Mizzou Football Media Day Quotes - Oct. 21



Oct. 21, 2013

Head coach, Gary Pinkel

Opening statement...
"We have begun preparations for South Carolina, and our team has been doing a really good job doing that. I think when they wake up on Saturday morning, they will know that they prepared as good as they could have in order to play their best game. I feel good that our team has been doing that, and what is critically important is that we continue to do that. Today is Monday and they got to do what they do on Mondays. As we work through the week and the final 48 hours approaches, it is going to be critical for us to play our best football game. South Carolina's Steve Spurrier is a great football coach. He has done a great job. I got great respect for them, and how well coached they are. He has a lot of great players. It is certainly going to be a challenge for us. We are excited to have back-to-back weeks here at the ZOU (Faurot Field). Our fans were awesome last week (against Florida). We are appreciative of that.

On Mizzou being ranked #5 in both the AP and initial BCS rankings...
"For me honestly, I have never looked at one poll. I got friends that throw texts at me sometimes about it. I do not get caught up in it. It is obvious though, that are team has to deal with that distraction. They went from two weeks ago not dealing with anything, to now being a lot of things out there. The more they look at those things the less focus they will have as a player. If you are sitting there waiting for ESPN to come on for them to say nice things about Mizzou, then that could be a distraction. Those are things we have to deal with. We dealt with that in 2007 through 2010. The last couple years though, we have not had to deal with it as much. My leadership, certainly the leadership of our staff and our seniors' focus on this football game helps you play well."

On the team's ability to control its own destiny in the SEC Eastern division...
"Honestly, I have not looked at the standings. I just know that this is our eighth game this season. That is what we decided to do this year, as we go and focus game by game. We do not care whom we play, and we are going to try to play our best football. We only got twelve shots at this. Our players are aware of one thing, and that is keep playing and good things are going to happen. That is where our focus is at."



On the team's leadership this year, in addition to years' past...
"Lorenzo Williams and Martin Rucker were part of that 2007 team. They were part of the leadership standouts, and were team captains. There were a lot of great leaders. We have had great leadership almost every year. Even last year was probably the toughest leadership responsibilities we have ever had with all the problems and injuries. It was a difficult up and down year. It was a challenge. Those guys are great kids. L'Damian (Washington) is a great leader, and the players have tremendous respect for him. Things like his background, the things he been through in life and certainly how he has been playing is huge. If you want to lead by example, you are talking about a guy that is making plays game in and game out. He is having his best season his senior year, and that is what you have to do if you want to be a good leader. I have been very pleased with the leadership of our team. We have some underclassmen they have been leading well too. I have been very pleased overall."

On Maty Mauk's performance against Florida...
"After the game he came off the field and gave coach Andy Hill a hug. Andy did a great job with him. I do not think I have ever seen a first time starter in an environment like that. After the game I gave him a hug, and told him great game and that I'm proud of him. He (Mauk) smiled and said `thanks' and gave me a big smile and walked away. If you watched Maty Mauk play high school football that is what he did. He is a competitor, he loves to play and he loves to compete. The good news is that there is a lot of little things he can still do to become a better football player. When your offensive line is playing well and have receivers making plays, as well as running backs that can make plays then that's big. Our offensive line is getting better, and our whole football team is getting better each week. It is a whole lot easier for him to do his job well, and that is exactly what happened. All of those guys created an environment for him to be successful. Overall, I was pleased and it is time to get back to work."

On his former coach, and mentor Don James passing away...
"Yesterday, was a really difficult day for me. I found out after I got out of our team meeting. I knew something was up, because my phone went off like 60 times. He obviously had a profound effect on my life. I coached for him for 12 years at Washington as a coordinator. I learned the "Don James system" that was at Kent State, then went to Washington, then to Toledo and then finally here at Mizzou. It has been successful at each spot. I am a Don James disciple. Through the toughest times, we embraced it. We did not make a lot of changes. We embraced that system. He taught me how to be a head football coach by example. He loved his players and he cared for his players."

Redshirt Freshman Quarterback, Maty Mauk

On going up against South Carolina's Jadeveon Clowney...
"It is just another game. We go against Kony (Ealy) every day in practice. We go against Michael Sam and others on our defensive line that are producing just like him. We just have to come out and play Missouri football and we will be alright."

On getting better as a practice player...
"Definitely now that I am starting and coming in with the mentality that I have to get all the mental reps when I am not in, and I also have to get the reps in when I am in. So, I need to make sure that we are executing, and going at 100 percent."

On staying focused through the distractions outside of football...
"I am not worried about people staying focused. I know they are going to be focused. You can tell that they already have stuff blocked out with being fifth in the country. It doesn't matter. We have to come out and be 1-0 this week and as long as we come out and execute all week in practice, then I think we will be fine."

Redshirt Junior Running Back, Henry Josey

On the crowd's reaction to being down on the field during the Florida game...
"I heard them. I have heard about it. That is crazy. I thank all my fans, and all the people who have supported me. That was really special for them to do that."

On a feeling of obligation to get back on the field with other teammates injured...
"Yes, definitely. Those guys were counting on me, and they were pushing me the whole game to just keep going. I just knew I had to get up, get back out there, help my teammates out and finish up the game."

On whether his biggest fear is to re-injure his surgically repaired knee...
"No. I have God on my side. I don't worry about it."

Redshirt Sophomore Linebacker, Kentrell Brothers

On Mizzou being underdogs and playing with a chip on their shoulder...
"We don't really pay attention to any of that. I mean, we didn't even know we were underdogs. We come in every game expecting to win, and that is what everyone does. Any player that comes in thinking that we are going to lose or anything like that shouldn't be on this team. No one wants to be seven point underdogs at home when you are the higher ranked team. It definitely motivates us."

On having the crowd on their side...
"Oh man. The crowd was huge. I am sure you guys saw them doing the gator chomp Saturday. They have been loud and they have been confusing the other offenses. The opposing quarterbacks have to really communicate with their other players. This crowd is so huge at home."

On Coach Pinkel talking about the late head coach Don James...
"He always talks about him. He has had a big influence on Coach Pinkel. He tells us when he talks to him, he gives him tips and he gives him criticism. I just hope that he can handle it really well. That is a big loss for him, and he will bounce back from it."

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