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Week of Oct. 21, 2012

Mizzou's next opponent gets good game from QB
As MU, Pinkel quickly have found out, life in SEC is as tough as advertised

Week of Oct. 14, 2012

After brutal start in SEC, Missouri gets break to heal
MU still pondering expansion timeline
At Nick Saban's behest, Alabama defender sends apology to Gary Pinkel for 'body slam' on Mizzou RB
At 3-4, Missouri football team looks to improve after break
Bama's run game finds its footing against Mizzou
Nature takes its course as Tide trounce Tigers
Nick Saban says Missouri Tigers can compete in SEC
No. 1 Alabama handily beats Missouri 42-10

Week of Oct. 9, 2012

Saban takes on old friend
No. 1 Alabama, dissatisfied with its consistency, ready to start a 'new season
'They're like dancing bears,' Missouri defensive coordinator says of Tide's offensive linemen
Alabama's Barrett Jones says Missouri's D-line 'creates confusion'
Missouri football has mixed glory days with gory daze
Reeling Mizzou looking for answers to save season
Frustration mounts for MU’s Richardson
SEC hopes turn sour for Mizzou after Big 12 move

Week of Oct. 1, 2012

Mizzou still winless in SEC after 19-15 loss to Vanderbilt
Mizzou-Vanderbilt football preview
Vanderbilt tries to keep up in SEC
Tigers tighten up signature spread
Green-Beckham among three Tigers arrested on suspicion of marijuana possession

Sept. Headlines

UCF offense, fan base fail to show up against Missouri
Mizzou holds off Central Florida 21-16
James Franklin still Pinkel's choice
Week 5 – Missouri at UCF
Shaw, Franklin running through injuries
Notebook Clippings

Sept. 24, 2012

Source: ESPN.com and MRSEC.com

We saw the obvious fatigue in the 41-20 loss to Georgia, and Missouri's lack of shape came to light in South Carolina's blowout win Saturday. The Tigers looked like they just didn't have the energy or strength to battle with the Gamecocks up front. Missouri managed just 109 rushing yards (averaging 3.4 yards per run) while giving up 144. Quarterback James Franklin was sacked three times and managed just 92 passing yards, as the Gamecocks made his day miserable with constant pressure. You just didn't see much fight against South Carolina. The Tigers were exhausted well before the game ended, and that's not a good thing. This team talked about size not being an issue, but it's clear that Mizzou's lines are wearing down. The Tigers haven't won the battle up front in their two SEC games (both losses). (espn.com)

Shaw was flawless at the helm for South Carolina in a perfectly-designed gameplan. Shaw didn't make a single mind-blowing throw, but his patience to wait for the easy, open throw was outstanding. He completed 20-of-21 passes -- those 20 coming in a row -- for 249 yards and two touchdowns.

When the open man wasn't there, Shaw pulled the ball down and ran for 41 yards on 12 carries. It could have been much worse, but Shaw's 80-yard touchdown run in the first quarter was called back by clipping.

Key stat: The Gamecocks' defensive front manhandled Missouri's offensive line. South Carolina limited Missouri to 109 rushing yards on 34 carries -- the Tigers did not eclipse 100 yards until the game's final minute. The Gamecocks also sacked Missouri quarterback James Franklin three times.

Missouri finally found the end zone with just 17 seconds left in the game -- a one-yard pass from backup quarterback Corbin Berkstresser to wide receiver Marcus Lucas. (espn.com)

Missouri is learning the hard way that the SEC really is a different league than the Big XII. Granted, they’ve played two of the best defenses in the conference so far in Georgia and Carolina, but the disrespect mantra Tiger players and coaches have been repeating all offseason must be giving way to a sense of reality. Gary Pinkel will need to recruit bigger linemen. They’ll need a top-notch SEC running back. His systems won’t need to change, but his personnel will. There’s a reason the SEC has produced more NFL draft picks than any other conference over the last 25 years. (mrsec.com)

Sept. 16, 2012

Source: Kansascity.com

Like most football players, Missouri senior safety Kenronte Walker is competitive. So yes, he was looking forward to the Tigers’ game Saturday against Arizona State, and yes, he took it personally when he was beat for a touchdown the week before in the loss to Georgia.

