Tigers Reflect on Arkansas State Win, Look to Vanderbilt
COLUMBIA - Coming off a strong 41-19 win against Arkansas State, the Missouri Tigers football team talked to the media Monday, holding a 4-0 record for the first time since 2010. With all the hype surrounding the team, Coach Gary Pinkel and the Tigers answered some questions and spoke on this week's SEC opener against Vanderbilt.
Following his 94th win last Saturday--making him the second most winning coach in Mizzou history--Pinkel spoke about the upcoming SEC schedule. "They are all big tests. It is the next big test. The next one is bigger and bigger. I think we will see overall from our non-conference schedule to our conference schedule, there is no question. The competition is tougher and more competitive and that is good." Pinkel also addressed the team's depth at running back and splitting the carries between the group. "They are all starters. We knew about Henry Josey, and what he will do and he is back. He is looking better each game. (Marcus) Murphy has done some great things. Russell Hansbrough is the guy I talked about during camp last spring, and you see this sophomore is a very talented guy." Pinkel also said, "It is a competition, but they are good friends. They all want the ball all of the time. It is a good situation that we have."
Sophomore offensive lineman standout Even Boehm took to the podium Monday to talk about the differences in mindset between non-conference and conference play. Boehm said, "Honestly, the coaches have done a great job of saying that we are going to continue to play and practice like we have all year. We didn't take it easy or practice easier because it was a non-conference game. We went out there and practiced just like as if we were in Alabama, Florida or Tennessee."
Senior cornerback E.J. Gaines opened up to the media about trying to prove something at the upcoming Vanderbilt game. "I think it proves that we can win within the conference, and also be successful on the road. Winning on the road is something that great football teams have to do, and everybody obviously has to play away games. Starting off with a road conference game is going to be pretty exciting."
Saturday's Mizzou-Vanderbilt match-up marks the sixth game between the two programs. The Tigers lost last year's contest by a close score of 19-15. Missouri looks to start 5-0 for the fifth time in Pinkel's 13-year tenure and also win its conference opener for the sixth time under Pinkel. A win would break a series tie and improve the Tigers to 3-2-1 against the Commodores.