Missouri Football Meets the Media

MUTIGERS.COM Members of the Tiger football team talk with the media.
Members of the Tiger football team talk with the media.

Sept. 14, 2009

Gary Pinkel, Head Coach
Injury Report:
"Jeff Gettys tore his ACL on Saturday. He will have surgery in the next couple of weeks and wait for swelling to go down. There was no other damage, so that's good. It will make his rehabilitation easier. We will miss him. We expect to get him back next year. Hardy Ricks had an ankle sprain the week before. He was in for about 14 plays and he didn't feel comfortable. He didn't think he was moving right. So, we switched some things around and he will be back to 100-percent this week. Jarrell Harrison dislocated his elbow several weeks ago. He has a brace on it now. We will find out more Tuesday. De'Vion Moore has a high ankle sprain and he'll be in a red pullover on Tuesday, which means your limited in what you can do. We'll kind of see where he is."

Opening Statement:
"We're preparing for Furman right now, trying to get better as a football team. We're excited about playing at home and thrilled with `The Zou', and everyone wearing gold and how dynamic that stadium was and the fan support, even when we weren't playing well. And the students... that was biggest number I've ever seen since I've been here. Really excited about it, and hopefully it will continue."

On Kendial Lawrence:
"He did an excellent job. I'm pleased for him. He`s a very mature guy. A little bit like Derrick Washington was his freshman year. Holding on to the ball is one of the most important things as a running back. He did some really good things and has great quickness. He has a great future here and is obviously going to be a great help for us."



On game readiness:
"It's not a perfect science, you're dealing with people. It would be hard to say our defense was not ready to play. I think our offense and defense were ready to play. The only disappointment I had with the defense was the first drive of the second half. We didn't need that. So we're going to deal with that the best way we can. If you say you're not ready to play, that's an excuse. If you're not ready to play you shouldn't be on the field, number one. Number two if you analyze what happened, in the first four drives we had punts and generally we don't. We had a turnover. Blaine (Gabbert) was trying to make a play and sometimes you can't make a play, you got to throw it out of bounds. It was a combination of a bunch of different things. I just didn't feel like we got better as a team and I'm disappointed with that. It's my responsibility and we're going to deal with that internally, and take of it."

On the fourth-quarter comeback:
"No question you grow from that. Five minutes left in third quarter and we're down. No question it helps. To get three touchdowns in that time you're running out of time. The two field goals in the first quarter we're hugely important. And the punt game was remarkable. Most of the kicking game was pretty solid. But you look at the big picture, we have to get better, fast."

On 4th and 1 confidence:
"Josh Henson was in the press box talking to Dave Yost. They really predicted what they were going to do on defense that particular time. I remember Josh saying on the headset "this play should gash", and it did. They could read what the defense was going to do and were pretty confident about it. But we also trust Derrick (Washington). If we get the ball in his hands, and you got a fourth and 1, he can usually get the job done. He leads much the same way `Spoon' (Shawn Weatherspoon) does on the other side. Even though he is a junior he leads the same way on the offensive side."

On Grant Ressel:
"Grant has done a great job. Those weren't chip shots either. If you look back on a game like this every point matters. We're certainly thrilled with him. Kickoff returns are the only thing I wish we were doing a little better with right now. But Grant has been a huge plus for us."

On Blaine Gabbert:
"I think he handles the pocket pretty good. You always got to watch with young quarterbacks, with them getting out of the pocket. But he is a pretty tough guy. He tries to hang in there a little too long sometimes. He has really good pocket presence overall. We missed a block and one of the defensive ends came up underneath and our offensive line took care of it. He had pretty good time to throw. I think a lot of it is we were just of out of sync. He kept his composure and was very poised. Everything went well the week before that's not always going to happen, generally you're going to have adversities. And how you deal with it shows how good of a quarterback you are. He did a great job with poise and executing once we got going. We were 0-9 in third down conversions the in the first half and that obviously wasn't his fault a lot of things happened-- turnovers, bad snap, a lot of things."

On game-changing plays:
"There are usually five or six plays in a game that change football games. It can be a blowout but there is a point where a couple plays dictate the game. It would be nice to say "time out guys, this is going to be the play that is going to change the momentum of this game." But you can't. That's why guys have to play hard every play, because you never know when that play is going to be. Whether it be on offense, defense or kicking. I think once we got the first drive going and Derrick (Washington) got the first down, then Jared Perry got the touchdown pass down the sideline. I think we started executing as a football team. We had a fourth and one one time and we had to make a play and the clock dictated we had to make that play and get it done. Fortunately we were able to do that."

On preparing for Furman:
"I don't think we change anything, we prepare the same way. Our football team didn't get better from week one to two, and that's disappointing to me, that's my job. You don't excel in the league we're in unless you get better all the time. I'm going to do my best to get that fixed."

On where the team is after two weeks:
"I've always gone by the saying, `You're never as good as you think you are, and you're generally as bad.' That's kind of where I'm at, somewhere in there."

On comparisons of the running backs:
"I think Kendial (Lawrence) is a lot like De'Vion (Moore). He's got a lot of quickness. They're different styles of runners. Derrick (Washington) is a really unique runner. He runs really well. He looks downfield. It's really interesting to watch him run, he's very talented. Really unique style, if anyone can figure out who he parallels let me know."

On Aldon Smith:
"I think he is a playmaker. No doubt about that. Jacquis Smith has made some real good plays too. Both are young players. What we see from him (Aldon) is not a surprise. We saw the same thing with Jacquis."

