Tag:Gary Pinkel
Posted on: March 7, 2012 4:54 pm
Edited on: March 8, 2012 4:59 pm
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Pinkel: Border War renewal "going to happen"

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Missouri kicked off spring practice yesterday, but with the Tigers preparing for their first season in the SEC East, Gary Pinkel also took the time this morning to appear on radio station 610 Sports AM in Kansas City. And he had some highly interesting things to say about his program's 120-year-old "Border War" rivalry with Kansas--namely, that the two schools will resume the series in the future, despite the Tigers' acrimonious leap to the SEC.

"You know we’re going to play again," he said. "We need to play a game in Kansas City. Every year we should play the first or second week in September ... It would be awesome. Basketball can do the same thing. Maybe not every year in Kansas City but certainly maybe four years there then home and away and go back there. It’s awesome.

"It’s going to happen. You all know it’s going to happen."

This would be news to Kansas, who reacted to the Tigers' defection from the Big 12 by insisting the Border War had come to an end, despite support from the Jayhawk players for continuing the series; 2012 will mark the first time since 1891  the two teams won't meet on the gridiron, disrupting the longest rivalry in any college sport west of the Mississippi River. The months between Missouri's announcement and now have yet to produce, at least publicly, any thaw in KU-UM relations from the Lawrence side of things.

But Pinkel is correct that some things speak more loudly than even anger and bitterness, and that one of them is cold, hard cash.

"Of course it’s going to happen. We’re going to make too much money doing it, first of all," Pinkel said (emphasis added). "And all the fans want it to happen ... I wish the Big 12 luck. I’d never wish Kansas luck. I can’t do that. That’s against my principles. But certainly I hope the Big 12 does really, really well. Let’s just move on. Gosh darn, it’s not that complex."

We admire Pinkel's "principles" here, since they illustrate why we're hoping the allure of splitting a huge Kansas City-fueled paycheck can bring the two teams back together on both the football field and the basketball court; it's not an exaggeration to say college sports would be better for it. But we also don't blame Kansas for being aggrieved, given the general "see ya, wouldn't want to be ya" vibe given off by the Tigers on their way out the league door.

Take this trailer (for lack of a better term) for the SEC leap posted to the Mizzou football YouTube channel Wednesday:
 


The voiceover isn't exactly inflammatory: "They say you rise to the level of competition ... That playing great teams only makes you better ... We're counting on it." But the implication is also clear: The SEC is just better than your conference, dude.

So here's a wish that Pinkel's prediction comes true sooner rather than later ... and our own prediction that it may take a few years for the wounds to heal well enough for that to happen.

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Posted on: March 6, 2012 6:19 pm
Edited on: March 6, 2012 6:26 pm
 

Spring Practice Primer: Missouri

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Spring football is in the air, and with our Spring Practice Primers the Eye On College Football Blog gets you up to speed on what to look for on campuses around the country this spring. Today we look at Missouri.

Spring Practice Starts: March 6

Spring Game: April 14

Returning starters: 5 offensive, 6 defensive, 2 specialists

Three Things To Look For:

1.  What practical impact, if any, will the SEC move have on spring camp? Gary Pinkel has gone on record as saying the Tigers won't be changing their coaching philosophy or schemes to adjust to their new conference home, but that doesn't mean it has to be business as usual during spring camp. With the carrot of making a splash in the (mostly) open SEC East hanging in front of them, the Tigers could (or should) have the kind of focus and drive throughout spring practice that could (or should) give them that extra edge in preparation come the fall. But with depth a major concern at multiple positions (see below), Pinkel can't crank up the intensity too high--lest he lose a major contributor in the offseason for a second straight season.

2. Can the Tigers find enough bodies on the defensive line? One number to illustrate Missouri's current lack of depth on the defensive line: zero, as in the number of players who started for the Tigers in 2011 that will be taking part in spring drills, thanks to three graduations and shoulder surgery for end Brad Madison. A second is four, as in the total number of scholarship tackles who'll be participating in spring practice thanks to offseason surgeries for Sheldon Richardson and Marvin Foster (the former the Tigers' expected best DT). The bad news is that with so much inexperience and limited numbers, the Tigers will come out of spring still unsure about what they'll really have to work with come the fall--and in a league where line play is often even more critical than in other (less ground-oriented) leagues. The good news? Players like tackle Lucas Vincent and end Michael Sam will have a golden opportunity to prove themselves ready for a starring role, and maybe even some extra coaching attention to help make that opportunity pay off.

