1. Four days to Vandy
* Injury stuff. Pinkel said starting defensive tackle Matt Hoch should be good to go against Vanderbilt with his turf toe. He said Hoch was probably good to go against Arkansas State, but they wanted to rest him if possible: "It got to the point where he could have played, but I went to" trainer "Rex" Sharp "Friday morning and asked him, 'If he doesn't play, will he not be nursing this thing for two or three weeks?' He said, 'There's no question about it. It'll heal quicker.' My concern for him is he just got off that tricep tendon deal. This guy's been banged up a little bit. He's been frustrated. Let's get him healed up until he feels good. I think he'll be fine this week. I told him he's not allowed to get hurt anymore."
* Injury stuff, Part 2. Pinkel said the Max Copeland-Anthony Gatti rotation at left guard was somewhat because Copeland is still nursing his high-ankle sprain, but also somewhat because Gatti has been playing well: "He's been a great help to us. He'll be a backup tackle -- and we'll work on that during the week -- but he'll also play and rotate in at guard a little bit. It's just real healthy for us from a guard standpoint."
Off to an 0-2 start in the SEC, Mizzou opened last year’s Vanderbilt game on Oct. 6 without its most productive linebacker, senior Will Ebner, who was out with a hamstring injury. In the first quarter, quarterback James Franklin took a shot to his knee and suffered a minor ligament tear. Later, tailback and return specialist Marcus Murphy left the game with a dislocated finger and right tackle Mitch Morse was sidelined with a knee injury.
Still, Missouri led the Commodores midway through the fourth quarter and appeared on the verge of scoring its first SEC victory. It didn’t happen. Vanderbilt converted two long third downs on the game-winning drive, kicked the go-ahead field goal with 7:20 left and smothered the Tigers on their final possession. Zac Stacy, now a rookie running back with the Rams, iced the victory with a 13-yard run on third-and-9, bursting through a helpless Mizzou defense in one of the lowest points of the program’s first losing season in eight years.
On Andrew Wilson's impact on the defense...
"He is a captain, and he is a very dedicated team guy. He is one of those guys that walked in like that. You did not have to prove anything to him. He is going to be part of team. He goes by how they do things around here and this is what we are going to live by. He has that kind of attitude. He has always been very physical and a very explosive hitter. He just strikes you. That is kind of what we have known him for and found out when he was younger that we could see him doing that. We had him on a bunch of kicking units and we still have him on some now. He gets so many big hits and really physical tackles during games. He obviously just has matured and is doing a lot of good things. I think it is a little bit of him missing half of a football game, and it is not like he needed this, but once you take away something that you love and you are sitting in a locker room watching it, all of the sudden every single play is like the most important play I ever played. I might be speaking offline, but knowing him and his competitiveness, I'm sure that had a lot to do with it. "
On the playmaking ability of the defensive line...
"I think we are doing some good things up front. That is where it starts is at our line of scrimmage, for both sides of the ball. That allows you to play on offense and defense. I think we are coming along. Obviously, the tests are going to get bigger here. We understand that and physicality of the plays. I am pleased with the players thus far, their work ethic and the tackle position. Marvin Foster really played well in there too. Here is a senior that has been hurt the whole time he has been here. He has been staying healthy and his leadership has been really outstanding and it is really nice to see that. Him making contributions since Matt Hoch is out of there and the team really needs him and it is neat to see that. "
2. Three days removed from ASU
Sam joins the club
MUtigers.com: Sam Named SEC Defensive Line Player of the Week
The Trib (Behind the Stripes): Missouri's Michael Sam named SEC D-lineman of the Week
KC Star: Missouri’s Sam is SEC defensive lineman of the week; Georgia game time announced
Fox Sports MW: Tigers defensive line has been award worthy this season
Ponder in "prison"
Post-Dispatch: Ponder's penalty gives Tigers another teaching tool
3. Future Tigers
All-16 Tigers were in action Monday as the team looks to return to NCAA Tournament play for a school-record sixth consecutive year. Back for Mizzou from last year's 23-11 season are double-figure scorers Jabari Brown (13.7) and Earnest Ross (10.3). Both players provide a veteran presence in Haith's third year, although Ross has just one season of game action as a Tiger and Brown will be playing his first full season in Columbia.
Another Tiger getting ready for his first full season of play in Black & Gold is transfer Jordan Clarkson. The San Antonio native averaged 16.5 points as a sophomore at Tulsa in 2011-12 and should mesh nicely into the backcourt alongside Ross and Brown.
Also back is senior forward Tony Criswell (5.2) and sophomores Stefan Jankovic (3.0) and Ryan Rosburg (1.0). Criswell and Jankovic each earned spot starts last season and give Mizzou excellent size and versatility, while Rosburg was a great defensive presence in the paint backing up the now departed Alex Oriakhi.