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  • Pinkel adapts to Tigers' benefit

    Pinkel and his players adapt into a winning combination

    By MIKE DeARMOND

    The Kansas City Star

    COLUMBIA — For just a moment, Gary Pinkel let his game face slip.

    The creases in that famously high forehead softened. Was that a glimmer of good humor that shot through his eyes as he rolled them with comic exaggeration? Pinkel, the football coach of the Missouri Tigers, actually smiled just five days short of Saturday’s high-noon duel at archrival Kansas.

    Pinkel had tried to play it straight when asked whether three straight victories by his football team had muted the howls for his head, generated by last year’s five-game losing streak and another unexpected nonconference loss early this year to New Mexico.

    “Honestly, it hasn’t changed for me because I don’t …” Pinkel began.

    But Pinkel couldn’t pull it off. It felt too good with Mizzou at 5-2 overall and at 3-1 tied for the Big 12 Conference North lead with Colorado.

    “It’s a new me,” Pinkel suggested almost playfully. “I listen to everybody.”

    Even those that suggested MU come out in gold pants, which the Tigers wore in Saturday’s 41-24 victory over Nebraska.

    “Everybody wanted gold pants,” Pinkel said. “I said, ‘Doggone it, we’re going to have those gold pants.’

    “That’s the new me. The new, friendly me.”

    Are you laughing? Some of Pinkel’s players were on Monday.

    On the outside, perhaps this is a kinder, gentler Gary Pinkel. On the inside of Pinkel’s MU football program, you still need a chainsaw to cut through the writhing core of intensity.

    “When you get up to this level, it’s not just all fun and games,” said senior safety and captain Jason Simpson. “This is not your high school coach that wants to be your best friend, too. There’s a line that’s drawn there, and I think everybody’s understanding that.”

    That represents a change. That change came about last December.

    Members of MU football’s upcoming senior class — the likes of quarterback Brad Smith, Simpson, Sean Coffey, Tony Palmer and Derrick Ming — gathered their courage and asked for a meeting with Pinkel.

    The memory of that meeting — amid the current happy state of affairs — made Simpson smile on Monday. Back in December, it made Simpson shudder.

    “It’s never exciting to confront your head coach about different stuff, especially about important stuff,” Simpson said. “It was a huge ordeal. We got a lot of things accomplished.”

    Pinkel gives credit to those seniors for changing the persona of this Missouri football team.

    “It started last December,” Pinkel said. “The ownership is greater with this group than any group we’ve had. We’ve got guys that lead.”

    Missouri also has, perhaps always had, a head football coach that had enough guts to loosen the reigns of control at a time when Pinkel — no less a control freak than most head coaches — might have tightened them instead.

    Pinkel — at times publicly abrasive a year ago — could hear the cacophony swirling around his football program. But heck, the storm outside couldn’t have been any worse than the one inside Pinkel’s own gut.

    “I think our players were mentally tough,” Pinkel said Monday of last season’s team. “We just kind of got in a rut. And you know what? I didn’t do a very good job of getting them out of it.”

    Kansas coach Mark Mangino helped stoke the heat under Pinkel’s seat by beating Missouri each of the last two seasons. Pinkel won his first game against Mangino at KU.

    Mangino said Monday that he and Pinkel don’t discuss the matter.

    “No, never,” said Mangino, whose Jayhawks are 3-4 overall and 0-4 in the Big 12. “Coaches don’t talk about those things.”

    Pinkel allowed that was generally true.

    “If you have a real, close friend that’s a coach, I mean real close,” Pinkel said, “obviously you talk about those personal things.”

    Pinkel’s old mentor at the University of Washington, Don James, obviously qualified. Pinkel said he talked to James on Saturday night after Missouri’s nationally televised victory over Nebraska.

    But Mangino? No.

    “I see him at Big 12 meetings,” Pinkel said. “He’s a good guy. He’s a great guy.”

    At that, Pinkel grinned and gave a mock blanch.

