Pinkel Puts Ole Miss in Past, Moves on to WMU

The Mizzou football team officially put Ole Miss in the past and moved on to Western Michigan week Monday afternoon. Coach Gary Pinkel and his players had plenty to say about the young season, what has gone right and where they know they need to improve.

Mizzou coach Gary Pinkel spoke for about a half-hour this afternoon, and here are some of the notable points he made:

He has great respect for the MAC, being a former MAC coach. WMU went to a bowl last year and probably will this year as well, and was picked to win the MAC.

There are a lot of things to work on in order to get better as a team. The defense is the main issue, obviously. Mizzou needs to put these wins away instead of giving up big comebacks late. "It bothers me. I've got to fix it," he said, pointing out it's now happened three games in a row dating back to the Oregon State game last year. "Three in a row is a trend, and trends aren't good."

He's not inclined to take his foot off of the gas, even with a big lead, until four-to-eight minutes remain in the game. "Our offense isn't ‘sit back and take your time.' Our offense is an attack offense."

Again on defense, Mizzou is giving up way too many big plays. The defense is wearing down because of that, and not because the MU offense moves so quickly While crediting Ole Miss running back Ben-Jarvis Green, he was not happy about allowing him 200-plus yards. "Big plays wear you down. We've had way too many big plays, and that has got to stop."

--- Marcus Woods should be back. Danario Alexander will have his cast off Tuesday in exchange for a shorter one. He'll then be able to get back to practice. He has a great attitude and is working hard and lifting weights.

--- The offense has been good but not so much at the end of the third and fourth quarters. There have been flashes of excellence, such as early in the Ole Miss game. "Hopefully we can score more and we'll work hard to do that."

--- Martin Rucker made one of the guttiest plays Pinkel has ever seen on a third and six, carrying six defenders for a third down. Rucker is better than ever as a player and a leader, and if MU's players made that kind of effort on every play, they'd win lots of games.

--- WMU coach Bill Cubit runs a multiple offense, using one and two-back formations. He's a really good coach and impressed Pinkel with how quickly he turned it around at WMU, considering Pinkel struggled for a while to rebuild Toledo.

--- WMU wideout Jamarko Simmons has 28 catches for 302 yards and presents a serious challenge. "He's really, really quick."

--- The pass rush really needs to improve.

--- Mizzou is seventh in the nation in turnovers, but the numbers don't mean much until you get about halfway into the season. "There's no greater stat than turnovers," Pinkel said. Also, if the team could allow about 17 points per game than it will win a lot of games.

--- Cornerback Darnell Terrell has gotten beaten too much. His mistakes aren't worse than anyone else's, but since he is on an island out there, people will always notice, just like when a wide receiver drops a pass. "He's got to play better," though.

--- Pinkel took Tony Temple aside after a slow start and told him, "You've got to stop dancing. Hit the hole." Temple took the advice to heart and began to break off big gains. It reminded Pinkel of when took aside Chester Taylor – the former Toledo running back and current NFL player – after his fourth fumble in four games and asked him if he'd promise Pinkel he'd never fumble again. He never did. "I should talk to all of my players like that," Pinkel said.

--- Pinkel praised the fan support at Ole Miss and is very excited about the ever-growing home-field advantage at Faurot Field. "The players were really excited about that" at Ole Miss.

--- Spent a good five minutes praising Chase Daniel's intelligence, preparation and competitiveness. "He knows the offense and the opposing defense like a coach. There's no difference. I've never been around a guy like that."

Stay tuned to all week for more on the Tigers 2-0 start, the players, themes and challenges that lie ahead…

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