Coach Pinkel Talks Texas Bowl

Missouri head coach talks about his Tigers bowl game coming up against Navy

Following the announcement that Missouri will face Navy in the 2009 Texas Bowl, Coach Pinkel talked about the selection and what this means for his program.  "We are excited about playing in the 2009 Texas Bowl against Navy. We are excited that it is on national TV on ESPN.  It is in a recruiting area for us and we have over 25 players from the state of Texas. There is a huge alumni base in Houston so in many, many ways this works well for us. I'm really proud of this football team. It was a year that we really grew a lot together as a football team. We went through a lot of adversity and bounced back and went through some more adversity. We finished with three-straight victories in some tough games. Obviously we learned and we grew together, and we did a great job of finishing the season and going 8-4. We have finished first or second in the North each year since 2005. We are going to play a really good Navy team and we know that [Navy Head Coach] Ken
[Niumatalolo] is doing a really good job with that program. We know that the Navy certainly travels well because its one of the Academies. It's a great opportunity for the Missouri Tigers."

Coach Pinkel continued, in response to a question about the Big 12 bowl selection process, "I think that we're proud that we have the fourth best record in the conference and battled through it all. I certainly think the process with the Big 12 has been frustrating. But, I also don't think this is really the appropriate time for this discussion. I think that's something for a later time. I'm real excited for this game and I feel real good about it, and I want our players to have a great time, and it's a great opportunity, especially being on ESPN."

Later, Coach Pinkel talked about the impact that fans can have on the bowl selection process.  "You have to travel well to bowls.  That's part of the deal. Bowl representatives call other bowls and ask, ‘How did Missouri travel?' They've got all the numbers. That is a huge factor when making decision on selecting a team. My statements is, You're going to a bowl to watch your Missouri Tigers play. That's what it's about. You go to the Zou, you don't care who the Missouri Tigers are playing. You're going to see the Missouri Tigers play. And whoever happens to be there, that's fine. Whoever happens to be in the bowl game, that's fine. I think we're trying to change that culture. And our fans have been remarkable. As we're trying to grow, I think our fans have to also as we try to build our program and make it better for them, too."

Coach Pinkel was asked about the uniqueness of playing against a service academy such as Navy.  He replied, "Well it's a little different. I've had that experience one time at Toledo. The Academy is representing our forces and the discipline that goes with that, the character that goes into that. It's very impressive. I think it's a great honor for us. They will play a great game, I guarantee you that. It will be a great challenge for us and I think my players will be impressed with them on film, they've had a great year. They play Army this weekend, I hope that one day when I retire, I get to go to that game, because we all know what that's all about. They run the option, they run the wishbone, and they're very good at it. We are kind of analyzing that stuff right now the best we can and it will be a great challenge for our defense."

Coach Pinkel talked about some of the adversity his team had faced this season.  "I am very proud of our team. We all get tested through adversity, those that make it when things get tough are the ones that are going to make it. That's going to apply to everything in their life, it's just not in the football game. Those are the great lessons that sport teaches people. I'm very proud of our team for battling, those last two games were not easy. It is amazing the lessons you learn when you lose three in a row and all the stuff that you go through and that applies to your toughness and determination in the arena. Winning those games, not just for our seniors, it will apply for next year."

He was asked about Jared Perry's availability for the bowl game.  Coach Pinkel responded, "He's working to get back, but I don't the answer right now. I think it's probably going to be one of those things that we'll know over the next two weeks. I hope he gets back.  He has done so much for this football team. If there is anybody that could do it, it would certainly be him."

Black & Gold Illustrated Top Stories