Aug. 27, 2012
Head Coach Gary Pinkel
Injury Report and Opening Statement...
"Let me give you a quick injury update here with our football team. Wesley Leftwich has a Jones fracture, just like Justin Britt did; hopefully we'll get him back in a couple weeks. Henry Josey will not play this year, you probably figured that out. I tell you what, in practice yesterday, it was kind of interesting, it was Sunday evening and offense and defense were practicing on both ends of the field in The Zou and all of a sudden I see this guy in a red jersey with his shoulder pads on and he is striding the full length of the field and I'm standing at the fifty yard line and it was Henry and he was running and running good and he was running hard. He's a remarkable kid and I'm so impressed and I went over there and gave him a big hug and high five. He will be back one of these days and I have to say that and I admire him so much as he's battled through all the adversity he's had.
"Travis Ruth - torn triceps tendon that he had surgery and we would like to have him back sometime in November, it will be that late if we can at all, but he will work hard to get that done. Jack Meiners - strained knee, he won't play this week; hopefully we can get him back next week. Kip Edwards and Braylon Webb go from doubtful to questionable, I think there is a good possibility that they can play, we will find that out as the next few days go. Taylor Chappell and Mark Hill both out for the season and both offensive lineman. Mark for career for medical reasons and Taylor because he tore his ACL.
"We did get some guys back so we are working through that. Players have done a great job in preparations. This is obviously different now, when we are in a game week. What are you going to do Sunday night until Thursday and those days right there are your preparation, video study, mastering the plan, scouting reports, all of those things that you get. Then we get into Thursday and we call it the final 48 hours and it comes from when our practice is and our team meeting until game time. So we spend a lot of time on preparation with our players and we actually give them techniques to use and the better you prepare the better you will play. I like the maturity of our football team and I like the leadership of our team and this is going to be our first test against Southeast Louisiana. They are a good football team, I'm sure we are going to get their best football game and I just want to play our best football game. That is what we are going to work very, very hard to do.
"Tomorrow we are in game week mode, even though we practiced in pads Saturday and Sunday evening, today was off for our players; tomorrow we will start seven o'clock meetings with our players as we always do this time of year. Then get up and go to class and do those kind of things, and then we have pads practice on Tuesday, shorter pads practice on Wednesday. Thursday we are light, and we methodically play that out the entire season, in consistency of our preparation. We have not changed that from the day we got here. We believe in how we prepare and how you prepare in those days will determine how you play and so that is our challenge as coaches and players to get those things done."
How big of a challenge to have five new starting offensive linemen and getting them practice time...
"Well, I think that certainly you know we are stating for example Evan Boehm at left guard straight out of high school and he is certainly very capable, but those things happen I don't know what to tell you. You take Travis (Ruth) and put him out for the season, hopefully we can get him back for a couple games at the end of the season, you take him, Taylor (Chappell), and Mark Hill, those are three guys I thought would be in the top-10. If you throw Jack (Meiners) in there, that's four guys I thought would be in the top-10 and so you just adjust. It's a cry for backup players to get ready to play and it's unusual, we have had back-to-back years at that position, you know our offensive line last year played at a really high level and our challenge is to make sure we coach well and continue to work hard. Players, a lot of times when you have diversity like that people rise to the top, the best start to rise to the top and hopefully we get that done."
On how the place kicking battle is going to end up...
"We are not sure how that's going to come out with Trey Barrow or Andrew (Baggett). Right now it's a dead heat almost. We will look at Tuesday's, we will look at Wednesday's practice and make a decision Thursday morning. We do it based on how they practice and it's not real complex, even I can do that. You just mark if they are made or not made. We will move them around and give them opportunities to compete against each other and we will see where it goes. Both are competing hard, obviously we want consistency at that position, that's hugely important. In the past we have had that, but you go a year without it like we did a year ago it creates a lot of issues in terms of winning and losing football games and hopefully we can rectify that."
Benefit of Dorial Green-Beckham at the Y position and is he revolutionizing the position...
"No not really, we played Danario Alexandar in there quite a bit as a wide receiver. You know we have a position where you can play that as a wide receiver in there and you can also play it as a tight end in there and the things you can do are different. He is learning both and he is moving in and out and he is a little bit bigger athlete obviously from the wide receiver stand point, but he is certainly not a tight end. We kind of worked those together and it will work out fine. He has worked very hard and we are going to let him do his thing in preparation.
On other freshmen playing this weekend...
"Sean Culkin is also a player that broke his finger, another freshman, I think he had six screws put in his finger and he is going to be very close to being ready to play this week, will they let him play, will it be wise to wait one more week, our medical staff makes that decision. Can he go out there and block, can he go out and do those kinds of things? Can he catch is the other side of it and we will have to make a decision as far as that's concerned. Russell Hansbrough is a running back and he's third team right now and he will play as a freshman, so we have a group of guys in there that I think are real talented players and they want some opportunities to help the football team win some games this year."
On how Sean Culkin was doing before the injury...