So when Walker found himself in man coverage near the goal line in the fourth quarter, he made sure he told himself something positive.

“I was just thinking, this guy is not going to catch this ball on me,” Walker said.

The ball, of course, came fluttering toward Walker and he knocked it away on fourth down. It was the first of two game-saving plays Walker made that clinched Missouri’s 24-20 win before a sellout crowd of 71,004 at Memorial Stadium.

When Missouri’s offense, playing without starting quarterback James Franklin, couldn’t ice the game, Walker did.

Three plays after the Tigers were forced to punt, Walker watched as Arizona State quarterback Taylor Kelly rolled out, then followed his eyes until he released a deep ball that Walker intercepted in the end zone and returned to the MU 49.

Walker’s big plays not only prevented Missouri from blowing a 17-point fourth-quarter lead, it also kept the Tigers from dropping to 1-2 before a trip to No. 8 South Carolina next Saturday.

So despite a rash of injuries and a flood of speculation about Franklin’s health, Missouri coach Gary Pinkel could laugh and smile about the legion of freshmen and sophomores he’s been forced to lean on this season.

“It’s a lot of fun,” he deadpanned to a chorus of laughter.

One of those freshmen was Corbin Berkstresser, a Lee’s Summit High graduate who started in place of Franklin. Though he battled with accuracy at times, Berkstresser acquitted himself fairly well in his first career start, completing 21 of 41 passes for 198 yards. He also ran 18 times for 25 yards and a touchdown as the Tigers got out to a 24-7 fourth-quarter lead.

Pinkel said Franklin was a game-time decision because of an inflamed bursa sac in his shoulder. Franklin underwent surgery for a torn labrum in the spring, and Pinkel said there was no structural damage. But it was decided that Franklin, who missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday, couldn’t go after he threw warmup passes on the field before the game.

“It was just too painful for him, and he didn’t want to play,” said Pinkel, who added that Franklin refused a pain-killing injection. “(I) was hoping James could play, but he didn’t feel like he could do it.”

Pinkel said he didn’t doubt Franklin’s toughness. He scored 36 touchdowns last season while playing through an assortment of aches and pains. (kansascity.com)

Sept. 9, 2012


In its first league game as a member of the SEC before a sellout crowd of 71,004, MU led No. 7 Georgia for most of the first three quarters, only to be outscored 24-0 in a deluge of fourth-quarter misplays on the way to a 41-20 defeat.

Leading just 24-20 early in the fourth quarter, Georgia went ahead by seven after MU's fake punt attempt on fourth and 11 at its own 35 went only 3 yards. Then the Bulldogs hushed the crowd for good when linebacker Jarvis Jones intercepted MU quarterback James Franklin and returned it 21 yards to the Mizzou 1 to set up a 1-yard TD run by Todd Gurley with 7 minutes, 33 seconds left.

That made it 34-20, with Jones promptly setting up another TD by sacking and stripping Franklin to give Georgia the ball at the MU 5.

By the end, Georgia fans were chanting "Old man football" in reference to MU defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson's remarks last week about its style of play.

"You can't make the kind of mistakes we made in a game like that and survive," MU coach Gary Pinkel said. "You're not going to win games like that against people like that if you make some of the mistakes we had."

As for the fake punt, Pinkel said, "A coach never calls something that he thinks will not work, OK? When they work they're good calls, and when they don't work they're bad calls. And I'll take responsibility."

The end eclipsed a game that had been tightly contested despite MU's offensive line being further scrambled by losing senior left tackle Elvis Fisher in the first half to a knee injury that Pinkel said he was concerned was major.

MU outgained Georgia 371-355 and seemed to have Georgia on its heels with Franklin's 69-yard touchdown pass to L'Damian Washington early in the third quarter that gave MU a 17-9 lead and a 13-play, 63-yard drive for a field goal that made it 20-17.