    “It’s hard for me to say stuff like that about a Kansas guy,” Pinkel said.

    Then Pinkel reached deep down and shared a piece of his coaching soul.

    Yes, things are better now. Much of that is because both players and coaches made it that way despite last season’s adversity.

    “You grow through that,” Pinkel said.

    Simpson said the veteran MU players make sure these days that the younger Tigers understand the tradeoff that was made.

    “They made a sacrifice,” Simpson said of the coaches. “They did things for us to make us better. So we in turn have to do the same for them. Coaches can only do so much. They can’t go play the game for you.

    “It’s been more fun than any year. More personal, more relationship-oriented. But there’s still that business that ‘We’re going to coach you and you’re going to do the play that we ask, and you’re going to execute it as well as you can.’ ”

    Freshman tight end Chase Coffman said: “He’s stayed on us. Not let up. He wants us to be as good as we can be.”

    Sophomore receiver Will Franklin contends that right now Missouri is reaping the rewards of the seniors’ courage last December as well as the willingness of Pinkel to consider that there was a better way.

    “Last year, that was a tough time,” Franklin said. “Now, I’m standing here before you when we’re at an all-time high. It’s changed. It’s benefited us.”

    There are still calls for Pinkel’s head out there, demands for Pinkel to change this assistant or that one.

    “I’m always on the hot seat,” said Pinkel’s defensive coordinator, Matt Eberflus, who heard from many a detractor before MU’s maligned defense held Nebraska to minus 2 yards rushing Saturday.

    Lose at Kansas this Saturday, and you won’t have to ask whether those are contented growls or angry howls emanating from the Tiger Nation.

    At that prospect, Pinkel again slipped into apparent acceptance, with a strong undercurrent of sarcasm.

    “You can’t look at that good or bad,” Pinkel said. “I thought it’s been awesome for the last six months. Now I’m disappointed that it might have been different than that.”
    The Dude abides.

  • #2
    is it just me, or does the KC Star cover Mizzou A LOT better than the Post-Dispatch?
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    • #3
      is it just me, or do we all know this is Missouri football and it's going to end ugly?

      Comment


      • #4
        QUOTE(Deacon Blues @ Oct 25 2005, 10:03 AM) Quoted post

        is it just me, or does the KC Star cover Mizzou A LOT better than the Post-Dispatch?
        [/b][/quote]

        That's because they don't have any professional sports to cover in KC.
        Official Lounge Sponsor of:
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        • #5
          Mizzou is in a good position, I'd give them the edge in each of the remaining 4 games...if they are 9-2 going into their bowl game with a shot at a 10 win year, it'll be a nice rebound from last year.
          You're being fucking dramatic. You own a TV and an air mattress. That's not exactly what I'd call "a lot to lose."

          Comment


          • #6
            QUOTE(BringBackZezel @ Oct 25 2005, 10:06 AM) Quoted post

            QUOTE(Deacon Blues @ Oct 25 2005, 10:03 AM) Quoted post

            is it just me, or does the KC Star cover Mizzou A LOT better than the Post-Dispatch?
            [/b][/quote]

            That's because they don't have any professional sports to cover in KC.
            [/b][/quote]

            [img]style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif[/img]

            On the other hand, they do have KSU and KU.

            The Post's coverage sucks.

            Even if Pinkel doesn't succeed, you can at least root for the guy -- unlike Quin.
            "Need some wood?" -- George W. Bush, October 8, 2004

            "Historians will judge if this war is just, not your punk ass." -- Dave Glover, December 8, 2004

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            • #7
              QUOTE(Deacon Blues @ Oct 25 2005, 10:03 AM) Quoted post

              is it just me, or does the KC Star cover Mizzou A LOT better than the Post-Dispatch?
              [/b][/quote]

              It's not just you.
              The Dude abides.

              Comment


              • #8
                QUOTE(Nasty Nate @ Oct 25 2005, 10:09 AM) Quoted post

                Mizzou is in a good position, I'd give them the edge in each of the remaining 4 games...if they are 9-2 going into their bowl game with a shot at a 10 win year, it'll be a nice rebound from last year.
                [/b][/quote]

                I wouldn't give them an edge going into Colorado.

