Mizzou Links, 11-13-12

Joe Robbins

Gary Pinkel is an emotional wreck, a receiver trio (Sasser, Hunt, DGB) is figuring things out, and oh yeah, there's a basketball game tonight.

Mizzou Football Links

  • Last Week
    The Trib (Dave Matter): Emptying the Notebook: Full steam ahead

    Things were bad. The Vols were racing up and down the field and would have led by much more than 14 points had they not squandered a couple possessions. At halftime, I passed a Missouri offensive assistant in the press box on his way back from the restroom and he looked like he could star in one of those Southwest Airlines "Wanna Get Away?" commercials.

    Then came the second half and Kendial Lawrence's 77-yard touchdown run … and Bud Sasser's 40-yard grab … and a revitalized Missouri defense. And then, Franklin got some blocking, put faith in his receivers and reminded the Vols they were the worst pass defense in the SEC. Franklin completed 7 of his final 8 passes for 111 yards and four touchdowns. Over the game's final five possessions — one in regulation and the four overtime periods — Franklin could do no wrong. On those drives, his efficiency rating was 306.8. That's ridiculous.

    Suddenly, the James Franklin who rallied the Tigers out of 2011 halftime deficits against Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Kansas was back slinging passes with tremendous downfield touch.

    Franklin resisted rubbing the comeback in the nose of his doubters — he was actually the most subdued player we interviewed after the game — but his coach and teammates were more than willing to gush over his performance.

    Pinkel: "I'm so happy" for Franklin. "He's a warrior. He's a tough kid. He's been through so much. Everybody wants to discard that. He's been through a lot, but" people think, 'You should be perfect now.' I told him last week, 'You're not. It's not going to happen.' It was a rough first half. But when it was time to make plays, he delivered. And hopefully that will give him a remarkable amount of confidence and get it back in line where it should be."

    PowerMizzou: PMTV-HD: Weekend Rewind
    Post-Dispatch: Mizzou-Tennessee game still a thrill for Tigers
    We Are Mizzou: Mizzou Offensive Play of the Week
    We Are Mizzou: Top Five vs. Tennessee
  • This Week
    MUtigers.com: Tigers Host Syracuse With Bowl Eligibility in Grasp
    MUtigers.com: Mizzou Football Media Day Quotes

    On progression of Jimmie Hunt/Bud Sasser and breakout performances

    "I think both of those guys are really good athletes and we expected them to be good players. It's just that maturity level; all of a sudden they get to that point where they look like they belong. They start to make some big plays and I also think what goes with making big plays [are] confidence. I told our team that at halftime. We've got to make plays, there's not magic out there; no magic out there that makes all that happen. Both of those guys made significant catches. Bud [Sasser] made that big catch at the 10-yard-line where James got outside and threw it downfield. That certainly ignited us. Jimmie Hunt certainly with that touchdown later and the kickoff return. And just like the other guys were in there making plays. Marcus Lucas came back off a difficult game or two. I really admire them when they come back from that and he had a really good game. DGB keeps getting better each and every week. At the end of that game James made some throws that were as good as throws you can have in college football. Maybe we should throw it down there more."

    On Dorial Green-Beckham figuring out the wide-receiver position

    "I just think also his athleticism and his instinct. He kept both of his feet in on that big throw. You talk about a big play; how big could that play be? It's probably game over if that play doesn't work. That's also James extending that play and making a great throw in a great spot. You want that, you coach it. Both of them kind of just ad-lib it a little bit. That happens a lot. It happens with all of other quarterbacks and receivers. I think for Dorial, that's experience. He's playing more he's getting a little more confidence and I also think there's instinct there."

    "He's got a lot of talent and we know that. He's also practicing very well. He's a lot different football player right now than he was five weeks ago because he's working so had on fundamentals and so on and so forth. It's a glimpse of what he can be. A glimpse. I said the same thing about Sheldon [Richardson] a year ago. If he continues to work hard like he does, then a lot of good things will happen for him and for us."

