Pinkel: Not Budging on Running Strategies

He may be a tad stubborn, but Gary Pinkel isn't blissfully ignorant. He hears the criticism of Mizzou's running game, and he knows about all of the talk about how MU should line up under center and pound the ball behind a fullback. But don't expect the playcalling to resemble mid-1990s Nebraska any time soon, he told Tuesday after practice.

"We have a philosophy and we do things a certain way," Pinkel said, "and that's not going to change."

Missouri (1-0) was unable to run the ball with even a moderate deal of success last weekend in its 40-34 win against Illinois. The Tigers mustered 70 yards on 33 carries for a 2.1 yard-per-carry average. Mizzou starting running back Tony Temple averaged 1.9 yards per carry (17 rushed for 44 yards). The Last time an MU running back had 17 or more carries and averaged less than 2 yards was 12 years ago, when Brock Olivo rushed 17 times for 28 yards against Texas Tech in 1995. The only other time it happened in the last 50 years was Darrell Wallace against OklahomaState in 1985 (28-49-1.8 yards per carry).

"We're always going to give credit to our opponent, and Illinois was a quality team," Pinkel said. "But we had a lot of mistakes on our end too, in our blocking, the course our running backs took, the choreography between the quarterback and the running back. That's something we're continuously working on."

The running game will be a focal point all week, he said. Asked if he'd consider using more traditional sets and abandoning the shotgun in some running situations, Pinkel wasn't budging.

"We lined up under center at the goal line three times in a row [inside the five-yard-line and got stuffed]," he said, referring to MU's first scoring drive, when Temple was stopped twice from the one, forcing Missouri to throw the ball on fourth and goal, resulting in a one-yard touchdown pass from Chase Daniel to Chase Coffman.

"People are always going to [second-guess] when things don't work. If you're running the I-formation and it's not working, they'll say you need to spread it out," he said. "We have a philosophy and that's what we're going to operate with. The big thing is, what are you going to do to get better?"

That's a question to which Pinkel and Co. will try to answer this week.

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