ICYMI: Mizzou at Media Days
Q. You did a lot better than that. Hey, you've got a center who started 40 straight games. How big is that just to have a guy who started 40 games? Also at a key position like that.
COACH PINKEL: Evan Boehm, he was a national recruit out of Kansas City. I knew him when he was 13 years old. His father is a high school football coach there. He's done a great job. You're a coach's son, you've just been a part of football your whole life. So he comes in with great leadership skills, gung ho, competitive, and that's the way he is. He had a phenomenal career thus far. It's hard to believe that this is his fourth year now. He started every game since he's been here. I thought he played at a very, very high level a year ago, and I think he's on Rimington watch list right now, and he should be. What he wants to do now is just take his game to a whole different level. That's hard to do. It's hard to get there. But I think he's worked very hard to get that done.
On being at SEC Media Days for the second time:
"You get a little bit more comfortable. Maty (Mauk) and I, it’s our second-straight year, but for Kenya Dennis, it’s his first year and he tried to ask us what it’s about and what to look forward to. I said that it’s an experience that you’ll never ever get again. Just getting asked a bunch of questions about your football team and it kind of gets you ready for the football season and gets you ready to go. It’s great and it’s a lot of fun to be here. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity, but for Maty (Mauk) and I, just joking around, it’s kind of a twice in a lifetime opportunity to have."
On being more consistent than past ratings:
"I have to go over what we are doing… make sure I understand what they are doing on defense and get our guys the ball. Sometimes it might be sloppy….A 27 QBR rating and 14-4 is a start but I’m going to take wins over stats. I’m not a guy going out there for stats… I’m here to win football games."
On Coach Barry Odom:
"(Coach) Odom is very smart. He loves to be around the game. He’s a lot more aggressive. We should be the same. I don’t see us missing a beat with him coming in. I only see us getting more aggressive. Our schemes and everything should stay the same. He’s done a good job, coming in and getting us ready to play every day. I really look forward to playing for his defense this year."
Missouri tailback Morgan Steward, sidelined since last August with a hip injury, is healthier than he’s been since getting hurt and could practice early in preseason camp, Pinkel said. Safety Tavon Ross, who tore his ACL during spring practices, is expected to be 100 percent by the start of camp on Aug. 6.With Trevon Walters out until at least the middle of September following spring knee surgery, tailback depth remains a concern. Pinkel said he expects all of the newcomers to qualify academically, though junior college tailback Chase Abbington is finishing up a class this month, he said. The former Fort Zumwalt South player has spent the last two years at Hutchinson Community College."I think he can be a real plus for us, if he takes care of his academics," Pinkel said.
His father, Mike, was diagnosed with colorectal cancer in June. Mike coached his son at Kenton, Ohio, High School before moving to Springfield and taking over at Glendale in 2014.
He’s been a mainstay at Missouri games, home and road, since Mauk got to Columbia. He started treatment earlier this month.
"His big thing was ‘I’m not going to miss a game. I’m missing the treatment,’" Mauk said. "He can’t afford that. My biggest thing is yeah, I want you to be there, but I want you to be good."
When "distractions" come from the realm of the fairly benign — like, say, harsh words after a poor performance — they’re fairly easy to shrug off.
Concern over the health of a loved one is more difficult.
"It’s hard. At times you’ll find yourself sitting in your room just thinking about it," Mauk said. "If there’s anyone that can beat it, it’s him. Winning is something he knows how to do at a high level. I’m not too worried because I know he’s not a guy that’s going to give up. He’s got this support crew around him. Our family, it’s in our blood to fight.
"This season’s going to be for him."
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