve got to overcome them.  We didn’t do that.


On if targeting rules have changed the way he teaches tackling

Well, you’ve just got to do it below the shoulder.  You see less of it now than you’ve ever seen.  In the first year, it happened all over the country.  It’s great, it’s the right thing we’re doing.  We had one a few weeks ago.  It’s the right thing.  It’s the right thing to keep this game safe.  That was pretty easy to see, that one.  It’s the right thing for college football.


On the fundamental difference in how players are taught to tackle now

The fundamental, there is a rugby style tackling that some people are doing.  The Seattle Seahawks have started doing that a couple years ago.  We’re teaching some of that also, where you turn and roll.  That’s different than going up and through.  In the heat of battle there is a lot of things that happen.  When the player is unprotected you have to make sure you’re not in the shoulder level.  Shoulder level will skip into the neck area, and we don’t want to do that in college football.  Sometimes it is difficult because sometimes a guy is falling or leaning.  There are extenuating circumstances, but the bottom line is the lower you hit a player- that guy hit him, I don’t think he did it on purpose in any way.  He could have hit him in the shoulder area, right here, and the same thing would have been done.  They’ll use that for teaching as we did.  We show our defensive backs the same thing.


On wide receiver Emanuel Hall

He’s doing some good things.  He’s getting better.  He’s got great speed and he’s getting better each and every week.  He’s getting more opportunities the more we go.  He’s a good athlete, he can run.  It’s just about getting him the reps. It’s all about repetition and doing things over and over and over again.  Take Kentrell Brothers.  Look at him sophomore year, or his redshirt freshmen year.  Look at him now, he’s playing as good as any linebacker in the country.  How did he get there?  Strength, speed, quickness, player development, those things, but also just how many repetitions has he been doing those fundamentals since he’s been here?  When you’re playing players that are younger, every week they should get a little bit better.


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