Conference call thoughts: Sept. 20

In a bye week, the media's access to Missouri is sharply limited. Worry not: all Big 12 coaches must submit themselves to a rigorous 10-minute grilling at the hands of media from around the conference. Check inside for coach Gary Pinkel's thoughts on Ball State and Colorado, along with Buffaloes coach Gary Barnett's thoughts on Missouri.

Missouri coach Gary Pinkel

On the important of the Colorado game: "It's a big game. I also think that as the season goes that every game gets bigger. It's the most important game now for both teams. I think the first conference game, you always want to start out with a win. The bye is such that it gives us both opportunities to prepare. It's pretty even from that standpoint. It's obvious that it's a very, very big football game."

On pressure of opening conference play at home: "I'd like to say you can't afford (to lose) any game. I don't look at home and away, I don't look at it that way. It's a very critical game."

On the position of the bye: "I think it's ideal. It gives you a chance to kind of regroup a little bit. It's a pretty good situation. Once you get into the season, I don't look at it in anyway other than how you prepare. If you're halfway into the season and you happen to have a bye and you have a lot of injuries, byes are very favorable in that sense. We're pretty healthy right now so that's not really assisting us right now."

On what areas of the game Missouri needs to improve in: "I just think we need to get better as a football team. We're the kind of team that has to…hopefully you can see it improve each and every week. I don't know if there's anything on our football team that we're doing great right now. I think we have to improve in absolutely every phase of our game and that's what we have to focus on."

On his early thoughts on Colorado: "I just started watching some video this morning. It would be really unfair (to speculate)…all I know is that they're 3-0. They had a great game against Colorado state. They beat a very good Washington State team in Seattle. They run well, They're athletic. I think they're rolling."

On if he is surprised Colorado is 3-0: "That doesn't surprise me at all. Gary's done a great job with that program. They've recruited well. It doesn't surprise me at all."

On what he is most pleased with coming out of the Ball State game: "I thought we played closer to our ability level. In all phases of our game, we improved. We also got a chance to play a lot of our players."

Colorado coach Gary Barnett

On the team's performance against North Texas last week: "We played a really good offensive game, I think. Between our offense and special teams, we were outstanding. We were almost perfect on offense, so you can't ask for much more than that. We got things rolling. We were able to get the ball dispersed around and got a lot of people involved in the offense. I was really pleased with that. Defensively, I don't know if we had a letdown or not. We didn't play as well as we had been playing. We gave up three long runs in that game, which is discouraging. But at the same time, the rest of the game we didn't play too poorly. I'm not upset; I just think we can play better. I think we'll take these two weeks to do that. We're very fortunate to be 3-0. We're not taking it for granted at this point in time."

On the youth of his team: "Trying to play week in and week out with the intensity you need to is sometimes difficult for young guys to do. That really showed up on the defensive side. We're so young, that everything that we do is a new experience for us. We have to debrief and talk about that and where we need to go from here."

On how much losing the conference opener would hurt his team: "There's no question that if you lose the game, you have a lot of pressure on you and you're hoping somebody can beat the team that beat you because you don't get another chance to play them. Now it's not necessarily in your control, (but) before this game it is…after the game, somebody has to have somebody else help them along the way. Winning the first one is a huge momentum starter for everybody."

On what he wants to get out of the bye week: "We just have to continue to develop. We haven't put together a complete game yet. In the opening game, the offense took control and then slid off in the end. The defense, they put a lot of yards on us and we had the make a play. The second game, the offense didn't do anything and the defense had to play the entire game. Third game here, our offense was spectacular and our defense sputtered around a little bit. The most consistent part has been our special teams. I think we need to get everybody as consistent as our special teams."

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