Nov. 18, 2013
Head Coach, Gary Pinkel
"After a bye week, we are getting going again. We had practice last night, and it really went well. The players had a few days off that were very refreshing for them both mentally and physically. Those are a couple of goals that we wanted to accomplish last week. Now we are preparing to play a very good Ole Miss team. We look forward to the challenge and I think our football team is obviously excited to get back competing and get back to the grind. Back to preparing and doing the right thing each day."
On James Franklin returning to the starting role this week...
"He looks really good. He looks just like he left off before the injury. What has been really good is having a couple extra practices, which we always do for our bye week as preparation for our next opponent. He practiced last Wednesday and Sunday night. We do quite a bit of best (of the offense) against the best (defense). It works really well for his timing. He looks really good. He's excited about being back, and the team is excited about getting him back too. I obviously want him to do really well. He had some adversity and battled through it and we are excited to have him in."
On the adversity Franklin has been through over his career, and this season...
"I think last year he had so many injuries that happened to him. The combination of injuries he has had is the most I have seen in my twenty years coaching. I think more of this year was a disappointment for him personally, because he was playing at a very competitive level and as well as anybody in the country at his position. Our medical staff did a great job, and he certainly worked very hard to get back."
On what the coaching staff has seen from Ole Miss so far this season...
"Yeah, they are better. They are a really good football team. We expect them to be a good football team. I told you about this league (SEC), there are a lot of great teams. He (Head Coach, Hugh Freeze) has a done a great job with that program and I think their quarterback (Bo Wallace) has played at a high level. Wallace, I think he is really playing well. They have good receivers, and really good running backs. They have a stable full of athletes at those positions. The numbers they are putting up and the stress they put on defenses is real and they do a really good job. Defensively they also play really well. They are very well coached, and they keep people in front. We are going to play a really good team on Saturday. When you are in the hunt like we are now, you expect to play games like this. Our whole thing is to remain focused on playing our best football game. You do not need any more motivation that."
On any added pressure for the team, knowing they must win-out to claim the SEC Eastern division...
"That is clutter. Teams that prepare right don't let that affect them. They focus on what they can control, and that is playing well. That is when your mental toughness kicks in, and you do not let outside things change your focus. I will be really disappointed if we put all those kind of pressures on ourselves. That does not help you play well."
On Marcus Lucas moving to the slot receiver position, and how he's adjusted...
"Marcus is really doing well. He is a very talented player. He's got size, and he has quickness. His size allows him to block inside on the big safeties, nickel defenses and things like that. He has really good hands, and has done a great job for us. Bud (Sasser) is in there also, as well as Jimmie Hunt. We play different guys around in there. He is a talented athlete, and has had a huge impact for us."
On Evan Boehm moving to center before this season, and his performance at the new position...
"I think Evan is playing really well. The offensive line is playing well as a whole. They have stayed healthy, worked well together and have made great calls together. Evan came to me right before spring football this year. He talked to me, Coach Walker, Coach Henson, and our offensive line coaches. He told me coach, I really want to play center. I really like playing center. He talked about being the quarterback of the offensive line. He has a great background, and he is so bright. When you have a player that his dad is a coach, a lot of times they are a little quicker in thinking and show the ability to process the game of football. After I talked to him, I went and talked to the other coaches and that is when we decided we were going to keep him at center. He is a very big, strong and smart individual. As his fundamentals get better he should continue to accelerate his play. We have been very pleased without question. He has been really good there."
Senior Quarterback, James Franklin
On getting some of the rust off against Kentucky...
"I told some of the guys that I felt like I was a freshman coming back out there. It seemed like it had been so long, but really it had been only about four or five weeks. It felt good to be back out there and it was definitely exciting."
On any differences preparing for games...
"No, just continue to practice and go into the game playing with the same mindset. When I go out there, just to do whatever I did before I got hurt."
On picking up where he left off before the injury...
"Yes, it is weird because I have had to change my throwing motion a lot because of shoulder injuries since I have been here, and I was telling coach Pinkel on Wednesday that the ball feels better coming off my hand than it did before. Hopefully, I can do a little bit better than before I got out early."
Senior Cornerback, E.J. Gaines
On the team having to win out to play for the SEC Championship...
"I am excited about it. People are calling it a lot of pressure, but I just think that it is an opportunity for our football team to succeed."
On knowing what needs to be done to get to the SEC Championship game...
"I don't think it puts any extra pressure on us, it is just another opportunity that we have to succeed. I think this football team has decided to be better."
On what it would mean to make the SEC Championship for the Mizzou football program...
"I mean it would mean so much to a lot of these of guys, especially for these seniors to go out like that. I feel like the underclassmen are definitely playing for our seniors in a lot of ways, and it is definitely an exciting time for our football program."
On preparing for two different guys that can play quarterback for Ole' Miss...
"I mean it makes it a little more difficult, but we have seen film on both of the guys. I think we have done it two or three times this season with other teams. Coach Steckel and those guys will definitely have a game plan for them."
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