Tigers Meet with the Media

Gary Pinkel

Sept. 21, 2009

Gary Pinkel, Head Coach


Opening Statement...

"This is a Tuesday for all of us. We've done everything as usual from a football standpoint. I had to remind my players to go to their Monday classes not Tuesday classes. We started at 7 o'clock with a meeting this morning. We have a pad practice today and tomorrow will be a Wednesday practice and so on. It important for us, in my belief, to stay on schedule. We've done that with bowl games and all the games we play.  We always back it up to the normal three or four days prior to a game. From our standpoint, we're just trying to become a better football team. We want to maintain our focus and play at a high level all the time. The only way we're going to win a football game, is to play you're best game and remain focused from the time the ball is snapped until the end of the game. That's what we're going to work hard to do. You do that by practicing and all the preparation."




Injury Report...

"De'Vion Moore has a high ankle sprain.  He is certainly questionable right now. He would love to go (to Nevada), but the medical staff has to make that decision. I know he will be back after the bye week, for sure. It is possible he will be ready for this game to, so we'll see how that works out.


Del Howard has a slight separation of the shoulder. We expect him to be in the position to practice by tomorrow.


Luke Lambert played about 15 minutes into the game (against Furman) but he has an ankle issue. He is likely to play. Hardy Ricks is in the same situation. We had some ankle issues that we haven't had in the past. We always have little bumps and bruises this time of year. It's part of football."


On the shortened practice week affecting preparation...

"It throws everything off. Academically it's been an issue, communicating with professors and them being understanding that this would normally be a Monday and they (the players) would have this day off. In the afternoon there are a lot of classes scheduled. I would suggest that in football you miss class less than any other sport. For us that was an adjustment, dealing with all the faculty here. Other than that, the most important thing for us is to get on schedule. Today for us it's Tuesday. Their preparations jump start a little bit and they only have a day off. Our practice will be a little bit less time wise and we'll back off a little bit and won't do as much conditioning, Being fresh is important.


We have a bye week the next week and then we start that up to a Thursday game. It's completely different than a normal schedule, so what we had to do is set up a three-week schedule. Every single day is planned out what we're going to do and how we're going to do it. We are really organized here. And also, players understand our countdown days up to a game. We have a process of how we do it. I think that's what they expect and I think they lock into that."


On the benefit of rotating players the second half of last game...

"I think it's a plus. A guy playing 75-80 plays in a pressure packed game, where the energy is real high, is tough. But we also wanted guys to get numbers though too. It's a little bit different, not many times are you in the locker room with a 42-point lead during half time. But, then I get upset because I don't think we're focused enough the second half. I'd like to have that problem every week, but it's not going to be a problem the rest of the season, I can guarantee you that. That's a whole different issue of focus. I certainly think being able to pull guys out that it led to guys being a little more rested than a long intense battle."


On Will Ebner's intensity...

"That's what you want him to be like; you want your whole football team to be like. He's a very physical player like Spoon is, he hits people and they know they got hit. He's a great kid to have on the team."


On non-BCS away games...

"That's part of the scheduling, you go two-for-one or you write out a huge check. That's all scheduling that Mark Alnutt, Mike Alden, and myself all get involved in. I've played at their (Nevada's) stadium before.  I was at Toledo so I've been there. It will be a big deal. They are a first class organization. To play on a Thursday night or Friday night is like Monday night football. It's the only show in the country. It's fun.  I know we're excited to play. I know they're going to be. They've had a couple tough football games and had a lot of turnovers. They're a better football team then what their records have shown. Notre Dame and Colorado State are good football teams. Their fans will be into it, I guarantee you. This is a good game for us, against a real good football team in a tough environment. We're going to find out about ourselves a little bit."


On building the level of difficult plays for Gabbert...

"I think we give him a little bit more every week. He is a really smart guy. I've been really pleased with him. He impresses me with how he handles things on the field. He's a great competitor he stays composed. When he stays locked in and stays in control he is at his best. Some guys are different, Tebow goes crazy on the sideline, and he plays pretty good. We tell him, `this is about you being you.' I couldn't be more pleased with how he handles himself."


On Jared Perry's progress...

"He came off a real good freshman year along with Danario. They did well during practice but they weren't outstanding. But we just thought they would get better-and-better and they did. At the end of the season they did well. With J.P (Jared Perry) we just thought he didn't play as well. There was a lot of competition out there. There were guys like Jeremy Maclin and Chase Coffmann who were both First Team All-Americans. You grow a lot from adversity. He is a heck of a competitor and it's good to see him making the plays that we all know he can make. And Danario (Alexander) for that matter, also."


On coaching out of penalties...

