Mizzou Media Day Quotes



Oct. 1, 2012

Head Coach Gary Pinkel
Opening Statement…
“Good afternoon everybody – quick update here injury wise.  Zaviar Gooden, we think we’re going to get him back, again it was a hamstring injury, we expect him to return but until he gets out there and practices on Tuesday and Wednesday and goes full speed, we’re not sure, but we think it’s a pretty good shot he might be back.  

Elvis Fisher we think will be back too.  He got a little practice in last Thursday.  It’s nice that that is going to work out.  We need to get him back out there and to get him going.  We’ll see how many reps he can get in the game and so on and so forth but it’s certainly nice to get him back.

Jack Meiners has that knee bruise and it’s a little bit more difficult than we thought it was.  He’s going to play, for sure, but to what extent –we’re not sure

That’s where we are on that.

After a hard fought game, I’m certainly proud of our football team last Saturday as we battled in the heat.  It was a difficult place to go down and play but I thought we battled and I’m very proud of them.  

Now we’re just preparation for Vanderbilt. It’s all about getting focused on the next team; preparing and we’ll get their best football game.  I’m excited about being back at The Zou and we’re going to continue to work hard and try to improve our football team on all there is that needs to be improved.

On playing 3 consecutive teams who have bye weeks prior to facing Mizzou…
“The question has been asked a couple of times but really honestly, I would love to have 2 weeks to prepare for every team we play – ideally we would.  If you have a bye, it’s good, but if you don’t, you don’t really think about it because it doesn’t really matter.  Bottom line is we don’t have it, and I really don’t think about it much.  I don’t talk to our players about it and it doesn’t change anything we do.  Bottom line, we gotta still go out and play – and win.”

On Elvis Fisher’s return to the team this week:
“It helps us; it certainly does, especially with his experience level.  We still moved people around a little bit; we’ll see how that goes.  But it’s great having Elvis back, certainly for him personally, with hi being a leader and a captain and all the things he’s gone through.  Hopefully he can stay healthy and have a good rest of the year.”

On Jack Meiners’ injury…
“It’s a disappointing thing, with Jack and how he’s doing.  You can see he limped through half the game last week if you were watching the TV closely, never complaining, never any excuses, really battling through that.  So, you get one back and lose another.”

On third down conversions…
“Obviously it’s crucial, and we know the importance of that.  It’s a very good observation that when you give yourself third and seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, percentage wise, statistically, nationally, you decrease tremendously.  So that’s been part of our problem.  If it’s 3rd and 3, 4, or 5 you have a much better chance.  Generally we’re getting a break down here and there and as you know, in the past, we’ve been one of the best 3rd down conversion teams in the country.  But that’s because of what has happened to us offensively.  If an offensive lineman breaks down, or a receiver breaks down, or quarterback, or running back - that’s frustrating.  I’ve been doing this a long time, coaching offensive football a long time.  But you keep persevering, you keep battling through it and you get the players to understand the importance of not having negative plays or having a 5 yard penalty when your 3rd and 7 and all the sudden your 3rd and 12. It gets a bit psychological with the team – it really does.  Our practices are intense. We’ll certainly try to create the environment in practice so that we can get better.  It’s the only way you’re going to improve.  First of all, you have to work hard, and secondly, you gotta go do it.”

On last week’s pass protection…
“I don’t really look at it as a step forward or a step back – I don’t evaluate it that way.  We just had some breakdowns.  A couple of times we could have gotten rid of the ball.  We have to protect better, and we understand that.  All you can do is work hard, just work hard on fundamentals and try to get better.  That’s what we’re going to do.  That’s the most sacks I remember in a long, long time in a game.  I know you don’t want to go back and analyze every game I’ve coached over the last 35 years, but that’s way too many sacks.”

On the absence of big plays within the offense…
“If you can get 10, 12, 15, 18 yard plays – those are big plays.  You don’t have to have 35, 40 yards to have a big play - but when you’re forced to have 14 play drives, and not make any mistakes, that certainly causes a lot of stress on the offense.  I think those are certainly true factors, but I also know that when you get momentum and you play with great enthusiasm, that’s when it’s a psychological edge that you get back, when you have people around you making plays.  And not just one or two guys, a whole bunch of guys making plays.  A great catch, a great run, a great throw, a great run after catch – and I think we have people who can do that.  We just have to execute better and get that done.”

On Kendial Lawrence’s big game last Saturday...
“It’s very typical of how he’s played since August.  He’s come out and he’s been a difference maker.  Now he’s catching the football with his hands, he has good hands, but those couple of runs he had in the last quarter, cutting back and going 30 yards on one and getting a touchdown. His explosiveness and quickness, and all those things are really good.  A senior stood up and made some plays, and that’s what we need.”

On what has made Sheldon Richardson a better player…
“It’s a combination of all those things.  Him being around through the summer, and being around 2-a-days and being around his teammates and him playing more -  experience wise, it’s another year.  He’s in better shape, he’s quicker, he’s stronger, he’s faster, he understands the defense better.  Excellent coaching by Coach Kuligowski, and I’m very serious about that.  Coach “Kuls” is a great defensive line coach.  So all those things, and trusting us, it’s a combination of a lot of things I think.  But as I’ve said before in here, he’s very gifted.  His movement for a guy that weighs 295 pounds and how he runs is really amazing.  The great news is that he’s working really hard to be the best he can be.  Before the game I saw him pull the whole defensive line together and he’s talking to them – leadership – it’s all really, really positive stuff.   And I’m really proud of him as he’s grown in the program and it’s neat to see that.”

