Conference call thoughts: Oct. 18

Missouri coach Gary Pinkel and Oklahoma State coach Les Miles spoke with the media Monday morning on the Big 12's weekly Coaches' Teleconference. Read on for the coaches' thoughts on the weekend's matchup and other issues affecting their teams.

Oklahoma State coach Les Miles

Opening statement: "I think we made some mistakes early in the game that gave A&M their early lead. We really had a difficult time coming back, having spotted them an early lead. But, congratulations to them. Now we look to Missouri, a very talented team, both on offense and defense. Our work's cut out for us as we go to Columbia."

On the Cowboys' difficult stretch of schedule helping them overcome losing to Texas A&M: "Absolutely. We go on the road to Columbia and it's a good football team. We're taking it one game at a time. We have to get back on track and go get us a victory. If you look at the rest of the schedule, the caliber of our opponent increases on a regular basis."

On falling behind early: "It's difficult any time. It makes you throw the football, it makes you have the desire to throw the football more quickly, so that you can move the ball down the field in larger chunks and not use the clock. We're structured to hand the ball to the tailback a little bit more this year as opposed to last year with Rashaun Woods, so it challenges you any time you fall behind. The thing that I have to address is two-fold: One, the ability to come back with the offense that we have, but to correct and not give a good football team early opportunities and fall behind. It's a two-fold position."

On early mistakes against A&M: "I think they played well. I would never want to take away from A&M's victory. They did an extremely good job and certainly they deserved to win the ballgame. Our guys, for whatever reason, did not come out in the early going and play the style of play we would expect from them. The first quarter, there could not have been any more unusual sequences. A penalty, a low snap on the punt, just an amount of plays, including turnovers, that just put us in one tremendous hole."

On defending the deep pass: "It's certainly a challenge. We had a corner come off the one route, based on that he had thought he had gone to another option. One, we didn't get pressure on him and two, there's a clock that ticks in that corner's helmet that says, ‘Something else is happening here.' He was wrong to come off it, but that was a long throw. It's very difficult to give a quarterback who has the ability to throw it that long that kind of time and to keep on a receiver that length of time. Both things challenged us on that play."

On slowing down Brad Smith after struggling to stop Reggie McNeal: "What McNeal did to us challenged us athletically, as will Brad Smith at Missouri. He's a tremendously gifted athlete and throws the football well. Our defense must see what they lacked against A&M and bring that adjustment with us to Missouri."

Missouri coach Gary Pinkel

Opening statement: "Texas is, obvious to everyone, a good football team. They certainly did the things necessary to win. We were certainly disappointed, but preparation for Oklahoma State's going on now, and as we all know, they got a great football team and it'll be certainly a challenge for us."

On Vernand Morency: "Well, Morency's a great player. He's got great quickness, very explosive. He's compact, really shifty and changes direction well. A little bit different type of running back than we faced last week, but certainly one of the top backs in this league. I think every tailback has his own style. I think they're all a little bit different. Some just have one or two cuts and have power and acceleration. Some have more quickness and change direction better. I think we're splitting hairs here. We're talking about a great football player."

On the performance of his defense: "Well, I think we're doing OK, I don't think any different than what Oklahoma State's doing. Their defense is doing just as good as ours at creating takeaways. We're doing OK on defense. Every week's a challenge. We got to do better against the run, even though we've done some good things. We got to do what's necessary. This week, this team runs the ball as good as anybody in the country."

On the Tigers' performance against Texas: "I thought we did OK against one of the best teams in the country. I'm certainly real disappointed. When you have a game like that, you want to win the football game. We've addressed it with our football team, the mistakes we've made as a team and what we need to do to get better in preparation for this game."

On the performance of his offensive line: "I think we're getting a little bit better. Last week was obviously a test. Sometimes we did OK and sometimes we didn't. I think that being inexperienced now, it's to the point where that's over with. We played six football games and we understand how critical all the games are. I think we are getting a little bit better. Each week is a different challenge; we're playing a good football team this week. The team is very good up front with great size in the middle and speed on the outside. It'll be a new challenge, but I think we're making a little progress."

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