Missouri Press Conference Quotes



Sept. 7, 2009


Head Coach Gary Pinkel
Injury Report:
“Devion Moore (has a) high ankle sprain. Don’t think it’s severe, but severe enough that he is doubtful for this week. We’ll know more in the few days. Jarrell Harrison he’ll get a brace put on and he’ll be able to use it a little bit. Also doubtful, most likely he won’t play. Outside of that, we have the normal bumps and bruises that you do in any game.”

Opening Statement:
“Tough, hard-fought game against Illinois. Our team today we just stayed on our normal schedule. No school, so players got to sleep in a little bit. Got treatment in the morning. Pretty much as a football staff we have labored on Labor Day just like we always do on a Monday on all our game planning. The staff is in here at 7 and they go pretty much uninterrupted until lunch, then after lunch uninterrupted for almost 12 hours game-planning, that’s just what we do. “

On Bowling Green:
“We’re playing Bowling Green this weekend. They had a really good first win, new coaching staff. I think they played really well. Defensively they flew around. Sheehan at Quarterback was very impressed with him, he made a lot of good throws, did a lot of good things. What we’re going to do is just try and focus this week on becoming a better football team. Every player has things they can do as coaches we have to recognize that and help them get better. All I want to do is play our best game. A comment about The Zou, I’ll be real disappointed if 70,000 people aren’t there in gold. We’ve got great fans; hopefully we can fill it up for this game.”

On getting younger players experience:
“It was really nice to get a lot of players work. It’s also kind of interesting, when a player gets in the arena and gets in front of 60,000 people on national T.V. In a dome against a team of that caliber, that experience factor you can’t produce that, you can’t prepare them for that, they’ve actually got to get in the arena, and they did. And I think that’s why you see a lot of younger players like last year Jerrell Jackson for example or Kemp last year or any other guys who now look comfortable playing because of the experience they got a year ago. The experience of playing there’s no way to duplicate that and I thought it was good.”

On game- ready depth:
“If you prove that you can play, you’re going to play. You don’t have to be a starter. We have three defensive ends that are high-level players the best one will start but all three are starters. We have a couple red shirt freshmen that are trying to get in the competition there. Same thing on the offensive line, same thing on receivers. So that’s positive. That’s our challenge as coaches to get players ready to play. And that’s the challenge for players to practice and showing us on the field that, ‘hey this guy had proven in practice that he deserves to opportunity to get some reps’. “

On Coach Steckel:
“I think he did an excellent job. He’s a very good coach. It’s pretty much the same stuff we’ve always done. A little bit different. I also suggest that he would tell you that he’s got a lot of player that are very athletic, that can fly around. So I think first give credit to the players. Dave did a great job and the defensive staff.”

On who will play:
“Once you go in and play, then how do you play when you get in there? You have to play and earn the right to play the next week. We have a pretty good eye, we can pretty much tell which player is ready to play, and when he deserves the opportunity to play. Once you get that opportunity we expect you to do a real good job. Once you do well, then you’re competing to start or you might split time or you can win the job. Its all based on competition, and it’s all based on performance.”

On the “Scorpion”:
“The defensive staff tried to get 3 of our best pass rushers on the field at the same time, that was part of the deal. We used it when we are dime on defense. That’s when we bring a linebacker out and put a corner in. That’s when we used it. Sometimes it worked pretty good, I think we’ll get better at it.”

On the complexity of receivers’ routes:
“One of the neat things about playing skill positions is that it is very complex and there is detail in every route on how you run. We adjust our routes a lot. It takes a while to learn the details of it. It’s really critical that every guy on that field when they’re running their routes is in exactly the right spot for the defense they’re attacking. I think they take a lot of pride in that. I also think that with Kemp, Danario or whoever and we’re throwing the ball down the sideline, have to have a receiver that’s in position to make a play, And the other thing is you got to have a guy with a good arm and can throw the ball in there. We have a ways to go before we become a real good throwing football team but I was pleased with the progress.”

On Kemp and Gabbert switching their commitments:
“I thought that was a pretty good idea they switched. It’s funny how stuff like that works out. They’ve worked real hard since they’ve been here. Those guys throw all summer long they put in all the extra time on their own. If you want to be good you have to do it.”