Georgia played tough defense, Franklin said, but he didn't notice a dramatic difference from the Big 12. (stltoday.com)

Sept. 3, 2012

Source: MRSEC.com

Running back Marcus Murphy returned a pair of punts for touchdowns and accumulated 206 all-purpose yards in Missouri’s 62-10 win against Southeastern Louisiana. Murphy's touchdown returns were 70 and 72 yards and he became the first Tiger to have two returns for scores in the same game. Murphy’s two punt return touchdowns also ties an NCAA and SEC record. Murphy registered 180 punt return yards (five attempts) and 32 rushing yards on five carries in the game.

Key Stat: 4-0. That was the turnover count at Faurot Field and if SELA had any hope of hanging with the Tigers, they couldn’t afford to give the ball away. They did. Mizzou pounced. In fact, this was never a game as the Tigers raced out to a 28-0 first quarter lead.

Quick Takes:

* Marcus Murphy returned two punts for touchdowns for the Tigers — one for 70 yards and the other for 72. His twin scores tied SEC and NCAA records and earned him the SEC’s special teams Player of the Week award. You can bet Georgia’s coaches will take note of Murphy’s ability. The Dawgs struggled at times last year and two long punt returns by LSU’s Tyrann Mathieu sealed UGA’s fate in last year’s SEC title game.

* Quarterback James Franklin looked fine in his first post-shoulder surgery action, lasting late into the third quarter, completing 13-of-21 passes, and rushing six times for 39 yards.

* Dorial Green-Beckham — the nation’s top signee in February — caught three passes for 32 yards. (mrsec.com)

Aug. 26, 2012

Source: Columbiatribune.com

MISSOURI HOSTS SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA: If receiver Dorial Green-Beckham's freshman season is anything like his finish to preseason camp, Missouri's offense could find another gear in its first season in the Southeastern Conference. The 6-foot-6, 220-pound receiver led Missouri in catches (12) and receiving yards (159) in the team's three scrimmages and on Thursday ripped off the kind of low-risk, high-reward play the passing game has been missing the last couple of years. Last year, Missouri produced 116 runs of 10 yards or more, which ranked fifth among FBS teams, according to cfbstats.com. Missouri trailed only Oregon and option-oriented offenses Georgia Tech, Air Force and Army. Tailback Henry Josey was the catalyst, averaging 8.1 yards per carry, but with Josey sitting out to recover from November's knee injury, the Tigers could lean on a deeper, more talented receiver corps this fall.

O-LINE PROBLEMS: For all the buzz about Green-Beckham's arrival and the passing game's headway, there's still concern up front. Coach Gary Pinkel is expected to update the status of right guard Jack Meiners' knee injury tomorrow, and if Meiners is out extensively — like, say the Sept. 8 SEC opener against No. 6 Georgia — the line will include three first-year starters in the middle. They are freshman guard Evan Boehm, sophomore center Mitch Morse and junior guard Max Copeland, who is a former walk-on. Starting tackles Elvis Fisher (knee) and Justin Britt (foot) are coming off surgeries. Not one of those five started a game at his current position last season. (columbiatribune.com)


Aug. 24, 2012

Source: Powermissouri.com

It took about seven seconds for the hype to hit overdrive. In that span of time, Dorial Green-Beckham caught a short pass from Maty Mauk at the 45-yard line, shook a linebacker off his waist and raced the remaining 55 yards to the end zone. It was the first scoring play of Missouri's final camp scrimmage and, make no mistake, it was the story.

"He can run. He's got great speed," Gary Pinkel said. "That speed is such a great weapon for any player and he has that. He's, right now, a lot different than he was ten practices ago. You all know that. Even you guys can figure that out."

Indeed, Green-Beckham has gone from super-hyped prospect to a player who looks like he can be a major factor in week one for Mizzou. Missouri has already lost three players off of its pre-camp two-deep on the offensive line. Early in Thursday's scrimmage, starting right guard Jack Meiners went down and had to be helped off the field.

Pinkel said after practice that Meiners had sprained his knee.

Aug. 19, 2012

Moving to the Southeastern Conference and being placed in the East Division will alter the plan and the travel budget considerably.

