Missouri Tigers head coach Gary Pinkel and several of his players addressed the media on Monday October 7th 2013. Here are some quotes of note from the event.
Head Coach Gary Pinkel
Opening statement… "Good afternoon everybody. I appreciate you being here. Another great stadium we are going to play in this weekend. Mark (Richt) has done a great job with the program at Georgia. They are obviously one of the great teams in the nation with a bunch of great players, and great athletes that play well. We understand that they are probably one of the best teams we will play all year. We are excited about the opportunity to play them. Our football team is certainly working very hard for this weekend. We are in ourMonday preparation stages as we speak. We are excited about playing at Georgia, and we will need every single day to prepare."
On the team's preparation for Georgia this weekend… "It is obvious that we are playing a great team on Saturday. We played them last year and they were a great team a year ago, as well. It is an excellent opportunity, and we are preparing as much as possible.
On defensive lineman Michael Sam's development throughout the years… "I think right now he is not only playing steady, but he is playing at a very high level. That is the difference now. I think he has had three sacks in back-to-back games, which is very difficult to do. It doesn't matter who you are playing against. It is kind of interesting how kids mature and then all of a sudden change, and go to a different level. He is playing at that different level right now. He is a very good athlete, who runs well and is very athletic. I think he is doing so well because of his energy level. He is playing at a different level than he has ever accomplished before. I could not be more pleased with his progress. It helps the whole team and makes the defense play harder."
On Sam's individual effort this past week at Vanderbilt… "I think on his last sack Saturday, he ran the quarterback down and drove him to the ground. It is just great to see him out there. He is a great athlete. His playing experience over the years and high-level energy has helped him. He has played consistently throughout, and that is a really good thing."
On the depth and competition within the defensive line… "I think what happens is that it gives you the opportunity to stay fresh. That is the most important thing. When those guys get tired, they want a break at times, but certainly they would also like to get back in there. We try to get our top guys back in there on third downs, but it is also dependent on the field position and other factors. We are playing quite a few players, as you know, and they been really doing a good job."
On quarterback James Franklin's confidence and performance this season… "James is playing pretty well. This will be another test for him. James' performance does not surprise me right now. His leadership is great, and he is kind of what I thought he would be. There are people around him that can make plays. If you look back on the quarterbacks we have had, we also had great players able to make plays around them. The offensive line gives you the chance for it to happen, and gives him a chance to distribute the football. He is doing an excellent job. We are very happy and pleased with him in his playing and leadership."
On coach Andy Hill's influence on Franklin this season… "I think Andy has done a great job, and he took over for a quarterback coach that was one of the best in the country last year (Coach David Yost). He is just doing an exceptional job. I am very pleased with him. The whole group is working very well together. I told Andy that the other day. James has been very well coached for a long time."
On the team's chemistry and determination so far… "I said that in the spring. There is chemistry and determination on this team. A combination of both of those, and high leadership skills effects the whole team. This team wants to win. We are willing to pay the price to do that, and I felt that these guys had it in them. They have taken that goal really personal, especially the seniors. Most of the seniors have been here for five years and they went to bowls every year except last year, and they want to get back. I really want them to do well too. I am around them all the time. I see the determination, leadership and excitement that they have every day."
Tiger Player Quotes
On first touchdown during the Vanderbilt game… "I dropped back, saw the safety playing over and I saw him (the wide receiver) get past him. I went back and watched the film of the play and it wasn't very open, but when I was throwing it I thought it was wide open. He made a play, stretched out and made the touchdown. I think scoring fast really helped us out. Scoring on the first possession and scoring fast was something that we wanted to do, and it really helped with the momentum going throughout the game."
On opportunity against Georgia… "We always see opportunities in the games we play and we want to go in confident, but not overconfident. This week we are playing Georgia and going to go out there, and do our best to win."
On everyone getting involved in the successes of the team… "It is really fun. Everyone on the sidelines is going crazy because they are all excited about the plays that are being made. It really helps lift us up."
On the play of the defensive line… "Our coaches always tell us that they help us, and we help them. Lately, they have been helping us a lot. It is a good thing anytime that they can get back there, and get those sacks."
On if there's any difference in preparation when playing against an NFL-caliber quarterback in Georgia's Aaron Murray… "No, I don't think so. I have played against my fair share of current and future NFL quarterbacks, and we don't prepare any different. We prepare for the football team, not necessarily one single player."
On Mizzou being back in the rankings… "I think it is a good feeling for our team. It is definitely going to get us closer to our ultimate goal. Other than that, we don't worry about rankings. We just go out there, and worry about getting a win."
On playing at Georgia, and the excitement inside the stadium… "It is going to be an exciting and competitive game. We know that. There is nothing better than playing against great competition, and that is what you are going to see on Saturday in Georgia."