3. Can Kendial Lawrence be the answer at running back? As CBSSports.com Missouri RapidReporter Dave Matter has written, the Tigers are in decided need of some new playmakers at both wide receiver and tight end. But those won't do much good if the Tiger running game can't keep opposing defenses honest, and after 2011's brutal knee injury, it remains to be seen what -- if any -- contribution Henry Josey can make. That puts the onus on rising senior Lawrence, who saw plenty of carries last season but also saw his role reduced as Josey exploded onto the scene; for the season, Josey averaged more than three yards more per-carry than Lawrence. If Lawrence can show some improved explosiveness this spring, that'll be one less worry -- and a key one at that -- for a Tiger offense that will have its work cut out for it in 2012.

To check in on the rest of the SEC and other BCS conferences, check out the Spring Practice Schedule

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Posted on: March 5, 2012 2:27 pm
Edited on: March 5, 2012 2:33 pm
 

Pinkel: "No changes" to approach as SEC beckons

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

We learned recently that Missouri has plenty of changes in store for their move to the SEC--higher ticket prices, new uniforms and helmets, even fielding a national No. 1 recruit. But in terms of their practical philosophy, both on the field and on the recruiting trail, Gary Pinkel says the Tigers are going to look the same way they have since his arrival in 2001.

"What we're going to do is do what we do and recruit the same players we recruit," Pinkel said in an extensive Q&A published Sunday in the Columbia Daily-Tribune. "Our recruiting evaluation is no different than what we did in the Big 12. We have our offensive and defensive schemes, and we'll do what we do there. For us, there's really no changes there."

Pinkel did say that the team's recruiting "areas" and "infrastructure" have "changed a little bit," but he added that despite the Dorial Green-Beckham breakthrough, the Tigers are pursuing the same kinds of players they've always pursued.

"You know, Texas, Oklahoma and Nebraska and those people were pretty good teams. They've just got more of them (in the SEC)," he said. "It's still about blocking and tackling. And the good news is our program is still the same. We just do what we do."

Pinkel saved his most extensive remarks, however, for the switch on Missouri's helmet from the more traditional block M to the newer Missouri Tiger head--a move he said he's personally "gotten some emails" about in opposition to the switch. But Pinkel said it was a necessary move from a branding standpoint.

The truth is this — and it's all marketing Nike has done — but we have facts for the University of Missouri and not just football, but our brand is Mizzou and that Tiger head. When people see that Tiger head they know there's only one like that in the world. And it's ours. And there's only one Mizzou in the world. 

That being said, on ESPN you can have Oklahoma's helmet up there and our M helmet and when you flash by it, a lot of people won't know who that is. Most people if they glanced at it probably thinks it's Michigan. Even though Michigan doesn't have an M on their helmets, that's what they'd think.
The Wolverines are flattered, Gary. Of course, shifting to an emphasis on the Tiger just as you enter a league with two other sets of Tigers already might create some of the same issues. But who are we to argue with Nike's army of professional marketers?

(Seriously, we aren't going to on this one. That new helmet is an improvement and we don't doubt Pinkel at all that casual fans might mistake the Mizzou M for a Michigan one. Not every tradition has to be maintained, especially when it "only" dates to 1971. Carry on, Gary.)

For more Mizzou football, follow Dave Matter's CBSSports.com Missouri RapidReports. 

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Posted on: February 16, 2012 4:52 pm
 

Will Muschamp has a sweet jacket



Posted by Tom Fornelli


All 14 of the SEC's head coaches stopped by the conference's offices in Birmingham on Thursday, and Chuck Dunlap was kind enough to share a photo commemorating the event on his Twitter account. As I think you can see in the photo above, the true star of this photo is Will Muschamp's leather jacket.

You can't help but notice it. It makes Muschamp look like the cool kid hanging out behind the local convenience store, smoking a Pall Mall unfiltered while carrying another 19 in a pack rolled up in the sleeve of his white t-shirt. Just waiting to hop on his bike and tear off toward the sunset, possibly never to return.

He's the guy all the coaches want to be, and all the ladies want to be with.

Well, except for Nick Saban, but we all know he's not prone to our human emotions. No, Saban is a machine sent back in time from the future. A machine that's sole reason for being is to take the game of college football and beat the hell out of it. He has no time for joy, only soul-sucking, life-smothering defensive domination.

Muschamp can wear the leather jacket, Saban wants only to murder the cow from whence it came. 

You can see the original photo, and other fun stuff, at the Eye On College Football Facebook page.

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Posted on: January 24, 2012 4:26 pm
 

SEC East coordinator hires: thumbs up or down?

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

With all 28 positions now filled, here's one team-by-team assessment of where the SEC stands at the two most important assistant coaching positions. Yesterday, the West. Today, the East:

FLORIDA

2011: Charlie Weis as the offensive coordinator, Dan Quinn defensive.