    The Trib (Dave Matter): Syracuse hoping to duplicate last week's upset
    The Trib (Dave Matter): Tigers Meet the Press
    The Missourian: Missouri coaches prepare for another emotional senior day

    "Senior Day was a little bit better before I used to stand out there and hug ‘em," Pinkel said during Monday’s weekly media day.

    "My first few years, in the locker room I’d hug them and say goodbye to them … I always tell the story that Andy Hill came up and said, ‘Well why don’t you go outside and do that?’ I said, ‘OK, I’ll try it.’ And it’s documented that I’m an emotional wreck by the time the game starts, and it takes me about five minutes into the game…"

    His voice trails off, and he quickly changes direction. He doesn’t finish his statement. He tries not to look ahead.

    Steckel, the team’s defensive coordinator, isn’t concerned with the Tigers’ chances of advancing to a postseason bowl game. In the week before this game, all he thinks about is his seniors – his kids.

    He knows this is a game each of them will remember, because he was once in their place. On Monday, he recalled the last football game he played in, rattling off the final score, a 17-14 loss. He remembers not wanting to take his jersey off. He remembers being the last one to leave the locker room.

    And he knows his kids will all remember the events that take place on Saturday, too.

    Post-Dispatch: Mizzou seeks to send seniors out with bang to go with whimpers

    Pinkel says it typically takes a few minutes into the game to regain his composure, and the same was true even as a junior last season for Moe, who said he was in tears when he went out to take the opening kickoff against Texas Tech.

    The waterworks are both about about the journey, all the shared successes and hardships and camaraderie and adventures and growing up that take place, and the finality of a thrilling time of life.

    "We use football as a metaphor for life: Well, when you stop playing football, you die in that metaphor, and the warrior in you kind of dies," junior guard Max Copeland said. "It’s a beautiful thing, and it’s a tragic thing at the same time.

    "You can kind of see it in people’s eyes when they’re done, and you hate to see it and you hate to know you’re going to have that look in your eyes one day."

    And even if he’s a year or more from that look himself, it will be about something more than that for him not to be playing any more with eternal Tiger Elvis Fisher and injured linemates Jack Meiners, Travis Ruth and Mark Hill.

    "You’re losing brothers," Copeland said. "You’re still going to see them, you’re not going to lose contact with them. But in a sense you’re not going to be able to have the relationships you had before because it’s all based off carnage and heavy metal, man."

    PowerMizzou: PMTV-HD: Week Eleven Media Day
  • Next Week
    The Trib: Missouri game at Texas A&M to start at 6 p.m.
  • Big Kick
    Post-Dispatch: Andrew Baggett recognized by SEC
  • 2014 Recruiting
    PowerMizzou: Missouri targets dot 250 Watch List

    Starting in-state, DeSmet offensive tackle Andy Bauer (St. Louis) leads the way as a 5.9 four-star in the initial rankings. Hazelwood Central offensive tackle Roderick Johnson (Florissant) and Bolivar quarterback Rafe Peavey are both 5.8 four-star recruits.

    Bauer, a one-time Missouri commitment, and Johnson both have early offers from the Tigers. The dual-threat Peavey is an Arkansas commitment, and has plenty of family ties to Fayetteville.

    Two more Missouri targets reside just west of Kansas City. Olathe South (Kan.) offensive tackle Braden Smith and Gardner-Edgerton (Kan.) running back Traevohn Wrench are both 5.8 four-star recruits, and Missouri has offered each playmaker, along with a slew of other schools.

    In total, Missouri has already offered 14 four-star recruits. Also on the list are top targets Justice Hansen, a quarterback out of Edmond, Okla., and Dominique Booth, a receiver out of Indianapolis. Hansen camped with Missouri this summer and told PowerMizzou.com he's hoping to visit Missouri again soon. Booth has visited Columbia three times since the summer, most recently for the Tigers' homecoming win over Kentucky.

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