Gary Pinkel quotes from Big 12 Conference Call

Gary Pinkel talked to the press for the first time since his short press conference after the Tigers' 35-14 loss to Kansas on Saturday. And Pinkel admitted maybe the offensive playcalling wasn't the best. He also discussed a pair of Brads: Smith and Ekwerekwu.

Opening statement:

PINKEL: Kansas they did the things necessary to win the football game. Obviously, we're trying to correct mistakes and errors to become a better football team.

Do you know what has happened to the offense in the games against Illinois and Kansas?

PINKEL: I don't' know. We're searching that right now. I think what happens, we have a tendency when things aren't going well, we have a tendency when we have a lot of third-and-10s and we're struggling, we have a tendency to be a little conservative. That's something I think we're doing too much. Obviously, we have almost the whole offense back. Obviously, Justin Gage was a big impact player for two years. We've had a couple games where we've struggled, and obviously we have to get that straightened out if we want to have a good football team.

Do you think Brad Smith is trying too hard to not throw an interception with your emphasis on turnovers?

PINKEL: I don't know. I've coached quarterbacks for a long time with an emphasis on turnovers. I think that as a quarterback matures, he should be the opposite, he should take a few more risks, and he'll throw the ball maybe a little bit more. I don't think it's that. I think we can get the ball downfield more. I think we have to call more; I think I have to look at myself. I think I think it's maybe a combination of both. Maybe you could say that last year, but now he's not afraid to make mistakes.

What do you think of your players' financial situation?

PINKEL: I think that's something everyone is looking at and analyzing. I also think that's something that certainly is far beyond me. Since I've been in coaching, the Pell Grant has been something very significant for athletes, that they can get a maximum amount of dollars now. I think that now that really helps the player in need that can't call home to get 20 or 30 bucks to do the things that's necessary to be a student-athlete. I think any teenager, any college student would want more money, that's obvious.

Do you think the NCAA is doing enough?

PINKEL: I don't know. I'm focused on winning football games.

What did you see in Brad Ekwerekwu to burn his redshirt and play him against Kansas?

PINKEL: I just saw he was doing a lot of great things in practice. He can run, he has size; a lot of it's maturity. We expect him to play more and more. We just saw him perform at a really high level there, so I felt he could help us win this year.


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