"Discipline. Being a very disciplined football team. Being able to handle stress and distractions under any conditions and circumstances. You train kids to do that; some kids are more naturally mature to do that. Some players who aren't playing at first, that eventually become real good players, for example William Moore wasn't very good his first couple years and ended up becoming a real good player, because just maturity wise he was behind. That's why our practices are so hard. Tuesday's the players are just exhausted and they should be, because we try to create an environment that is such that makes them focused and tired. It makes them have to use their discipline and focus on the football field. Some kids have it, most kids we have to train and develop it."



On Jarell Harrison and Jasper Simmons...

"He has done really, really well. It was his first college game. He was intensely nervous before the game. Which is okay, a lot of guys are. Jasper Simmons has done a really good job. They are two great additions. I'm trying to get more people out there, making things happen because we're going to need that."


On Missouri's  secondary...

"I think we're doing okay. Every week there is going to be a different answer to that question. They had that one trick play on us which was kind of disappointing. Carl Gettis and Kevin Rutland have played really well. Hobson and Steeples have gone in and done some things. All those corners are underclassmen and a very talented group of guys. I think we're doing okay; every week is a different test. This week is a different challenge with option football. The quarterback can run really well which puts a lot of pressure on the corners. My big thing is I just want to play more focused. One play can change a football game, especially back there. There is no one else back there. They have a big responsibility. Everybody has a critical role that they have to do on a football team."


Sean Weatherspoon, Defensive Linebacker

On the upcoming game against Nevada:
It's our first real road game, so we're excited for the challenge. They've got a good team up there. We had some scares with them when they came here last year because they have a quarterback that can create mismatches, so we've really got to go out there and be sound and play solid football.

On playing in front of a smaller away crowd:
I actually went to New Mexico my freshman year, and it was kind of a smaller crowd too. The crowd was still there though, and it was a lot louder than what I expected once I heard how many fans were there. I'm expecting the same type of rowdy environment that we always expect when we're on the road.

On how dangerous the Nevada offense is:
I think they are. Their two losses right now are kind of misleading. They had a lot of turnovers [in their two losses], and you can't win like that. They know that, and so I'm pretty sure they're trying to get that fixed. We're just trying to prepare for them. Every week is the same; you go out and prepare the same way. We're going there with the same mindset, and we're excited to be facing those guys. They've got some pretty good players, so we're going to go out their with our A game.

On playing their next two games on a Friday and Thursday:
I think it will be good. We get a lot of national exposure like that. A lot of people out there aren't really talking about the Tigers, and you've got to go out there and get respect if you want it. We're going to go out there on a Friday and get respect, and then we've got another opportunity on a Thursday to get it coming up pretty soon. I think we're up for it.

Jared Perry, Wide Receiver

On advice he received from his family during his preseason struggles:
They just told me to keep my head up and keep focused. They knew I could do it. I just had to go out there and do my best, and knowing that I have them behind me makes me want to keep going. My confidence, pride-everything was shaken. What doesn't break you makes you stronger, so I feel that having that season made me a better person and athlete. I just want to compete every day.

On having fewer receptions last year than his sophomore season:
I always want the ball in my hands, but as long as we were winning I couldn't be mad. I just put my little piece of the puzzle in. Whenever they need me, I'll just step up and make the play.

On being underestimated by defenders:
I think they'll probably post on me later on in the season, but right now while they aren't I'll just try to take advantage of the situation. I love to compete. A lot of people don't take me seriously, but I just try to make plays and play my game.

Blaine Gabbert, Quarterback

On the first few difficult offensive drives against Furman:
I really wouldn't consider it struggling. We just had a few mental errors and a few early penalties that kind of hurt our drives, but we bounced back and scored a lot of points. It's about execution and playing smart football. Penalties kill drives, and we had 10 and 15 yard penalties. You can't be in second and long and third and long situations like that. The playbook gets really small, and it's pretty hard to execute on.

On Nevada:
They're a good football team. They have a lot of guys coming back, and they're preparing for us. We're going to go out there and have a good game. Everything gets bumped up a day, but we're still doing the same film study. It's a lot of our guys' first real road game, and so we're all pretty excited about it.

On the team struggles with penalties last week:
Those are drive killers. You saw that in the first two drives against Furman, and we had a few of those against Bowling Green. We're just working really hard every day and trying to play a lot smarter football. We have to just come out and execute from the get go just like we did against Illinois.

Andrew Gachkar, Linebacker

On Nevada's two losses:
We're aware of their record, but we definitely feel like they're a lot better than 0-2. They're probably one of the best 0-2 teams in the entire nation. Is definitely a really good quarterback, and he's extremely fast, so we're preparing for a really good team.

On Nebraska's loss Saturday:
I was with my family and we watched the Nebraska game. They did lose, but I was honestly cheering for them to win, because that's the type of team that we want to play. Either way, we're still going to be playing against a really good team, because from what I saw they looked really good.

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