Mizzou Media Day Quotes Coach Pinkel and several Tiger players met with the media on Monday
Oct. 3, 2011
Head Coach Gary Pinkel Injury Report... "Chris Freeman, who had been out the past couple of weeks, will be back. It's nice to get him back and start getting him some work. Kendial Lawrence and De'Vion Moore have practiced, but right now, they are not 100 percent. De'Vion went both Saturday and Sunday and Kendial just went on Sunday. It's nice to have those guys back. Will they be able to play? We might know more Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, but it might be a game day decision. It's possible they'll both play, it's possible they both won't play. Will Ebner is not back yet from a high ankle sprain. Really, everybody else we have back and ready to play."
Opening Statement... "We are playing a very good Kansas State football team. We all know the great respect I have for Bill Snyder. They are a very well coached football team who has had two great victories in Miami and Baylor. They run an offense that pounds the ball, they run versions of the option and, certainly, they play-action pass. They are very impressive in ball control. That's what [Snyder] does. What is most impressive is they are a defensive football team. They're just playing very well and have risen to the occasion when they needed to. I think of the goal line stand against Miami. That was really incredible.
That leaves us to focus on Missouri trying to get better. We had a good week this past week. It was our bye week schedule, which has worked out really well for us in the past. It gets a little rest for our players and we also get a jump on the Kansas State game plan. We get out recruiting, and it also allows us to get extra practices for this game. We've had two practices already and now we are in our normal game week mode. We will try and play our best game."
On the starting running back position... "We will have to look at all that and where it goes, but certainly, Henry [Josey] has done enough to say that he is the top running back right now, and the other two [De'Vion Moore and Kendial Lawrence] are very competitive. They were all close to begin with and I think we have some real good depth there, so it will be interesting to see how it goes once they get back. From a standpoint of offensive touches, how many times you want [Josey] touching the football or carrying the football, getting it in his hands as many times as we can, that's probably wise to do. But both of those guys can make plays too, so I think it's a win-win for everybody.
On the production of the defensive line... "I think that, if you look at that, Jacquies Smith has been kind of in and out of there. To get Jacquies back to playing at the level he's played at, I think that's important. I don't think we have some of the numbers we need [on the defensive line], as compared to where we were at the end of [last] year. We have nine conference games and have only played one, so we have a lot of football ahead of us. We are just trying to get better. I think when you look at some of the plays we've had against our defense, is it not enough pressure? Is it bad coverage? Well, I think it's a combination of all. We're working to make it better."
On getting Michael Egnew involved... "I think we need him to touch the ball more. A lot of times his number is called and he is covered or it's a coverage that he is not in position to be open. It's not like we haven't called it enough. He is marked a little bit because of the success he has had. Bottom line is we want him to touch the ball more, so we've got to do it. Hopefully we can get that done."
On the possibility of getting the football to well-defended receivers... "I think more experienced quarterbacks will maybe get away from their primary reads to go to a particular player who they have confidence in. That doesn't happen a lot because you have to be smart about doing those kind of things. I think James is probably a little bit more by the book right now just because he has only started four football games in his career. As you mature through that, Coach Yost allows him to lean a different direction at certain times. That's just through experience."
On the vertical passing game of Kansas State... "They can go over-the-top with the ball. No question about it. In fact, you are most vulnerable to big plays because you are doing everything you can to stop the run, and they are such a good running football team, then they play-action and go on top with the football. That makes you very vulnerable. That means the secondary has to get run-pass keys and be disciplined, yet you want them up there being tough in run support. That's our challenge to get that done."
On Grant Ressel... "First of all, Grant is a great kicker. Number two, we have to help him a little bit from a confidence standpoint and what situations we put him in. He's not the first kicker that's missed a couple of kicks. It's been very unusual for us to miss any kicks from the 30-yard line and in for four and a half years. From our standpoint, philosophically, we are going to adjust a little bit. We are going to be kind of smart what we do with him and where we ask him to kick. We'll work through this. We have a lot of games left. We need him back, and he'll come out of this."
On third down struggles... "It's interesting because we are better when we don't have third downs on offense. We have 530 yards of offense then you look at our third downs and they're awful. I'm just disappointed in it. The trend is we're not throwing enough completions. It's a combination sometimes of protection, coverage in terms of being covered and fundamentally making throws and making catches when they are open. So really there is a combination of all three of those things. You just persevere and keep going through it. Obviously, I'm very frustrated by that.
I've been on teams where you're not a great third down team, but you're real potent and get the ball downfield, but we all know we've had some inconsistencies on offense. Take the second and third quarter of the Oklahoma game where we are three and out, three and out and throwing your football team back out there against a fast-paced offensive team. That's where the offense can really help. You get a couple of first downs, get field position. We've got to get better at it. Trust me, it's an understatement to say we're not working on it. Bottom line, we've got to get it done."
Sophomore QB James Franklin On getting Michael Egnew more involved in the passing game... "[Coach Pinkel] still wants me to go through my progressions but we have designed plays for just about everybody. It's my job to look at [Egnew]. I don't want to force anything to get him the ball, but at the same time if he is open, I need to hit him.
I know he is really good with man-to-man routes and also in the end zone, throwing it up to where he can go get it, because he is really athletic, he is an All-American, he can jump and he's tall. Those are the things I need to try and execute to get him the ball more."
On converting third downs... "I think the biggest part is getting ourselves out of position because a lot of times we will have third and two or third and short, and we get a penalty or something happens to make it third and long. Really we just need to do a better job of not putting ourselves in a bad position."
On the team maintaining confidence after a 2-2 start... "For the ones that think about it more and let it bother them, and I'm not sure if we have a lot of guys who are like that, they're the ones we need to make sure we keep positive and uplifted and not worried about being 2-2."
Senior DT Dominique Hamilton On the defensive line's matchup against Kansas State... "We like playing against the run. 24/7 that's what we play first. They are a running team, and we feel like we can dominate.
[On play-action] we take running back first then we play the pass. Guys just have to play their part. Defensive ends have to contain, everybody has to do their job."
On selling out against the run... "You've got to be ready for everything because we could be studying the run all week and they could come out just airing the ball out. I feel like we practice against a lot of teams that come out and do something different every time so you've got to be aware."
On the performance of the defensive line through the first four games... "We are playing good against the run, but I think as far as pass rushing goes, we need to improve as a whole. We need to do better against the pass."