Mizzou Football Media Day Quotes - Nov. 25



Nov. 25, 2013

Head Coach, Gary Pinkel

Opening Statement...
"As usual, we are preparing normally like any game week. It's a little different for the players since they don't have school right now. They were excited about playing this game against Texas A&M, and we worked really hard to be in this position. We are a good football team, and when you are competing for a championship you have to beat good teams. Our focus as always is that we play our best football game. I wanted to mention Coach Frank Lauterbur who passed away a week ago. He used to be the head coach at Toledo. He was a good friend of mine, and a colleague. He passed away last week in Toledo. He was a great coach at Toledo. He also coached at Iowa, as a head coach. He broke a lot of records while at Toledo. I think he had three undefeated seasons there. When I coached at Toledo that is when he became a good friend of mine. He called me for about seven years the night before every game. The guy had a tremendous amount of wisdom. He came out here a lot. He came out during spring football, and I had him out here during two-a-days. He would be sitting in meetings all day long, and hang out on the practice field. He would also come out here for a game or two for years and years, until he could not travel anymore. Anyways, I love that guy. I have lost a lot of coaches, and friends of mine in the last couple of years. Just to Frank Lauterbur I love that guy, I lost a great man and a great friend. I would also like to thank you to our fans. Our fans get it. When we came into the SEC we heard so much about the SEC and the fans and that's true the fan base is awesome. Our fan base is pretty awesome themselves. We've traveled so well this year, and we topped it off Saturday night at Ole Miss. Obviously, we have the game this week where the students will come back early, and it's sold out and the ZOU will be wild and crazy. I am really appreciative on what they've done. I'm looking forward to this football game against Texas A&M."



On this team being able to control its own destiny...
"I wished we got help, and it was over about four weeks ago. We talked about it in the beginning on how it's about us. It's all about us. That has kind of been the theme we've had this whole year. We got into November and we are 10-1 with one game left and our players get what it takes and it's still about playing well."

On any specific game plan for Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel...
"He's a great player, we all know that. I don't know if you ever truly stop him. LSU did a good job though. Everybody will say do exactly what LSU did. I don't think every team and every player is perfect all the time. He's such a great player. If you watch him game in and game out, then you see the consistency on how he plays and the way he does it. You have to contain him the best you can, and you have to score points on offense. There is nothing magic about this. I think we are playing against a pretty good defense. We're certainly going to be tested with this guy. He's a better player than he was a year ago, and he won the Heisman trophy. His pocket presence was excellence, and he reads defenses better. If you are defensive player, it's definitely a challenge. You have to be a competitor, so let's go out and battle and compete and see what happens."

On how LSU has had success with containing Manziel the past two seasons...
"I think everybody looks at everybody. You got to look at your own personnel. You got to look at the scheme of the shoe you are on. You can't all of the sudden run a different defense or coverage you have never played before. I think LSU has their number right now. Nobody else has. I think you look at them and try to learn things and apply them to your own team."

On running back Henry Josey's comeback and performance this season...
"His injury in 2011 was more like a car wreck than an athletic injury. I didn't know if he would ever be 100-percent again. Pat Smith, who did the surgery here, is one of the best surgeons in the nation. Then you got a guy (Josey) who has the will to be great and the desire to overcome all of that diversity. I think he is playing as good as or better than he has ever played. It's great to see it. He's back 100-percent and I'm obviously very happy for him. I know the fans have embraced him. He's untouchable. Do not say a bad word about Josey. I'm happy for him for the success he's had, and how he's came back."

On the importance of the offensive line's health this year...
"There's no question about it. Every single guy has started the entire season. Last year, we only had one guy that finished the whole season healthy. There is no question about it. The ability to get better each and to consistently practice and communicate with one another is big. The eight-minute drive we had at the end of the game against Ole Miss was about our offense line, our running backs making the plays necessary and doing the things necessary to finish the game. Our football team is a lot better than it was 10 weeks ago. No question."

