Mizzou Football’s 2014 season is (un)officially here.Head Coach Gary Pinkel faced an intrigued group of media at SEC Media Days in Hoover, Alabama Wednesday morning.
Many questions focused on how the Tigers could continue their success in the conference after a 12-2 season that saw them earn a berth to the SEC Championship Game. Specifically, there was a keen interest on how Mizzou continues to reload its roster despite moderately-rated recruiting classes.
“In the last seven years, even with our crummy season in 2012, we’re the eighth winningest BCS program in the country for those five years,” Pinkel said. “If you took our recruiting, I think our so called rating, I’d say we’re between 28 and 32 average, somewhere like that. Something’s wrong there.
“All I’m going to say about that, I think our recruiting process is different. I think we have a system that we believe in. That’s what we do at Mizzou. I think our Player Development Program is second to none. We call it ‘Mizzou Made.’ Not only that, but our APR ranking academically is one of the best in the nation…. I think we do a very good job of developing players. I’m very proud of all the people that make all those things happen.”
The topic of Maty Mauk’s leadership also came up, and Pinkel said he’s ready to take the reins at quarterback.
“I think he’s a very natural leader,” Pinkel said. “I knew that when he was in high school. He was one of those guys that he loves to play football, loves to compete. I think he’s a dual threat guy. He can run. He’s got very good speed. Put a lot of pressure on the defense utilizing both of those things.
“His leadership is very non threatening, too. First of all, he’s got a great work ethic. He’s a winner. Players know it. He’s a remarkable competitor. They know it. They respect the way he leads ’cause he leads in a very, very positive way. We’re very fortunate to have a young player like him. That’s why he did so well last year when we threw him in there as a freshman. There’s a reason guys are like that. We’re very fortunate to have him.
“Certainly if you ask him, he’s got a lot of things to prove, too. He’s the guy now. But I guarantee there’s no one more excited about getting going and playing than that guy.”
Mauk, defensive end Markus Golden, and center Evan Boehm joined Pinkel at the Media Days event. Stay tuned to KTGR, The Big Show, and ktgr.com for coverage of the Missouri Tigers!