On defense improvement:
"The only series I was disappointed with the defense with is the first series of the second half. We really needed to make a statement when we came out of that locker room. The longer you keep an underdog in the game the stronger they get, and they start believing they can win and that's when it really gets tough. They changed their game plan up, you got to hand it to them. They tightened up. We need to continue to work on run defense. I think that's real important for us, and elimination of big plays."

On being on television so much the last few years:
"It's big. Once you get out of non-conference games you got to be good enough to earn TV time. I think those that win, reap the benefits of winning. You want to be on TV, you have to keep winning, so that all falls back on us, certainly me. It's huge for recruiting. Our biggest recruiting areas are Missouri, Texas and Oklahoma and we're on all the time there. All of them get to see us play and it's a plus."

On Sean Weatherspoon:
"Spoon is just a very unique guy. His leadership qualities are as good as I've ever seen. He is a high-energy guy. Silence is deadly. That guy never stops. He is a very, very special guy. Few times have I ever seen a defensive guy like him since I've been coaching. He has a remarkable future. He's smart, a good student, a great person, and he is one of the most physical players I've seen. He's strong, he's quick, players love him and he never stops. His energy is incredible. I thought I was wired, but he makes me look like a priest."

Derrick Washington, Tailback
On coming back to win the game against Bowling Green:
"It shows that everybody out on that field has heart and a desire to win, when you're down by 14 like we were. We came back and fought hard and we won, and I like playing in situations like that because it shows that everybody has my back and I have their back out there."

On preparing for Furman:
"Over-preparing is one of the main things. We didn't over-prepare like we were supposed to, the way we did the first week. We're going to go in and watch film this week and try to take advantage of everything we can."

On tailbacks De'Vion Moore and Kendial Lawrence:
"De'Vion [Moore] is looking forward to getting back. He hated watching the game from the sidelines, because he knows he could be out there making plays. Kendial [Lawrence] is coming along just fine--he's always asking me what he needs to be working on and what to do to make plays, and I like that about him. He's eager to get out there... he's ready to go."

On his leadership role:
"I take it very seriously. We were kind of down on the sidelines this week, and I got the guys together and said, `We've got to keep going. Drives are stalling right now, but we've got to keep going and we've got to finish strong.' The guys rallied up and that's exactly what we did."

On falling out of the AP rankings:
"That makes us more hungry. We think we should be ranked, but that's not our choice. We've just got to go out there and do what we do on Saturdays and make it happen."

Sean Weatherspoon, Linebacker
On his hard hit in the first kickoff of the game against Bowling Green:

"I thought that would set the tone. It was the first play of the game, and the guy didn't block me so I kind of had a free shot all the way down the field. I wanted to make more of a big hit, but the guy saw me at the end and kind of moved to the side. It was a big play for us, and kind of a big play for me because it set the tone for the game that I was going to play. That got me in the mood for a lot of hitting."

On Aldon Smith not playing his freshman year:
"It was definitely tough for him. He got into camp late last year which didn't give him the opportunity to play as a true freshman. It had him down a little bit, but at the same time he kept working hard on his moves. He went against a great offense last year on scout team, so he matured a lot over that year. Obviously, you can see it now when he's going out there and making a lot of plays. He led us in production last game which is a great thing coming from a defensive lineman. I'm just expecting bigger and better things from him."

On Jake Harry's 69-yard punt:
"That was big. We were backed up inside our 20 [yard line] and he had a great, great punt. We really needed that at that time, so I was kind of relieved. We just kept running and running, because I didn't know when that ball was going to ever fall. It was around 65 [yards] in the air... it only got around a four-yard roll. It could have been an 80 yard punt, it's amazing. It took a lot of pressure off of us. If we go out there with only a 30-something yard punt it puts the defense in a bind. We don't want to get into those kind of field position battles, so having Jake has been great so far."

Blaine Gabbert, Quarterback
On the tough win against Bowling Green:
"It just kind of tests your guts. Bowling Green played a great game, but we made some adjustments at halftime and bounced back in the second half. You've just got to make some plays when it counts. We were down 20-6 and we needed points in the fourth quarter and got some."

On the confidence of the team:
"Some things didn't really go our way on Saturday, but we caught a few breaks in the second half and rallied to 21 straight points. Our confidence is always there, we know what we can do, we just have to go out there and do it. Sometimes we really don't know how good we are. I've seen some receivers make some plays that I've never seen before. The talent level is always there, we just have to execute when we need to."

On Derrick Washington's leadership:
"His play speaks for itself. You saw him out there during this game--he carried the workload. He and Kendial (Lawrence) played awesome, and when we needed tough yards they got that yardage. They really got our offense moving."

Jaron Baston, Defensive Lineman
On winning after a struggle:
"In the game of college football, things are never going to happen the way you expect them to. That's the great thing about this game. In that second half, we came out playing hard and wanting to dominate and wanting to shut them down, and then [Bowling Green] scored on the first drive. I think that was a wake-up call for us."

On coming back from behind in the second half:
"I think that coming out in front of our home crowd, almost 70,000 people, and being down--that was big for us. That might happen to us again this year, and to see the fight that my teammates had and to see the fight in the coaches at halftime, it just shows that this team wants to win. We're not going to give up anytime."

On the importance of the home crowd:
"It's always a big factor. That's why you have home games--for your crowd to come in and help you. It's our job, though--we've got to win with or without a crowd. We can't count on them to get us going, and I think that's something that we really have to work on."

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