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Mizzou Links, 12-3-13: Mizzou gains respect, tries to focus on Auburn

Gary Pinkel is trying to refocus his team amid a brighter spotlight, E.J. Gaines takes home a very deserving award, and Mizzou Volleyball takes home ALL of the awards (figuratively speaking).

Bill Carter

1. Four days to ATL Mizzou Football Media Day Quotes - Dec. 2

Head Coach, Gary Pinkel

On the discussion surrounding other top teams and seemingly not as much for Mizzou...

"The beauty of it is that you just got to go and play. We can't do any more than that. You got to go play, and take care of your own business. So, that is what we do. The main difference is all of those teams have won national championships and we haven't. We are the new kid on the block. That doesn't phase us. I just want to win our game. I'm focused on Auburn. We got a tough task, and I don't care about anything after that. Let's just focus on Auburn."

On how the players are handling focusing on the game, while also preparing for finals week in schoolwork...

"It's a challenge for our players. This past week was good for a lot of our players, because they got to jump ahead a little bit on papers and on studying and so forth. We talked about it this week, as a staff this morning about making sure that our players are getting enough rest. As you start losing sleep, staying up studying and writing papers and things like that, injuries go up and your focus isn't as good. That's a real emphasis we place on our football team in our meetings and make sure they understand to prioritize their time and use it right and take care of the business they need to take care of and make sure they get a good night's sleep."

On Auburn offensive scheme...

"Their offensive scheme is really good. Their quarterback is a great player. You have a quarterback like a Brad Smith type athlete right there. They run forms of the triple option with the same principles as the wishbone in a lot of respects. They have a great offensive scheme, and they are very good at it. They have a talented tailback, and some other great players. They present a lot of problems. They have a lot of motioning, especially at the quarterback position. You aren't going to stop them, instead you will have to contain them the best you can. We got to get all the work we can get done this week, because it's going to be a challenge for us."  [...]

On Linebacker Andrew Wilson's importance this weekend against Auburn...

"He's a really good and physical player. He's done a really good job. He's had a really great year. He's a captain, and a leader. We're playing a quarterback this week, that is a great athlete and you got to play well and you have to make sure you have someone assigned to him or he will hurt you bad. He's going to make some plays and hopefully he can reduce the amount of plays Auburn's quarterback makes." [...]

On the impact for the program in playing on a national stage like the SEC Championship...

"I think if you have been in the national top ten for most of the season, that it's not only good for the Missouri football program but it's also good for the University of Missouri, the state of Missouri, and the city of Columbia, Missouri. That's how a sport can be an asset to the university in a really positive way. It's great. The more consistent you are in that area the more you reap the benefits of that. It effects a lot more than just winning a football game." [...]

On earning respect throughout the entire football program...

"I just wanted to be respected. When people expect you to win here and you have a losing season then you lose your respect. So I said when I got hired here at a press conference, that I wanted the University of Missouri football program to be respected in the league they're playing in. At that time, it was the Big 12 and now it is the SEC for us. That's really important to me. Not only to be respected for winning our games, but for also graduating our players, doing the right things with kids and the right things with people. Just a total respect for the whole operation here, and you know last year was a difficult one. You take a hit but you get back to work and that's what we did. Not just me, but everybody."

The Trib: Tigers have date with destiny's darlings
The Trib (Behind the Stripes): Missouri-Auburn: A Game for the Trenches
The Trib (Behind the Stripes): Mo' Marshall means Mo' Problems for Missouri
Post-Dispatch (Jeff Gordon): Tipsheet: Mizzou basks in national spotlight
The Missourian: Missouri fans to trek to Georgia for SEC Championship
PowerMizzou: PMTV-HD: Monday Media, 12/2
Fox Sports MW: Pinkel quickly focuses Tigers on the challenge at hand 2013 Week 15 - Missouri Tigers vs. Auburn Tigers
Mizzou Network: 1 on 1: Gary Pinkel SEC Championship Game Preview

Hell of a job, Coach
The Missourian: Pinkel has Missouri rising from the doldrums
Post-Dispatch: Like Mizzou, Auburn turned it around quickly
Post-Dispatch (Bryan Burwell): Pinkel hearing a sweeter tune
PowerMizzou: Music's back at Mizzou

Let's not talk about this just yet
KC Star: Missouri not worrying about a shot at BCS title game
Post-Dispatch: Alden takes cautious approach to BCS debate

Learning from history
Fox Sports MW: Chase Daniel's advice to title-chasing Mizzou: 'You can't worry about outside influences'
KC Star: Mizzou knows it needs to finish the job this time

2. Of all the weekly awards a Mizzou player has won this year...

...I have to figure E.J. Gaines' is the most deserving. Okay, maybe one of Michael Sam's was. But still ... damn, was he good on Saturday. Gaines Names SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Week
The Trib (Behind the Stripes): CB E.J. Gaines earns weekly SEC honor
KC Star: Missouri’s E.J. Gaines shares SEC defensive award Missouri CB E.J. Gaines strengthens draft stock vs. Mike Evans

And one more pretty cool award...
Post-Dispatch: Michael Sam voted Mizzou's team MVP

3. Bowl watch

PowerMizzou: Bowl Breakdown (Stewart Mandel): Bowl Projections: Season's end brings clarity to postseason picture

4. Hey, how's recruiting going?

PowerMizzou: Following the Future: 12/2
PowerMizzou: Four-star WR running a new route

5. (Over Yonder)

The Trib (Behind the Stripes): Let's take a stroll down memory lane and see those SEC projections turned out

6. And speaking of award hauls... Tigers Haul in SEC Postseason Awards
KBIA Sports: Kreklows, 3 others earn SEC conference volleyball awards Mizzou Volleyball to Host Annual Banquet Sunday at Noon
Mizzou Network: Mizzou Volleyball takes home Three SEC Awards

7. We change our mind on coaches every single day...

Ken Pomeroy: Defending Josh Pastner