MU Football Gears Up For 2006 Season

1 decade 3 weeks 3 days ago September 04, 2006 Sep 4, 2006 Monday, September 04 2006 Monday, September 04, 2006 2:23:16 PM CDT in Sports

Instead, head coach Gary Pinkel sang "Happy Birthday" to two media members at Monday's Media Day. Despite the celebration, Pinkel fielded questions about his 2006 squad. The big question throughout spring and summer practices has been about the quarterback position. Sophomore Chase Daniel is expected to be the starter, but fans wonder how he will measure up to former Tiger quarterback and current New York Jet, Brad Smith.

There is optimism and plenty of support for Daniel as he played well during the spring coupled with an impressive outing in the annual Black and Gold scrimmage.

After coming off an Independence Bowl victory against South Carolina, expectations for the 2006 team have risen. The Tigers will be heavy favorites against Murray State, but in order to reach and exceed expectations, the team is taking it one game at a time.

"It's a big game because it's the next game," Daniel explained. "Whether it's Murray State, whether it's Ohio, whether it's New Mexico, whether it's Nebraska, Iowa state, Texas, no matter what game it is, you can't look past them. They're going to bring their A game and we have to bring our A game."

Daniel leads an offense that is loaded with talent at the wide receiver and tight end positions. Sophomore Chase Coffman and junior Martin Rucker form arguably the best tight end tandem in the country. MU will need them as it faces another challenging Big 12 schedule. Regardless of the opponent's caliber, Pinkel is focused on how his own team is performing.

"I'm more concerned about my players playing their best game. That's what I'm most interested in," Pinkel said. "I don't care who they're playing against."

Saturday night's game kicks off at 6 p.m. at Faurot Field. The Tigers are 14-6 in its last 20 season openers and are 5-0 all-time against Division 1-AA opponents.

Reported by: Tommy Carroll

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