The athletic department expects to see a minimum $750,000 increase for travel the first year in the league, boosting what was already a $4 to $4.5 million annual expense. Trips to places like Iowa State, Kansas and Kansas State will be replaced by journeys to Florida, South Carolina and Georgia, among others, forcing an increase in air travel for many sports.

As one of the major expenses in doing business in college athletics, Mizzou took a hard look at the landscape long before the paperwork for the move was signed. The average roundtrip flight to the nine cities in the Big 12 last year was 850 miles. That will increase to 1,020 miles in the SEC. And with only one roundtrip shorter than 500 air miles, more flights will be a necessity.

Mizzou will maintain its practice of having the football, men's and women's basketball and volleyball teams travel via charter planes. Decisions on how other teams travel will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis with commercial air flight the standard option when drives are too long.

In Missouri's final year of membership, the Big 12 had five cities that were close enough to travel by bus within the seven-hour guideline. When Nebraska was in the conference, there were six. In the SEC, only Arkansas, Kentucky and Vanderbilt fit that scenario. Mississippi is a bit longer.

Hickman doesn't anticipate increases in travel costs other than transportation. He said additional nights in hotels aren't expected but teams can expect to return to Columbia later than usual.

Mizzou will be aided somewhat by Delta's expansion of flights out of the Columbia airport. The airline has flights daily to and from Atlanta and Memphis and will add another Atlanta route on Sept. 5. That's just in time for the SEC opener against Georgia.

Atlanta is a key city in the conference because of its proximity to Georgia and Auburn, which is about a 100-mile drive from the Atlanta airport. Memphis, meanwhile, provides a flight for trips to Ole Miss, which is 68 miles from the airport. The longest roundtrip in the SEC will be 1,694 miles to Gainesville, and five other cities will require a trip longer than 1,000 miles. That includes Texas A&M, which also is joining the SEC but was given a slot in the West Division. (stltoday.com)


Aug. 12, 2012

Tiger quarterback James Franklin and the rest of Missouri's quarterbacks were the only ones spared from the defense's crunching hits during yesterday's two-hour scrimmage on Faurot Field, the first full-contact scrimmage of fall camp.

The starting defense didn't allow a touchdown and had a rousing goal-line stand. The offense scored just one TD — and that came against the reserve defensive units.

The D racked up a few noteworthy superlatives — at least 15 tackles for loss, seven pass breakups, three forced fumbles, a tipped interception and a half-dozen sacks.

"I guess everybody is trying to step it up an extra notch because there's a lot of talk about the SEC," said defensive end Kony Ealy, who had two pass breakups and a sack.

Ealy also had one of the unit's highlights — a touchdown-saving, backfield tackle of running back Marcus Murphy on third-and-goal during the goal-line stand. The offense got three cracks from inside the 5-yard line: an incompletion, a short Murphy run up the middle that was stopped by linebacker Will Ebner and the outside handoff for a loss that Ealy gobbled up.

Immediately after the play, the 6-foot-5, 260-pound sophomore celebrated with a leg kick that nearly reached his head.

"Adrenaline was pumping," Ealy said.

Everyone got in on the hard-hitting pops, even the backups. From safety Daniel Easterly's bone-cruncher to cornerback Ernest Payton's ball-jarring hit.

"There were some great hits out there," Coach Gary Pinkel said, "and that's good."

None, though, was louder than Gaines' shot on Green-Beckham, the highly touted receiver from Springfield.

After the snap, Green-Beckham immediately turned toward quarterback Corbin Berkstresser for a screen pass. Before the ball had left Berkstresser's hands, Gaines was heading toward Green-Beckham. He crushed the 6-6, 220-pound freshman as the ball reached his hands.

"It was just a normal, basic Cover 2 play," Gaines said. "I was in the right place at the right time. Dorial was on the bubble route, and I came up and I welcomed him to Mizzou."

It was the sort of hit that would not be out of place in the SEC, a league snobby about its defenses.

"That's all our coaches preach, is physical, and being physical is a big thing in the SEC," he said.