Departures: Weis famously left for the Kansas head coaching position.

2012: Weis has been replaced by Boise State coordinator Brent Pease.

Thumbs up/down? TBD. Weis had his moments (offensively speaking, anyway) at Notre Dame, but they nearly all came via the arms of Brady Quinn or Jimmy Clausen and the Irish's cadre of top-notch receivers--making him a terrible fit for both Will Muschamp's visions of an Alabama-like ground game and the Gators' pass-poor personnel. On paper, replicating the Broncos' balanced mix-and-match approach should be a much snugger fit. But Pease arrives with just one season of play-calling experience under his belt, and at that a season in which Boise ran the ball much more poorly than they had in recent years (34th in average yards per-carry, down from 10th in both 2009 and 2010). And thanks in large part to iffy quarterback play, Texas's 2011 attempt to import the Boise offense (via Pease predecessor Bryan Harsin) hardly set the world on fire--an ill omen for a team whose current QBs, sophomores Jeff Driskel and Jacoby Brissett, looked out of their depth as freshmen. Pease has promise, but the jury is very much out.

GEORGIA

2011: Mike Bobo offensive, Todd Grantham defensive.

Departures: Status quo.

Thumbs up/down? Up, obviously. Bobo managed the offense as well as could be expected given the injury-struck units at running back and receiver, and Grantham came into his own as one of the SEC's hottest coordinating commodities after piloting his young Dawgs to a top-five finish in total D. Richt has no reason to consider change at either slot.

KENTUCKY

2011: Randy Sanders offensive, Rick Minter and Steve Brown defensive.

Departures: Brown was fired after the 'Cats finished 10th in the SEC and 58th nationally.

2012: Minter has been promoted to full defensive coordinator.

Thumbs up/down? Down. Despite Brown's dismissal, Minter's role as play-caller and lead defensive game-planner means that Joker Phillips is keeping things almost entirely status quo--the entire 2011 offensive coaching staff will return, for instance, even after the hapless 'Cats finished a miserable 118th nationally in total offense and 117th in scoring. Phillips' loyalty to Sanders and the rest of his staff is admirable (and the upset of Tennessee was undoubtedly sweet), but if those kinds of numbers aren't enough to cause a shakeup, what would be?

MISSOURI

2011: David Yost offensive, David Steckel defensive.

Departures: None.

Thumbs up/down? Up. These are the Daves Gary Pinkel knows, and after several productive seasons in Columbia (if not spectacular where 2011 was concerned), there's no reason to make a change before testing their mettle in the SEC.

SOUTH CAROLINA

2011: Steve Spurrier is his own OC; Ellis Johnson ran the defense.

Departures: Johnson took the head coaching position at Southern Miss. 

2012: Spurrier promoted defensive backs coach (and "defensive coordinator" in title only) Lorenzo Ward to replace Johnson.

Thumbs up/down? Tentatively up. Ward spent three years leaning Johnson's schemes and already assisted with a similar 4-2-5 approach during his time at Virginia Tech; his promotion means the already successful Gamecock defense (fourth in FBS total D in 2011) won't change much -- if any -- from a schematic standpoint. The only question is if Ward can reproduce Johnson's adept in-game adjustments (see the Gamecocks' second-half shutdown of Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl) and excellent situational play-calling. If he can even come close, the Gamecock D shouldn't miss too many beats.

TENNESSEE

2011: Jim Chaney offensive, Justin Wilcox defensive.

Departures: Wilcox took the same position at Washington.

2012: Wilcox has been replaced by Alabama linebackers coach Sal Sunseri.

Thumbs up/down? TBD. The Sunseri hire alone would get a thumbs-up, since it's doubtful the Vols could have done much better than the man who just helped put together one of college football's all-time great defenses--not to mention was widely believed to be being groomed to replace Kirby Smart when the current Tide DC finally takes a head job. While it's hardly guaranteed Sunseri can replicate the Tide defense in Knoxville any more than Pease can replicate the Boise offense in Gainesville, there's no arguing with attempting that replication after what the Crimson Tide D has accomplished of late. 

The question is if Derek Dooley should have also looked for a replacement for Chaney. Following Lane Kiffin's departure, Chaney's two years in sole charge of the Vol offense have produced a slide from 60th (in 2009) to 75th to an awful 104th in total offense. Chaney has without question been dealt a rough hand, having been forced to deal with widespread inexperience as well as catastrophic injuries, and a little bit of continuity on a staff already wracked by upheaval is a major positive. So we don't blame Dooley for standing pat in the OC's chair ... though if Chaney can't engineer a dramatic turnaround in 2012, we suspect there's plenty of Vol supporters who will.

