Mizzou Links, 7-22-08

Yesterday was Mizzou's turn at the Media Day mics, so...let's get to the quotes!!!

Q. Obviously Tony Temple was very important to you guys last year. I wonder if you could talk about trying to fill his role, and could we maybe expect to see a rotation of backs for what he did for you last year?

COACH PINKEL: Tony obviously had a varied career at Mizzou and the best history in Cotton Bowl. Kansas City native. We have Derrick Washington, also Kansas City native. Did well a year ago as a freshman, played, I think he's an outstanding talent, a little different than what Tony is as far as style. Jimmy Jackson has been here. It will be his fifth year here at University of Missouri and he's done outstanding things.

De'Vion Moore is a player from St. Louis that nobody knows about yet. And then we've got Drew Temple coming also. We'll have a challenge. We'll play running backs as most people following us know, and that's going to be important.

I think it's probably going to start more so the offensive line. We lost two starters in the offensive line from a year ago. And we also lost two back ups so we lost four of our Top 10 players.

Q. Do you try -- as you're recruiting, do you try to plug in similar players, or you just go after the best players and make the offense adjust to the people you bring in?

COACH PINKEL: I think from a consistency standpoint, you would like to stay with the trend that you're doing, the way you're doing it. Because the players are doing it year in, year out. But I think the first adjustment is adjusting to the quarterback.

Running back wise I think you could expand that depending on the kind of running back you have, have to decide if you want to do that.

I think we try to recruit players into our system as we know it right here. But I think you also adjust. I think you adjust depending on if you've got a player that really can help be a tremendous asset in a different way a little bit outside of the norm and then you adjust accordingly.

Q. Bo Pelini got asked a lot of questions from the defensive coaching standpoint, are you getting any closer to figuring out how to stop the spread offenses. Judging by the results of last year's Big 12, does it seem like defensive coaches are coming any closer to figuring it out? What trends are you seeing from defenses and do you think that the answer from the defensive side is being closer?

COACH PINKEL: I think that's interesting. I think more people are going to spreads and no huddles around the country than they have ever before. And I think what's happened is don't think that the defense aren't going to figure some things out to do.

...

The thing about this offense probably much more than any offense I've ever been associated with is that the adjustments that you make are very critical. And you learn. We're a lot better at adjustments now because we know so much more. But the defense is, give them credit they're going to start figuring some things out around here.

And, again, I don't know specifically what they are. There's certainly some things we've had trouble with which I'm not going to tell you. But there's no perfect offense out there.

It wasn't just Pinkel answering questions, though.  Others got their turns at the mic.

"Personally I go with Coach Pinkel's preaching of one game at a time," [William] Moore said. "You have a tendency to look forward to games such as KU, but he preached one game at a time and what that means is right now focus on Illinois, don't focus on Nebraska."

Maclin said that the only game the team knows about right now is the Illinois game.

"That is the only game on our schedule. If you go into locker room, the only game you see on our schedule is Illinois. That is going to be our goal this year. Every week we will add a game," he said.

Even though they are focused on only one game at a time, Moore also admitted that all the talk about the national championship is tough to overlook.

"I am a football player and it's hard to not think of a National Championship. As far as what it takes to get there, I feel like we are working towards it, so I feel like we have the right to discuss it," Moore said.

Another common topic for the team was the evolution that has occurred since Pinkel took the reigns. Moore believes part of the evolution has come from the Tigers taking an identity as a team.

"When I first got here, it almost seemed like every guy for yourself. When I came here, the only name I knew was Brad Smith, and now if you talk about Mizzou football you don't know who to talk about."

One more good blurb from Moore in the KC Star:

Missouri safety William Moore said that the death of former MU linebacker Aaron O’Neal is still a motivating factor for the Tigers three years later.

“This would be his senior campaign right here,” Moore said. “I came in with him and got to know him as a person. He wanted to be a Tiger. I try to preach to younger guys what it means, let them know about his legacy.”

Moore said the team motto this year is “sacrifice” because O’Neal, who died after a voluntary workout in July 2005, “did it until he couldn’t go any more. If you’re feeling sorry for yourself, you can give a little more. Sacrifice a little more than you did last year.”

More on Moore here.  Plus...Pinkel video!

Oh yeah, and then there's that Maclin dude.

"I've gotten a lot stronger," he says with a wicked smile the Cheshire Cat would love.

"Really?" I say.

"Yeah, I've gained seven or eight pounds (all muscle)," he says. "And I've gotten a lot faster, too."

Faster?

"Yeah," he reports with great delight. "My 40 (yard) time has gotten faster. I ran a 4.3 flat."

The kid understands the delicious and outrageous prospect of this, and it clearly tickles him. I see it differently. It's not funny. It's scary. I am now channeling every defensive coordinator and defensive back in the Big 12 and I am sensing no chuckling in their vibes.

And I didn't even mention Daniel.  We'll worry about him another day.

The Missourian takes a look at the respect the Big 12 has managed to earn over the last 12 months.

They were talking about Mizzou at the Mountain West Media Day as well, funny enough:

A time zone away, the Missouri Tigers were mentioned at the Mountain West Conference media days in Las Vegas. ESPN.com’s Graham Watson reports here that New Mexico Coach Rocky Long is not so happy about the scheduling trends of some teams in the BCS conferences.

“I mean, who did Kansas play last year? I think Missouri got as screwed as you can get screwed,” Long said. “Missouri was a better football team. Much better football team. But you look at who Kansas played in preseason. If they lost one of those games, they ought to ship them out of there... So a Kansas, who's just establishing a program now, they've got to make sure they win all four of their preseason games so they make sure they play teams they can beat. That's a lot better for a coach's security. Everybody” complains “about who you play, but you say, 'I'm 4-0.' ”

Finally, Dave Matter posted the latest Mizzou depth chart last night as well.  Busy guy yesterday!  Really, there's not too much of interest here--Kurtis Gregory is officially the left tackle, while Dain Wise has moved to RG.  Bart Coslet has officially moved to DT.  Van Alexander is still noted as the starter at SLB, while Luke Lambert is the backup MLB.

Oh yeah, and be sure to check out our Big 12 blogging counterparts from yesterday's other Media teams: Corn Nation (NU), Double T Nation (TT), and The 12th Manchild (ATM).

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