Tiger Caravan Quotes from Gary Pinkel

Among the speakers at the Tiger Caravan recently in Mexico were Mike Kelly, Mike Alden, Gary Link and the subject of this report...head coach Gary Pinkel.

On Mario Whitney - "He broke the 200 meters (record), I think he had the 2nd best 100 meters ever in the state of Missouri. You know what I can coach guys like that. (laughs) I can coach guys like that."

On recruiting players of Whitney's calibre -  "Remarkable pressure on that. We've got to do a great job in state, and that's part of our plan to get this thing done. When you have 2 national recruits, (Whitney and Harrington), You have no clue the things, the details, the minute things we did.. call .. write him.. It's amazing how that works."

On the 2001 season -  "Last year was a very difficult year, to put it mildly. Was it surprising to me? Well no, I knew it was going to be a difficult year. When I decided to take this job or not, Mike Alden looked at me and said "What are you thinking?" and I said, "I'm deciding whether I want to put myself through this!" If I want to. Cause it's hard to win, okay. It's hard to build a program. Have I regretted one day of it? No, never. Never one day. There's been a couple minutes.. (laughs). Since I met this guy (Alden), and also the resources we that have, and the commitment by the University, in what we are trying to get done here… I'm excited as ever in building this."

How did Mizzou stack up compared to the rest of the Big 12 in 2001? -  "We weren't a very good team (last year). 9th or 10th speed wise in the league. 9th or 10th strength wise in the league. and just to let you know if your if your 9th or 10th strength wise, you just don't go kick everybody's rear end. You know what I'm talking about? I'm being honest with you. It's just a secret between you and me. Nobody else knows about it. (This isn't a radio microphone is it… laughs)"

What is being done to improve the program? -  "We have a plan for everything we do. We have moved up several notches strength wise, in our league. We have moved up several notches speed wise. Stronger, faster, quicker. That is all based on numbers. Most all of our scholarship players will comeback for summer school during June and July. We will pay for them to be there, Room and board. That's something I went to Mike (for), because all the top programs in the country are doing that. Our players will advance in their degree's. Okay. And they'll also work on becoming better football players. Getting stronger, faster, quicker. (They were back 6/3). A year ago we had to talk players into doing that. Most remarkable thing I have ever seen. This year the leadership of the team. There was no talkin' anybody into it. It's just, "your gonna be here." And it's voluntary, so they don't have to be here. (laughs)."

Positioning Missouri as a national power -  "All you people want to bring UCLA, Miami, Florida State in here. Come talk to me. (laughs). Come talk to me. Let's become one of the good ones. Let us become the one everyone wants to see brought in."

How about those young guns in the program? -  "Most of the freshman will come in three four days a week. Harrington is a phenomenal athlete, now he has to become a good football player. A lot of our freshman will come in over the summer. Can't go to school, but we'll get ‘em a job. They have to get their housing. We ask that they at least show up for two weeks. Get acclimated with the program. We have a young man (in this program) named Brad Smith, a redshirt freshman.  He's one of the most talented guys I've ever been around. Kirk Farmer is working harder than he ever has in his life, I'm very proud of him. The more competition we have, the better coach I'll be."

(Tomorrow, some comments from Gary Link about the basketball Tigers you won't want to miss!)

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