On if recruiting would have changed:
“I don’t know. We try to have a certain number of quarterbacks. I don’t know how to answer. If J-Mac didn’t come here would I still be standing here? I don’t know.”

On Gabbert taking hits:
“You’re special if you can do that. I was really impressed with him. He was focused, I think the whole team was focused. He has shown a lot of toughness. Very good first performance.”

On Kendial Lawrence:
“It was great to get Kendial out there. And little did you know right away he’s going to be playing this week more. Just because Gilbert Moye was not with us this weekend because he had a funeral, he’s back with us now. He’s going to be right in the mix now. His comfort zone is just a little bit better now just because he’s been in the arena a little bit. So that was positive.”

On the kicking game:
“Grant, we thought, did an exceptional job. Hold was good by Shock (Forrest), and Beau snapped it good. All those things you don’t think about until the ball goes somewhere else. Our punting game was fairly good. Kick off was okay. I think it was a very solid football game. Everybody was zeroed in and for a first football game that’s a little bit unusual.”

On keeping “the edge”:
“I think it’s wise with a relatively inexperienced football team that’s had a lot of success that I make them aware of what we’re going to do this week to prepare for this game, to get better. Meet with seniors at 7:35 a.m. Tuesday. First of all we’re not good enough to be over-confident. I think it’s wise of me to be alert to all those hazards.”

Sophomore TB De’Vion Moore
On the lack of running plays during the Illinois game:
“You get a little frustrated with it, but as the game progressed we established a great passing game. Blaine was doing an awesome job making correct reads, and the receivers were making great plays. You can’t do anything but be excited for the rest of the team. We would have liked to contribute a lot more, but the situation ended up that the passing game was working well. They [Illinois] played against the run game really well, Illinois did a great job defensively, so Blaine Gabbert just made it happen with his arm and we contributed in any way that we could.”

On whether the Illini were focused on the run game:
“I can see that. Last year Derrick Washington had a really great game against Illinois. He bruised them with the running game. This year, [Illinois] probably just came into the game thinking that they weren’t going to let the run game defeat them again. Blaine Gabbert just took it in his hands and said the passing game was going to do it, and that’s what happened.”

On the injury to his ankle late in the game:
“It was a fourth quarter situation, going down into the endzone, and there was a big crowd of people in there. I took a little shot to the ankle, but it’s nothing major right now. I’m just trying to get it back in shape and come back as soon as I can. I’m just taking my time with it right now, because Coach [Gary] Pinkel always says to just take your time. If you rush an injury, it can take a whole season to correct.”

Senior WR Jared Perry
On how the team stays focused:
“We just practiced very hard last week and only thought about Illinois—that’s the one thing we thought about last week, just Illinois. Being picked to finish third in the Big XII, that gives us a point to prove. That gives us motivation, and when we watch television and hear them talk about us that just gives us motivation to go out there and make plays.”

On his significant playing time against Illinois:
“For me, that was my first big game time since the spring because I was out with my shoulder injury. It felt pretty good to go out there and try to make things happen. We just have to keep the same mentality, same mindset, and just keep going.”

On his demotion to the second team during practice and its impact:
“I’ve just been working hard. I stayed positive, talked to my family about it, and now I just need to keep doing what I’m doing. I know I can go out there and make plays. I think the coaches made a good decision—it made me rethink what I’ve been doing in practice. I just think I had a lack of focus. In scrimmage I dropped two balls, and I think that was just a lack of focus on my part.”

Senior LB Sean Weatherspoon
On Coach Pinkel’s statement that Tuesday and Wednesday would be their hardest practices;
“It doesn’t mean too much, just because every Tuesday and Wednesday are really tough practices during season. I think he’s just really making the emphasis to get everyone’s mind right. Bowling Green is the type of team that can come in and destroy all the good things that we have going. Coach [Pinkel] is just letting everyone know that. We’re always going out there hard, but he just might make it a little more physical this week.”