VANDERBILT

2011: John Donovan offensive, Bob Shoop defensive.

Departures: None.

Thumbs up/down? Well up. The Commodore offense only ranked 81st in yards per-play, that was still a far sight better than the 111th they managed in 2010. Meanwhile, Shoop quietly pulled off one of the nation's most impressive coordinating jobs by pulling the 'Dores up from 76th to 14th in the same statistic. Clearly, there's no call for James Franklin to change things up at this stage.

For all of Eye on CFB's SEC coverage, click here.

Thanks to TeamSpeedKills' helpful "Coaching Carousel Scorecard." 
 

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Posted on: December 26, 2011 8:23 pm
Edited on: December 26, 2011 9:02 pm
 

QUICK HITS: Missouri 41, North Carolina 24

Posted by Chip Patterson

MISSOURI WON. The Tigers scored on their first five offensive drives, and never gave North Carolina a chance to come back on the the way to a 41-24 win in the AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl. Missouri quarterback James Franklin delivered another impressive dual threat performance - picking up 132 yards and a touchdownthrough the air while adding 142 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.

HOW MISSOURI WON: North Carolina's offense never had a chance to get in a rhythm, with the Tigers' defense applying pressure to quarterback Bryn Renner and shutting down the Tar Heels' rushing attack. North Carolina picked up just 36 team rushing yards against Missouri, well below their regular season average of 147.4 yards per game. But that defense also benefited from the efficiency of Franklin and the offense. The Tigers scored on every offensive possession in the first half, and did not punt until the 7:16 mark in the third quarter. While the defense was delivering stops, the offense continued to grind away at the Tar Heels and create scoring opportunities by converting on key third downs. The extended drives kept the Tigers in the driving seat, all the way until the end. The victory gave the Tigers their sixth-straight 8-win season, and some great momentum on their way into the SEC East.

WHEN MISSOURI WON: Midway through the second quarter, North Carolina's defense needed to deliver a stop to keep the Tigers from scoring after a Gio Bernard fumble. Staring down a short field, Franklin converted on 2 third downs in the 40 yard drive on the way to increasing the Missouri lead to 24-7. On the Tar Heels' next play from scrimmage, a Dwight Jones bobbled catch turned into an astonishing interception for Tigers' defensive back Zaviar Gooden. At that point, it was clear things weren't going North Carolina's way.

WHAT MISSOURI WON: A fine highlight to show to their future conference partners in the SEC. James Franklin's performance against a talented North Carolina defense showed how comfortable he has gotten leading this Tigers' offense. Now with four-straight wins since Henry Josey's freak knee injury, Franklin has displayed the composure Missouri will need facing the SEC defenses in 2012.

WHAT NORTH CAROLINA LOST: North Carolina's roster has several NFL Draft hopefuls, but none of the prospects got much to put on tape from Monday night's loss. There was some speculation heading into the game that the talented draft class would look to make a statement in their final game as a Tar Heel. For whatever combination of reasons, the Tar Heels missed out on the opportunity to pick up their second-straight bowl victory because they didn't show up.

THAT WAS CRAZY: The aforementioned Dwight Jones bobble interception.  It was just one of those moments when the ball seemed to bobble forever, and the ease with which it fell to Gooden made you believe this was not North Carolina's day.

FINAL GRADE: B-minus. Franklin was still producing impressive plays on his feet well into the fourth quarter, and North Carolina's brief offensive explosion in the third quarter kept it interesting. But the Tar Heels' unenthusiastic showing in general took some of the luster of this matchup. Missouri was decidedly dominant throughout the game, and there was very little in doubt after the second drive of the game. .

Preview the next games on the bowl slate at the Bowl Schedule Pregame

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Posted on: December 19, 2011 6:52 pm
 

Independence Bowl Key Matchup



Posted by Chip Patterson


A look at the key matchup that could decide the Independence Bowl

James Franklin, QB, Missouri vs. North Carolina's defensive front

Ever since Missouri lost running back Henry Josey to a season-ending knee injury, most of the offensive success has been based around what sophomore quarterback James Franklin can create. De'Vion Moore has seen an increased workload at running back and Kendial Lawrence has added three strong performances since the Big 12's leading rusher saw his season ended by the "one in a million" injury.

The good news for Missouri is that Franklin has stepped up in Josey's absence, leading the Tigers to three straight wins to close the regular season. Because of Franklin's rushing ability, the Tigers' offense has not become one-dimensional after the loss of their leading rusher. However, North Carolina's defensive front presents one of Franklin's toughest challenges on the season.