"I don't remember what practice it was, but he was a guy you sit there watching and I had just written down on my practice sheet that this was a guy that could play this year and I had just did it and the next time he went down there, hit his hand and broke his finger. He was showing those kinds of things and anybody that was out there watching our practices, he looked very natural, he did not look like a freshman from high school. Great work ethic, good athlete, can run, you know we have had a rich tradition of tight ends here, so we are going to see how it goes but there is no question about it we think he can play, but that is something he is going to have to feel confident about and also the medical staff."
On having so many options at wide receiver...
"We are looking for playmakers; we are looking for guys that first of all `play catch.' `Play catch' means that the quarterback throws the football and he throws accurate balls and the receivers catch it. It sounds so elementary and so basic, but when you are inconsistent in those areas you are breaking yourself down. The defense has nothing to do with it. You are missing throws, dropping footballs where you are not making tough catches. I think our 2007-08 team was probably the best `playing catch' teams I have ever been around, that's why the completion percentage was so high some of those years. So you look at that, that is important, we are looking for guys who are difference makers. We will play quite a few wide receivers in this game and if anybody separates themselves we are going to get the ball to them more and the great thing about our offense is we can get the ball to who we want to get the ball to. When you have more weapons, and they are impact players, the better situations it creates for everyone else on that field. Bottom line is that you have to produce to be in that situation."
Expectations for Sheldon Richardson and Kony Ealy...
"First off you want great effort from everyone on the team, but I think the most important thing you are looking for is impact players. At that position there are sacks, tackles for losses, they change football games and defensive linemen who are impact players do that. These guys have really good potential; they have worked very, very hard. Sheldon Richardson for example, he is a lot different player than he was a year ago, and Kony Ealy also, he matured as being a young player. Sheldon came in here late, missed all summer and missed a good portion of two-a-days, and came into the game and had labrum surgery and missed all of our winter program, missed all of spring football, all of the things that we do to help mold and discipline our players and to create mental toughness and create unity and all of those different things that we change. We mold players in our program, he did not have any of those things. So this year now for the first time in June he comes back and he's with Pat (Ivey) and his teammates and so he goes through the entire summer which is good for him, and he goes through the entire two-a-days and everything else so right now he is a lot different player than what he was a year ago, a lot different. His potential is unlimited and hopefully he can have that kind of year and be an impact player for us."
Expectations of Southeastern Louisiana and players looking ahead to week two...
"I have to responsibly as a head football coach look at everything, so to say that is not a concern is irresponsible on my behalf. The good football teams, the really good football teams, focus on playing their game and they do not evaluate who they are playing. What they do is they evaluate techniques, tendencies, weaknesses, strengths, they do that on their opponents, but the really good football teams do not prepare differently because they play a team that is better or worse than another team. If you do that you are not going to be very good, you are going to be very inconsistent and you are going to have major problems as the season goes on, so that is my job to make sure that does not happen. Quite frankly we have to get better each and every week. Going into this season we understand the people we are playing and we have to play well and it is my job to get that done."
On the style of Southeastern Louisiana ...
"They have good football players, they are going to do a lot of different things in their kicking game, a lot of different things in terms of that, they run a multiple offense, and they can do a lot of different things. Defensively we figure they are going to run a 30 defense, allow them to move around and do different things, so again this is more about Mizzou. I do not care who we are playing, this is about us playing our best game and that is my job to get our team to focus on playing our best game regardless of who we play."
On the new kickoff rules...
"I think they will make the game safer. I think you will see a huge number of touchback. I believe, I could be wrong, your philosophy on bringing the ball out - you know you are two deep in the end zone and you know it will go to the 25 if you stay in there and if you average 25 yards per return you are top 15 in the nation - you really have to think long and hard on whether you are going to bring the ball out. I think it depends on the player you have back there. With Jeremy Maclin, we would put him back there and say come out anytime you want because of the potential for the big play. It will also interesting long-term when the kickoff coverage teams are not as good because there are so many touchbacks, so what will be the advantage then sometime to take it three to four yards deep knowing that the kickoff teams have not game day wise had to cover, they have just run down and jogged down the last 20 yards, so there are a lot of dynamics there. Anything they can do in the game for safety is good, anything at all for safety is good, and we have to be proactive on those things."
On not having a drop-off at running back after losing Henry Josey last year...
"Well Kendall Lawrence has had a great summer, he looks as good as he ever has looked here. I think our offensive scheme itself presents some issues, especially with the threat of James Franklin. I believe that we also have recruited a certain type of player to play running back for us. They have to be able to run, they have to be explosive and they have to be quick. If you look at Marcus Murphy he is the same way as Henry Josey, and they all are a little bit different and I think it is a combination of scheme and people are also going to be work on our scheme too. l some of the things that really worked well for us and defenses are smart and they are going to see what they have to do, so we are going to have to counter some things also ourselves. Kendal Lawrence has had as good a camp as we have had from a running back here and hopefully he can do some great things for us and be a difference maker, he has great speed."
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