On playing the home opener:
“I’m very excited. I’m always excited for a football game. I was excited to play Illinois, and then we had to wait seven more days for the next one. It’s going to be great to be in “The Zou” again.”

On defensive improvements:
“We did OK, but we can definitely be a little better. There is always room for improvement, so we’re just going to go out there and work hard this week and do what Coach Pinkel wants us to do. Hopefully we can come out this week and do a little bit better than we did last week.”

Senior DT Jaron Baston
On playing a home game in front of the fans:
“We love to see all the support. We’ve got the brand new Jumbotron out there, which they spent a lot of money on. As long as the fans come out and support us, then I think we can do pretty well. I’m looking forward to seeing if it turns out the way we want it to.”

On Heisman hopes for Blaine Gabbert:
“It’s probably a little early for that. It’s his first career start, and he still has to play in a lot more games. That was a great first test for him. Someone asked me if I was surprised how he played—not at all. He has only gotten better and better as time has gone by, and he will continue to get better. The one thing that he has on his side is that he has fun. Even if he’d thrown an interception, you would still see him go back out there and try to do his best on the next drive. They say that a great player has to learn how to forget the bad plays and move on to the next series, so he’s going to be just fine. I’m glad he’s my quarterback.”

On Bowling Green:
“Bowling Green is a great team. I think our record is 3-2-1, so they’ve beaten us twice before. We’ve got a lot on our plate, and I think we’re ready to go out and show the world that Mizzou is still here to stay, and we’re still getting better every day and working hard to go out there and make a name for ourselves. I think we’re ready.”

Sophomore QB Blaine Gabbert
On his feelings about his performance against Illinois:
“I felt good—it was a good soreness. That was the first time I had played and really took a lot of hits in about 2 ½ years, so I was a little sore but it was a good feeling just because we got the win.I really should have had zero incompletions. If I had made eight better throws, with better placement, we would have completed eight more passes. Stuff like that, and working on my footwork a little bit, but other than that I think our offense did pretty well. I just rushed it a little bit. In the face of pressure, I’ve just got to stay calm and deliver the football.”

On Illinois’ focus on the running game:
“In the first half they were kind of spying D-Wash [Derrick Washington] on the runs, they weren’t really accounting for me. In the second half, they started watching me a little more and Derrick got more yards. That was probably one of their main focal points all week—stopping D-Wash—just because he had such a great game against them this season.”

On his help in bringing receiver Wes Kemp to the program:
“We just kind of both ended up thinking about not going to the schools that we had first chosen, but in the end he had to make his own decision. I really just kind of helped him a little bit, but he came around himself.”

On the day he committed to Missouri:
“It was fun. It was just a big relief because I had been thinking about coming here for awhile. I think I committed after the Texas A&M game or the Texas Tech game—I just told Coach [Gary] Pinkel and Coach [David] Yost in the locker room after the game. I was happy to finally end the whole recruiting deal. I was decommitted from Nebraska for probably three weeks already just so I could kind of clear all of that away, but I kind of knew I was coming here right away. You’ve got to be upfront with the coaching staffs who recruited you, because they put a lot of time into it, so you’ve got to be respectful.”

Sophomore WR Wes Kemp
On the receiving corps:
“I think with a new quarterback, we’re still very deep at the receiver position. I think Blaine has a lot of options to throw to. I don’t think there’s any one receiver, like a J-Mac [Jeremy Maclin] where you know they’re going to have 100-some yards, or a [Chase] Coffman where you know they’ll get a lot of touches. I think the defenses we face will have a lot more to prepare for.”

On the precision of football:
“It’s always a game of inches. If you watch film and look at our routes, you see that if you’re even half a yard too deep the [defense] can get it depending on where the safeties are. I think it definitely is a game of inches and where the ball is and what defense you’re given.”

On whether he would be at Missouri if Blaine Gabbert wasn’t:
“That’s a hard question… I don’t know. I really can’t say, things just worked out that way. Things were happening at Wisconsin too, so I didn’t want to stay there and I kind of knew I was going to get out of that commitment. It just happened that Blaine got out of his too. I had been struggling with it for awhile, and once Blaine committed it made my choice a little bit easier.”



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