On anything special the team does for Thanksgiving...
"We get in early that morning. The Thursday meeting that we usually have in the afternoon at 3:30, instead takes place in the morning. We are consistent on getting things done that we need to get done. We will go out, and have practice. We will probably be done around 11:30 a.m. We will have a Thanksgiving dinner here all set up for our team, and everybody has to go through it. Some guys will grab food, and take it. Some of the Kansas City and St. Louis players will go back home for the day. They do not have to be back until mid-afternoon on Friday. My biggest concern is that they drive safely. That is my biggest concern as a coach, and as a father. A lot of guys take the out of state guys home with them too. It's something that we have done the last couple years, and it has worked out really well."

On anything that particularly stood out last weekend at Ole Miss...
"The redzone. I think we have been a really good redzone team, and we kept on battling. It's not about yards, it's all about the points. The plays we made on the one-yard line and the five-yard line were huge. They (Ole Miss) had a 19 play and 85-yard drive, but came away with no points. Then we blocked that field goal. Later on, they had a fourth down throw that they made, and we come out of that with no points too. You have to have good players, good coaches and you got to make plays. It's nice to have a team that is so good in the redzone."

On the impact and change of momentum with the fake punt call against Ole Miss...
"Obviously, I would have not called it unless I didn't think we could execute it. We practiced it for weeks. Harold Brantley is an athlete, and he can run well. He doesn't look like a defensive tackle. We had the right guy with the ball, even though he could have gone straight up-field and gotten the two yards right away instead of going all around the outside. I just wanted to keep the momentum on our side. We did it against Iowa State a few years ago, and from then on we kind of dominated the game. We got the first down, and then unfortunately had a turnover after that. Those things are well thought out. It doesn't mean that they will work all the time, but when they do, that means that they are good calls."

Senior Quarterback, James Franklin

On the team putting pressure on themselves this week, knowing the game's significance...
"I am sure there is a little bit, but we just need to try our best and not think about it. We need to focus on playing football, and doing what we have done well all season. Hopefully, we won't let the outside stuff affect us."

On watching tape of Quarterback, Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M...
"I recorded the LSU and Texas A&M game, and watched it. He (Manziel) is a playmaker. He will scramble around and he will see someone down field and make some good throws. He has had some good runs. He is just explosive in every play, and you don't know what is going to happen."

Sophomore Center, Evan Boehm

On Mizzou controlling its own destiny in the SEC East...
"We don't like anything given to us. We knew coming into this year nothing was going to be given to us. All the other teams this year had injuries like we had last year. They counted us out, but we are coming out right now and we are focused on what is in front of us and that is Texas A&M. We are excited to go out there, and we are excited to play this week. We have this week off from school, so it really gives us time to focus in and look at the defense and look at the schemes of what they are doing."

On why the team has done so well this year...
"The coaches have done a great job of getting us ready and getting us prepared every single week. Like I said earlier, we are just having fun and not stressing out about any game. It's more like, `let's go out, let's do our best and let's have fun.' You have to make your best a little bit better each week, and that is what we are set out to do. When you buy into a program like this, you buy into Coach Pinkel and what all the other coaches are saying and that has been successful."

On the stress of the team's performance last year...
"Yes, with the injuries we had some stress. You were losing those games, and you don't want to lose those games. They were down to the wire, and we needed to finish to win those games. We didn't finish like we wanted to. Now, we are coming out this season, and our main focus has been to finish, finish, finish. We have done a great job this year. That one slipped away with South Carolina, but we are not focused on that anymore. It is on Texas A&M and we are ready to play them."

Senior Defensive Back, E.J. Gaines

On the differences of preparing for Manziel versus a traditional quarterback...
"I don't think you can look at it as stopping a great player like Johnny Manziel, rather it's about containing him and slowing him down and helping our defense out. I think that is what Coach Steckel will try to do this week."

On LSU stopping Johnny Manziel and whether that give confidence to Mizzou's defense...
"I mean yes. I guess you could say that, but it doesn't happen very often. So, like I said, not looking on stopping him, but slowing him down and containing him."

On the personal emotions of senior night this Saturday...
"I think it's going to be very emotional. A lot of these guys are close and it's a brotherhood in this senior class that is coming through. It's definitely going to be emotional, but we want the win as well."

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