Media day report: Nov. 1

As always, the Tigers spoke with the media Monday in their weekly mandatory meeting. The news of the day was the return of a key member of the offense, whose role in Saturday's matchup with Kansas State is still to be determined. Get all of the news, including coach Gary Pinkel's thoughts on his team's offensive struggles.

Back in black: Apparently, an "indefinite suspension" means one week in the Missouri football program.

Sophomore LB David Richard received that punishment earlier in the season, after he was arrested for suspicion of marijuana possession. Junior TB Damien Nash received it last week, sitting out the Tigers' 24-3 loss at Nebraska.

Coach Gary Pinkel announced Monday morning that Nash had been reinstated, although he declined to define exactly what Nash's role would be against Kansas State.

"He will play," Pinkel said. "To what extent, that will be determined later in the week."

Pinkel met with Nash on Sunday to figure out what direction they would go. Pinkel declined to give details of the meeting, citing a trust he has with players on personal issues.

Nash's return was necessary after freshman TB Tony Temple injured his ankle in the Nebraska loss. Temple had on a soft cast, sporting a familiar swoosh that he called his Nike Cast, on his lower left leg Monday afternoon, but he was walking around without much difficulty. Pinkel said he hopes Temple will be able to play against the Wildcats, leaving him as the No. 2 tailback on the depth chart, behind freshman Marcus Woods.

Temple said it felt like he was improving.

"I feel good," he said. "I feel a lot better than I felt when I hurt it…I plan on coming out there to play next week and hopefully have another opportunity to do what I can do."

As for his debut performance -- he gained 13 yards on six carries -- Temple offered a "no comment," before dropping a few details.

"I'm happy I had an opportunity to play," he said. "I'm very happy about that. It was my first college game, and I was looking forward to that since my senior year. I was excited to be out there."

Failing to capitalize: To Pinkel, one of the most frustrating parts of Saturday's loss was the offense's inability to take advantage of its opportunities. The Tigers crossed the Nebraska 30-yard line five times but managed just three points. That must change, Pinkel said.

"You can't have five times inside the 30-yard line and score one time," he said. "You can't do it."

The short field makes it more difficult to run the offense, Pinkel said, as defenses don't have to stretch as far to cover the Tigers' three-wide sets. That, combined with passing inefficiency and another factor, severally hurt the Missouri offense.

"If you can run the ball better, it always helps with your efficiency," he said. "I think that's one reason. We just gotta do a better job. The first three or four or five games, our (rushing) numbers were up there pretty good. The last couple, we haven't done as well. It's not like we haven't done anything at all this year."

Feeling the heat: One of the few good things about a three-game losing streak is you learn how well your players deal with adversity. That story remains to be written, but Pinkel said he would prefer to learn about his team in a different way.

"I'd much rather learn things when you win games; it's a lot easier to correct, trust me," he said. "I think you find out about yourself, as a competitor, what you're made of. It's easy when you're winning. … We're finding out a lot about ourselves."

Pinkel said he does not need any extra attention when the Tigers struggle: he already puts more than enough pressure on himself.

"That's the way I am," he said. "Nobody puts more pressure on me than I put on myself. That's OK. When you get in a situation like this, you gotta dig out of it. I've been here before. Nobody likes being here."

Of course, when a team is down, some pile on by being overly negative. Pinkel said that is not a concern.

"I never pay attention to that," he said. "If we were undefeated, I wouldn't pay any attention to that. I never look at that stuff, ever. Never, ever, ever. And I never, ever, ever will."

Pinkel quickly realized he was in a room filled with journalists and offered, "I don't want to hurt anybody's feelings in here."

Tee'd off: With an opportunity to beat up on the team he always wanted to play for, freshman TE Martin Rucker could not take advantage, making just one catch Saturday. Rucker said last week that he did not feel he had to prove anything to the Cornhuskers, who recruited him for a while before being beaten out by the Tigers. He was still disappointed that he could not prove to himself that Nebraska made the wrong move.

"I was kind of upset," he said. "That's why you see that frustration on TV, when the ball went over my head in the end zone on one of our last plays on offense. I was just kind of upset because the day didn't go the way I wanted to. I was just like, ‘Ah, the finishing touches on an awful day.'"

Rucker had a wager with his older brother, Mike, a former All-American defensive end for Nebraska, on his performance. His goal was four catches and a touchdown, but he fell well short.

"It just wasn't what I was imagining," he said.

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