On whether or not the prospect of the NFL affects players in any way..
“I don’t ever talk about the NFL.  There is nothing that has to do with the NFL that helps us get better as a team.  We have football team, we’re the Missouri Tigers and I never, ever talk about the NFL for that reason.”

On Marcus Lucas…
“He makes plays, and we need playmakers out there.  I think we have them - we just need to make more.  He’s doing some real good things, Marcus.  He’s a big athlete, he’s about 216 pounds, he’s tall, he’s experienced, and he’s very capable.  Its just a matter of having consistency on every play, not just him, but everybody - it’s vitally important.”

On Will Ebner’s play this season…
“Will is a talented player – he’s just been hurt his whole career.  It’s just now that you get to see him play every week that you see what kind of player he is and how talented he is and how tough he is.  Now he’s a senior, a captain, a leader, and doing some really great things on a consistent basis.  It’s certainly nice to see that and it’s great for him too, because the guy has been hurt so much in his career that its nice to finally go out and play and people can see what kind of player he is.”

On James Franklin’s ability to run the ball this year, as opposed to last…
“I think it depends on how it goes and how defenses play has a little bit to do with that.  The first couple of games, when he’s carrying the ball 27 times a game it’s that he’s carrying the ball too much, and now he’s not carrying the ball enough.  It goes that way in our business.  His mobility, I think is important and there is certainly that balance between him.”

On James Franklin’s overall play last week…
“I thought he played a pretty good game.  The one interception he threw wasn’t his fault, it was a breakdown in a route.  The guy was supposed to run an in route and ran a slight post, so that was not his fault at all.  He threw the ball exactly where it was supposed to be thrown.  You obviously wouldn’t know that unless you knew the design of the play and the route and so on.”

Senior WR T.J. Moe
On James Franklin’s performance…
“I thought he looked great. Really, that was the best and the healthiest he’s been since the injury. He was coming out every day and throwing the ball and he had a good week of practice. He also played well in the game. I thought he played with confidence and he played aggressive and did everything we needed him to do. I thought James played really well.”

On the upcoming return of Elvis Fisher…
“Oh, it’s huge, from a leadership perspective. It’s also big to have guys put back where they’re supposed to be. Those guys have been moved around so much that they’ve probably haven’t been in the same spot for more than one game, so that’s kind of a big deal for them. We’re getting everybody back in their comfort zone and back where they need to be. He’s a great player for us so hopefully he’s fully healthy.”

On preliminary thoughts on Vanderbilt…
“No, I’ve only watched one of their games as a football fan and that was South Carolina in week one and they played them really tough. I know they’ve had a couple other games since then, but they’ve got a lot of good athletes. We watched a little bit of film on them yesterday and a little bit on them today already and they’ve got some good athletes. It’s a good team.”

On Dorial Green-Beckham’s big play and big plays in general…
“Well I’ve only had one big play ever, to be honest with you. My thing was always getting a few good catches and getting in the rhythm of the game. His has not so much been that way. He’s more of a big play guy than I’ve ever been, so that’s good for him. He’s got a lot of confidence, so he’s not the kind of guy where you have to worry about that kind of stuff.“

On his expectations for the offense as a whole for their third SEC game…
“Just to be consistent. We showed this week a little bit that we can do some things, we just haven’t put together a lot of drives. We’ve had a lot of big play guys, we’ve shown what Marcus [Lucas] can do, we’ve shown a little bit of what L’Damian [Washington] can do, what Dorial can do a little bit, I’ve kind of been moving the chains here, so we’ve got guys who can do it, problem is we’ve all got to show up on the same day. You can’t have one guy who has his best game and every other guy has his worst. You’ve got to have five guys who are having their best game, you’ve got to have a quarterback who’s making the right decisions and receivers who are catching the ball, and a running back who can be a game-breaker.”

Junior DB E.J. Gaines
On things they can take from the UCF game and apply to the Vanderbilt game…
“They had great players, Central Florida had some great players on offense and so does Vanderbilt, so just realizing that they have great players that can make plays also and coming out there and competing.”

On how he will change his actions as cornerback to accommodate for the great rushing of Vanderbilt…
“Yeah, I’m always the leverage guy on the outside, so as long as they don’t get to the outside then I did my job.”

On his 13 tackles…
“I feel like most of them were in the running game.. They ran a lot of outside plays this game and that’s why I had the tackles that I did, it wasn’t anything I did special or anything they did, it was just me making the plays that I was supposed to make.”

On his cooperation with Sheldon Richardson during the game…
“Yeah, I mean we definitely help each other. He gets sacks, I help him get sacks, he helps me get break ups, interceptions, things like that, and it’s just us working together is something special. I mean, he gets a sack, I go celebrate with him, I might get a pick, he comes and celebrates with me. It’s just something special he brings to the defense.”

On the switching from conference to non-conference teams…
“It’s just a little different coming from a conference like the Big 12 where you play all your conference games at one time and a little bit after your non-conference and things like that. I mean, it’s just different, but it’s something that we’ve got to get used to now, playing in the Southeastern Conference. It’s just something we’ve got to get used to.”

On players looking past Vanderbilt for the Alabama game two weeks from this Saturday…
“Not at all. This is a conference game that we need. We need it bad. I mean, it’s our first victory that we can get in the conference, so this is just as important as any other game.”



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