Tigers try to fix slow starts

Missouri has been anemic when it comes to first-half offense. Its defense has kept them in ballgames early, and now Gary Pinkel thinks he might have something that could help the offense get back on track.

After three slow starts in as many games, Missouri is going to try to change when it practices first quarter drills to see if it can get something, anything, going early.

"Is this magic? Is this going to work? I don't know. But we're going to do something," coach Gary Pinkel said. "It might not be magic this game; I don't know. But we've got to get to the point where we start much faster. Not only this game, but as the season goes on."

The Tigers have reason to worry. If Eastern Illinois hadn't been just as anemic on offense as Missouri was last Saturday, Missouri could have found itself in a hole. The Tigers didn't score until 1:41 left in the second quarter. And both of the scores in the second half came on short field positions because of defensive plays.

"I don't just sit there and say, ‘Well I hope this thing works out some time,'" Pinkel said. "I guarantee I don't do that."

Missouri also had slow starts against Ball State and Illinois, but either used its defense or a strong fourth quarter to come out with the win.

"Nothing's worse than going three-and-out when our defense has been out there for 15 plays," center A.J. Ricker said. "I hate that, and I'll beat myself up, because I can't stand to put the defense back on the field."

Even worse for the Tigers, they don't know what is causing these problems.

That's why it's so frustrating," Ricker said. "I haven't been able to put my finger on one thing. We make a big emphasis on the fourth quarter. I think we need to make a big emphasis on the first quarter, too. We're playing well, but we're just waiting a while to get started. It starts with the offensive line. "I'd like to get id done on the first series. We did that a lot last year."

Receiver Thomson Omboga suggested all the Tigers need is a spark, a first down or a good defensive play to get them going. Either way, though, he would rather be talking about bad starts than bad finishes.

"Slow starts, we can work through that," Omboga said. "But finishing bad, then that L's on you record. You don't want that if you want to go to a bowl game and bigger and better things. It doesn't matter how you start; it's how you finish." After three slow starts in as many games, Missouri is going to try to change when it practices first quarter drills to see if it can get something, anything, going early.

"Is this magic? Is this going to work? I don't know. But we're going to do something," coach Gary Pinkel said. "It might not be magic this game; I don't know. But we've got to get to the point where we start much faster. Not only this game, but as the season goes on."

The Tigers have reason to worry. If Eastern Illinois hadn't been just as anemic on offense as Missouri was last Saturday, Missouri could have found itself in a hole. The Tigers didn't score until 1:41 left in the second quarter. And both of the scores in the second half came on short field positions because of defensive plays.

"I don't just sit there and say, ‘Well I hope this thing works out some time,'" Pinkel said. "I guarantee I don't do that."

Missouri also had slow starts against Ball State and Illinois, but either used its defense or a strong fourth quarter to come out with the win.

"Nothing's worse than going three-and-out when our defense has been out there for 15 plays," center A.J. Ricker said. "I hate that, and I'll beat myself up, because I can't stand to put the defense back on the field."

Even worse for the Tigers, they don't know what is causing these problems.

That's why it's so frustrating," Ricker said. "I haven't been able to put my finger on one thing. We make a big emphasis on the fourth quarter. I think we need to make a big emphasis on the first quarter, too. We're playing well, but we're just waiting a while to get started. It starts with the offensive line. "I'd like to get id done on the first series. We did that a lot last year."

Receiver Thomson Omboga suggested all the Tigers need is a spark, a first down or a good defensive play to get them going. Either way, though, he would rather be talking about bad starts than bad finishes.

"Slow starts, we can work through that," Omboga said. "But finishing bad, then that L's on you record. You don't want that if you want to go to a bowl game and bigger and better things. It doesn't matter how you start; it's how you finish."


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