The Tar Heels' front seven is anchored by Quinton Coples, Tydreke Powell, and linebacker Zach Brown. All three received All-ACC honors or mention, and all three are seniors who have earned the interest of NFL scouts. North Carolina ranks No. 2 in the ACC and 14th nationally in rushing defense, allowing just 106.2 yards per game. They were one of the only teams to hold both Miami's Lamar Miller and Virginia Tech's David Wilson under 100 yards rushing this season, and have only allowed nine rushing touchdowns on the year.

But despite the impressive statistics, the defense has suffered lapses at times this season and struggled to get off the field when they needed a big stop. There will likely several occasions in the Independence Bowl in Shreveport where Missouri needs to convert a third down and it will be Franklin against the Tar Heels. Containing the Tigers' star quarterback is the only way North Carolina can hope to give Gio Bernard, Bryn Renner and the Tar Heels' offense a chance to find a rhythm against Missouri's stout D.

Check out all the latest updates on Missouri and North Carolina right up until kickoff at the Independence Bowl Pregame

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Posted on: December 19, 2011 4:47 pm
Edited on: December 19, 2011 4:50 pm
 

Keys to the Game: Independence Bowl

Posted by Chip Patterson

MISSOURI WILL WIN IF: They can limit turnovers on offense and prevent the big play on defense. Sophomore quarterback James Franklin's performance in the regular season finale against Kansas showed both the best and worst of Missouri's offense sans Henry Josey (knee). The worst came early in the game, with Franklin tossing three interceptions in the first 18 minutes of play and the Tigers' offense only producing one scoring drive - which resulted in a field goal. The best came in the second half, with Franklin wearing down the Kansas defense and taking advantage of their weaknesses by creating big plays on the way to a 24-10 win.

North Carolina is much stronger than Kansas, and three first half interceptions may not be something the Tigers can expect to bounce back from in the Independence Bowl. As long as Franklin is smart with the ball and avoids turnovers, he can keep taking his shots through the air and on the ground until he eventually hits the big play. Defensively the Tigers are much better than their numbers suggest, especially when you consider the competition. Still, even the best defense can be broken down by someone like North Carolina wide receivers Dwight Jones, Erik Highsmith, or Jheranie Boyd. Running back Gio Bernard will likely see a heavy load on the ground as well, and the Tigers must keep the shifty freshman from breaking outside and hitting the sidelines.

NORTH CAROLINA WILL WIN IF: The front seven can contain and pressure Missouri quarterback James Franklin. Ever since Henry Josey's season-ending knee injury, much of Missouri's offense has been based around Franklin creating plays. Luckily for the Tigers the sophomore signal caller not only can extend the play with his legs, but take off and make defenders miss in the open field. In the first game without Josey - the Big 12's leading rusher at the time of his injury - Franklin rushed for a career high 152 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries while still adding 172 yards and two touchdowns through the air. North Carolina's front seven is filled with NFL-caliber talent. However, there have been several games this season where it seems the defensive line and linebackers have not lived up to that NFL-caliber hype. With the nationally televised bowl game, it would be in the best interest of these pro prospects to delver their best performance of the season in this game. If Quinton Coples, Tydreke Powell, Zach Brown, and the rest of the front seven are able to contain and frustrate James Franklin, they will benefit their own draft stock and give the Tar Heels a much better chance to win their second-straight bowl game. A win-win scenario for the NFL-hopefuls.

X-FACTOR: Who Wants It More? Missouri certainly enters the game with a momentum advantage, winning four of their final five games while North Carolina lost four of their last six. Missouri picked up the invite after being over by the bowls with a Big 12 tie-in, not a surprise considering the Tigers' upcoming departure for the SEC. It will be the last game for interim head coach Everett Withers, who has already confirmed he's not staying with the Tar Heels "in any capacity" under new head coach Larry Fedora. So with Missouri in between conferences and North Carolina in between coaches, the team that can find the motivation for the moment will have an advantage on Dec. 26 in Shreveport.

That kind of advantage will likely be necessary in a bowl game that has been decided by seven points or less five of the last six years, with Georgia's 44-20 win against Texas A&M in 2009 being the only exception. Regardless of the expectations heading into the game, that matchup has always been close in recent years. Maybe it is the mystic atmosphere of Shreveport, or Independence Stadium - where the game has been played every year since the bowl's creation in 1976 - but advantages in X's and O's seem to matter much less in this game. For either team to get win No. 8 in 2011, they will need an extra dose of "Want" on Dec. 26.

Check out all the latest updates on Missouri and North Carolina right up until kickoff at the Independence Bowl Pregame

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com