Mizzou Football Media Day Quotes - Aug. 25


Aug. 25, 2014

HEAD COACH Gary Pinkel

Opening Statement....
"Good afternoon, everyone, I appreciate you all being here. We're excited to get things going, I think we're at the point where we just want to go play and see where we're at. As usual, I give an update on any injuries we have. Morgan Steward's is the one right now, he is probably doubtful for this game with a hip injury. I don't have any more information for you than that yet. South Dakota State, I think, is a very good football team, a great program. John (Stiegelmeier) has been there for 17 or 18 years, he is very well respected for how he coaches and what he does. He has consistency of winning, they won nine games a year ago and played two rounds in the playoffs so I expect to see a very good football team. They've got a good quarterback, a good receiver. Like I mentioned before, they're very well coached and we've got a good football team coming in this Saturday." 

On Mizzou's team....
As far as our team right now, this is the first day of school. I think this week be the first time in five or six years that we have game week on the first day of school, generally we start a week earlier. That's not ideal as a coach, but that's the way it's handed to us. It's all about preparation now, game week preparation, the things we do this week are critically important to our program; the mental side of competition. We spend time in August, certainly for the players to experience why we prepare the way we do and the plan for how we do it. It works for the players and I expect them to do it."



On some of the freshmen....
Just a rundown of freshmen that will be playing this year. Ish Witter: tailback, he'll be playing. He had a good camp and we're excited about him. Lawrence Lee and Nate Brown, wide receivers, they'll be playing this year as true freshmen. Logan Cheadle. Logan came early in the winter and he's a third corner and will certainly play, we're excited about him. Thomas Wilson playing safety and he would be a backup nickel. Singleton will be the starting nickel and he'll be the backup nickel, a really good player. All of them are good players. This is one of the better classes we've had, it's kind of exciting. Pat Ivey's excited about getting all of those guys in there. Obviously they'll work on fundamentals. Everybody has their role this time of year and their other role is to get better, stronger, faster and quicker. We use an in-season weight lifting program for all of our players who redshirt. They don't lift twice a week, they lift three times a week, but more intense. That's very important for us when we get to spring football next year. We're very excited for the class that we have." 

On how Maty Mauk has matured...
"I think he's real done a good job in his role. He's a natural leader, he's an very non-threatening leader. The players like him. He's got a great work ethic, he works hard which is important for a leader. Obviously his is a position where he has to produce. There's no question the players believe in him, I believe in him, you've got to understand that he's got a lot of people around him that will help him do well too." 

On Mizzou's wide receivers working with Mauk...
"I think those guys work well together. We examined why things work and why they don't work. There are a lot of things that happen in the passing game. You look at protection, assignment protection, technique of protection, sack potential, does the quarterback get rid of the football, does he run for his life--all of those things are going to affect the passing game. The quarterback, his reads, his ability to throw accurately, that's a huge important part there. Then the receiver part is to be in the right place at the right time. We have a lot of adjustment routes for our receivers so that's more difficult, go down and run 14 yards and turn in. So running the right route, getting to the right spot, then catching the football. There are all these components to throwing a completion; we do a pretty good job of analyzing what our breakdowns are and what we need to do. We just need to keep working hard. If we keep working hard and be positive and we'll do some good things with it."  

On Eddie Printz elevating his spot through camp...
"Corbin (Berkstresser) and Eddie were very competitive throughout the entire summer and there was a point where the last three or four practices and the last scrimmage where Eddie played a little better. Ultimately, we base it on everything, and they were very close, but we made the decision that way. Eddie was playing really well, his accuracy, his delivery, his ability to get rid of the ball. Corbin has to be ready to go too, you never know what's going to happen. But you have to make those decisions and we feel we made the right one."

On how having exceptional depth on the defensive line will help replace departing starters...
"I think that is kind of the way our football team is built. We have a lot of starters, but we have a lot of guys who played a lot last year - I mean a significant amount. I mean they didn't start, but they played 35-40 snaps a game. Our defensive line is certainly one of those areas. Our defensive line seems to be strong. Those two young freshman defensive ends are going to have to contribute so we can keep guys in there and keep them fresh. But I think that we can be really good up front. Craig Kuligowski has done an exceptional job - as all of our coaches do - but certainly we have had great success there. Hopefully we will see that experience show up there." 

On the depth that Josh Augusta adds to the defensive line...
"It's pretty good. I want to see it on the field. Josh (Augusta) has come a long way - being a sophomore and playing last year as a freshman. He's matured in many many ways. We have some depth there and now you want to see it play well. You want to see it play itself out. That's ultimately what you hope can happen." 

On replacing Andrew Wilson's physicality with someone like Michael Scherer...
"Well Kentrell Brothers also. Donavin (Newsome). So it's not just one guy. We have some guys who hit well. Andrew Wilson was a great hitter; we know that. But we have a lot of guys who can hit. You were at some of the scrimmages. I was a little concerned about our offense honestly. But you have to play that way. Week in and week out, you have to play that way and stay healthy doing it. We'll know a lot more about our team come Saturday at 5 p.m."

On how the offensive line has performed while adjusting to new positions...
"I think they are doing well. I think that Mitch Hall has really come around. Anthony Gatti - those are the new starters. Connor (McGovern) is obviously at a different place but for the most part; Mitch is on a different side. Still the continuity is playing out. It would be really nice to stay healthy along the offensive line so you can just keep getting better. Our whole team really. If you stay healthy, the continuity gets better and you gain confidence working together and playing with the guy next to you on both sides, especially at that position where the communication is so critical. It's such a hard position to play because of all the things that defenses do now. It's so different than it was 10 years ago and further back. I feel good about those guys but it's about getting backup players ready to play, too. We are working hard to do that and bottom line is, if you have injuries you have to be ready to replace them."

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