                They COULD win, but MU has been horrible on the road under Pinkel.
                Official Lounge Sponsor of:
                MIGOTS!, TJ Oshie, David Freese, Sponsoring Softball Players, Trout, Bon Jovi, Cold, hard facts, rigidly defined with mathematical precision, The abortion boat, which traveled to Poland in 2003 and Ireland in 2001.

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                The Hebrew Hammer, BBZ, Foods that start with the letter 'Q', Paul 'Visor' Mitchell, FBBHOFer Brett "William" Wallace, BBFHOF, THE LALPHABET: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N I Z M N O P Q R S T U V Z T U V X Y X Z, The Return of MarkD.

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                • #9
                  QUOTE(BringBackZezel @ Oct 25 2005, 10:16 AM) Quoted post

                  QUOTE(Nasty Nate @ Oct 25 2005, 10:09 AM) Quoted post

                  Mizzou is in a good position, I'd give them the edge in each of the remaining 4 games...if they are 9-2 going into their bowl game with a shot at a 10 win year, it'll be a nice rebound from last year.
                  [/b][/quote]

                  I wouldn't give them an edge going into Colorado.

                  They COULD win, but MU has been horrible on the road under Pinkel.
                  [/b][/quote]
                  ++

                  It's going to be very hard to beat CU.

                  It can be done, but the odds aren't in our favor.
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                  --Suck it cubbies.
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                  • #10
                    QUOTE(F the Cubs @ Oct 25 2005, 10:25 AM) Quoted post

                    QUOTE(BringBackZezel @ Oct 25 2005, 10:16 AM) Quoted post

                    QUOTE(Nasty Nate @ Oct 25 2005, 10:09 AM) Quoted post

                    Mizzou is in a good position, I'd give them the edge in each of the remaining 4 games...if they are 9-2 going into their bowl game with a shot at a 10 win year, it'll be a nice rebound from last year.
                    [/b][/quote]

                    I wouldn't give them an edge going into Colorado.

                    They COULD win, but MU has been horrible on the road under Pinkel.
                    [/b][/quote]
                    ++

                    It's going to be very hard to beat CU.

                    It can be done, but the odds aren't in our favor.
                    [/b][/quote]

                    If we get that extra down back....maybe.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      QUOTE(Dr.Gonzo @ Oct 25 2005, 10:27 AM) Quoted post

                      QUOTE(F the Cubs @ Oct 25 2005, 10:25 AM) Quoted post

                      QUOTE(BringBackZezel @ Oct 25 2005, 10:16 AM) Quoted post

                      QUOTE(Nasty Nate @ Oct 25 2005, 10:09 AM) Quoted post

                      Mizzou is in a good position, I'd give them the edge in each of the remaining 4 games...if they are 9-2 going into their bowl game with a shot at a 10 win year, it'll be a nice rebound from last year.
                      [/b][/quote]

                      I wouldn't give them an edge going into Colorado.

                      They COULD win, but MU has been horrible on the road under Pinkel.
                      [/b][/quote]
                      ++

                      It's going to be very hard to beat CU.

                      It can be done, but the odds aren't in our favor.
                      [/b][/quote]

                      If we get that extra down back....maybe.
                      [/b][/quote]
                      No doubt. Not to mention Johnson never crossed the goal line. [img]style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/sad.gif[/img] I was at that damn game. And the Nebraska "kicked ball" game. [img]style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/ranting2.gif[/img]

                      Like I have said before, being a Tiger fan is a lot like being a cub fan. Way too much heartache and little joy.
                      --Official Lounge Sponsor of Coach Mike Anderson, Colby Rasmus, and Pearl Jam.
                      --Suck it cubbies.
                      --Thanks to RBB for my kick ace avatar!!** --RETIRE #51!!!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        QUOTE(F the Cubs @ Oct 25 2005, 10:32 AM) Quoted post

                        Like I have said before, being a Tiger fan is a lot like being a cub fan. Way too much heartache and little joy.
                        [/b][/quote]

                        That's why students tear down the field goal posts whenever they beat East Bumblefuck State Tech.
                        Official Lounge Sponsor of:
                        MIGOTS!, TJ Oshie, David Freese, Sponsoring Softball Players, Trout, Bon Jovi, Cold, hard facts, rigidly defined with mathematical precision, The abortion boat, which traveled to Poland in 2003 and Ireland in 2001.