Safety Kenronte Walker had the scrimmage's only interception after a Berkstresser pass bounced Ebner's back while he was covering Green-Beckham down the seam. And then there was defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson's steady presence in the backfield. He had three tackles for losses. Ebner had two. (columbiatribune.com)

Aug. 7, 2012

In some of his first public comments since suffering a severe knee injury against Texas last year — he tore his MCL, ACL and ruptured his patellar tendon —Henry Josey estimated he's "70-80" percent healthy and said he has "a good chance" to play this season. Missouri Coach Gary Pinkel and trainer Rex Sharp aren't so sure about that.

The junior spent much of Missouri's second full practice yesterday watching teammates, his helmet swinging by his side, his eyes in a blank stare. Just a few months ago, he was Missouri's star.

His unexpected breakout season — Kendial Lawrence was the projected starter but broke his leg in September — was in full swing before the Week 9 meeting with Texas. He had rushed for 100 yards in four straight games, ranked fifth in the nation in yards and scored nine touchdowns.

Then he suffered what Sharp called "the worse knee injury in athletics I've ever seen."

Missouri isn't expecting Josey to return this season — "it'll be difficult," Pinkel said Thursday — so the Tigers are prepared for Lawrence and Marcus Murphy to carry the load. Josey had his latest surgery in May to repair the ACL. Doctors were forced to wait six months for his surgically repaired patellar tendon and MCL to heal before fixing the ACL. Full recovery from ACL surgery takes four to six months, Sharp said. Josey is currently at the three-month mark.

With Josey having a redshirt year to burn, it makes sense for Missouri to use it this season. Again, that's not what he wants to hear.

Josey rehabbed seven days a week this summer with hopes of playing in 2012, MU's first season in the SEC. He's now moved into the strength part of rehabilitation. (columbiatribune.com)


Aug. 2, 2012

Missouri coach Gary Pinkel says there's no doubt quarterback James Franklin will be ready for the opener. Both Pinkel and Franklin said after the opening day of fall camp that he could play right now.

Pinkel said Thursday night that Franklin is showing no signs of problems coming off shoulder surgery in March. Franklin said he was careful with his throws and hadn't been hit yet but gradually will air it out. In his first year as starter, Franklin completed 63 percent of his passes with 21 touchdowns and 11 interceptions, plus rushed for 981 yards and 15 touchdowns. The junior is the Tigers' only quarterback with college experience heading into the school's first season in the Southeastern Conference.

Redshirt freshman Corbin Berkstresser is the backup quarterback and played with the first string throughout spring practice after Franklin was hurt.

Freshman Dorial Green-Beckham, a wide receiver from Springfield, Mo., who was the nation's top recruit, is not listed on the depth chart. Pinkel said the 6-foot-6, 220-pound Green-Beckham will have to earn a spot just like any other newcomer.

"We'll let him come around like everybody else does," Pinkel said. "Like any freshman on our team, you start at the bottom of the list. And I think he respected that. I told Jeremy Maclin the same thing."

Missouri is limiting media access to first-year players for the first time under Pinkel, entering his 12th season, because of Green-Beckham, who'll be available for the first time on Sunday.

Wide receiver T.J. Moe, the top returning pass-catcher, was limited with a hamstring injury suffered several weeks ago. Moe said he'd be at full speed soon. (espn.com)

July 9, 2012

Initially tweeted and later confirmed by Dave Matter of the Columbia Tribune, reserve QB Ashton Glaser has decided to depart from the program. Barring a catastrophic string of injuries to Mizzou’s string of QBs — Franklin is already recovering from a shoulder injury he sustained during spring practice and is tentatively scheduled to return by the beginning of the season — Glaser likely wasn’t going to see the field this season. Fellow backup Corbin Berkstresser took practically all the snaps for Mizzou this spring with Franklin out, but he was arrested in May for leaving the scene of an accident. He was reinstated to the team in early June.

Glaser told the Tribune that he plans to transfer to 1-AA program Missouri State, so he will not have to sit out a year to satisfy NCAA transfer rules. A redshirt junior, Glaser will have two years of eligibility remaining. Replacing Glaser on the depth chart will be incoming freshman Maty Mauk, a three-star recruit according to Rivals.com. (cft.com)