Gary Pinkel on Missouri’s SEC Opener This Weekend: “Our fans have been talking about this one since last February”September 7, 2012 – 9:30 am by Chris Fedor
The Missouri Tigers have left the Big 12 conference and are taking their chances in the SEC. In their 2012 tune-up game last weekend, Missouri crushed Southeastern Louisiana 62-10. Missouri’s offense is known for being explosive and they showed that ability last week in a variety of ways, but the test this weekend will be much, much different. In their first ever game in the SEC, the Tigers will learn that there are no easy games when it comes to playing in the toughest conference in all of college football as they play host to number seven Georgia.
Gary Pinkel joined WHB in Kansas City with Kevin Kietzman to talk about on the way his team played last week, how important the game is this weekend against Georgia, how big this game will be for Missouri in the SEC West standings, whether he is concerned about his team being too fired up and whether these are the kinds of games that he coaches for.
On the performance last week of his team:
“Well it just happened really fast. I thought we lost a little focus too as a football team, but I think we had a chance to play a lot of players so we got a lot of experience for a lot of different people. We understand the personnel we’re going to play this week is going to crank up about 1000 notches.”
How important this game is against Georgia:
“First of all this game, our fans have been talking about this one since last February. Historically, like it or not, it’s a mammoth game regardless of who we are playing. This is the first SEC game and this is the first home SEC game. Then you bring Georgia in here as a top ten football team, without question has great personnel and Mark (Richt) has done a great job with the program, they are in our division so all that is added on to it also. Bottom line is that you go out and play well, then you win. That’s key. I don’t get caught up in all of that, it’s a big game, hopefully there are going to be a lot more big games also but certainly because of all of the things I just mentioned it’s exciting for everybody.”
How big this game would be in the race for the SEC West:
“Well it would. If you don’t then you have to find another way to do it. That’s how it works out. Obviously if you can get a win here there’s no question it would be huge. It would be great if we could win all of our games. It’s a huge game against a great football team. They have a lot of talent and I think our players without question are excited about it and then the SEC aspect of it also heightens everything too so it’s really big.”
If there is concern about the team being too excited for this game this weekend:
“There’s a little bit of concern there. I’m concerned about everything. What happens is if you get too anxious or fired up, it’s just as bad as not being ready to play. You get out control and you’re not in that optimum area you need to be to play your best. People think it’s always you’re not ready to play but it’s just the opposite. You can be so hyped, so focused that you don’t focus right. It all gets back to being able to focus your best. That’s a concern of mine, we talk about those things, we talk to seniors leadership wise about that and it’s something that’s going to be ongoing but you gotta kind of feel the team as it goes and adjust as you go. I think our kids have been around here, we have played in quite a few big games before and understand each player has to get where he’s in his optimum point to focus his very best.”
If these are the kinds of games you live for as a coach:
“Yeah there’s no question about that. You’re in the business to play in games like this and coach in games like this. It’s really exciting and it’s great to see the enthusiasm of Missouri fans. The Zoo is going to be wild and it’s going to be something because I know what our fans are like now. About 72,000 people at it and there’s no question, you love games like this but then again you know how I am, it’s a process. It’s today do the right things, tomorrow, there’s a way you play your best game. You don’t just hopefully go out and get your mind right and make it work. There’s a way you prepare each and every day down to the final 48 hours down to kickoff as a football team to play your best game. That’s the only shot you got to play your best game. In a game like this you can’t play your B game. You won’t have a chance. That’s really where our focus is.”