                        Former Lounge Sponsor of:
                        The Hebrew Hammer, BBZ, Foods that start with the letter 'Q', Paul 'Visor' Mitchell, FBBHOFer Brett "William" Wallace, BBFHOF, THE LALPHABET: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N I Z M N O P Q R S T U V Z T U V X Y X Z, The Return of MarkD.

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                        • #13
                          Mizzou doesn't have any political connections in St. Louis, so the lame tame sports media tars and feathers them.

                          It's "safe" to do so.
                          And, frankly, it has never occured to me that "winning" a debate is important, or that I should be hurt when someone like Airshark or kah, among others (for whom winning a pseudo debate or declaring intellectual superiority over invisible others is obviously very important) ridicule me.

                          -The Artist formerly known as King in KC

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                          • #14
                            QUOTE(F the Cubs @ Oct 25 2005, 10:32 AM) Quoted post

                            QUOTE(Dr.Gonzo @ Oct 25 2005, 10:27 AM) Quoted post

                            QUOTE(F the Cubs @ Oct 25 2005, 10:25 AM) Quoted post

                            QUOTE(BringBackZezel @ Oct 25 2005, 10:16 AM) Quoted post

                            QUOTE(Nasty Nate @ Oct 25 2005, 10:09 AM) Quoted post

                            Mizzou is in a good position, I'd give them the edge in each of the remaining 4 games...if they are 9-2 going into their bowl game with a shot at a 10 win year, it'll be a nice rebound from last year.
                            [/b][/quote]

                            I wouldn't give them an edge going into Colorado.

                            They COULD win, but MU has been horrible on the road under Pinkel.
                            [/b][/quote]
                            ++

                            It's going to be very hard to beat CU.

                            It can be done, but the odds aren't in our favor.
                            [/b][/quote]

                            If we get that extra down back....maybe.
                            [/b][/quote]
                            No doubt. Not to mention Johnson never crossed the goal line. [img]style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/sad.gif[/img] I was at that damn game. And the Nebraska "kicked ball" game. [img]style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/ranting2.gif[/img]

                            Like I have said before, being a Tiger fan is a lot like being a cub fan. Way too much heartache and little joy.
                            [/b][/quote]I was at that game too,and the miserable "revenge" game.....everyone but the refs seemed to know what was going on. I was off to the side at the goalline,Johnson definitely did not cross....it`s been better than a decade and that still gets my stomach churning.
                            "There is an old saying that goes 'no matter how good you are, there is always someone better.' That someone is me." - Chiun

                            I require the lubrication to successfully handle some of them. *sigh*- Sunuvanun

                            Matrem tuam pedicavi

                            "I kinda dig Johnson" -Triggercut

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                            • #15
                              QUOTE(Nasty Nate @ Oct 25 2005, 10:09 AM) Quoted post

                              Mizzou is in a good position, I'd give them the edge in each of the remaining 4 games...if they are 9-2 going into their bowl game with a shot at a 10 win year, it'll be a nice rebound from last year.
                              [/b][/quote]
                              If they reach 9-2....they get that coveted shot to get bent over by Texas too.....so technically they could score 11 wins.
                              "There is an old saying that goes 'no matter how good you are, there is always someone better.' That someone is me." - Chiun

                              I require the lubrication to successfully handle some of them. *sigh*- Sunuvanun

                              Matrem tuam pedicavi

                              "I kinda dig Johnson" -Triggercut

                              Comment

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