It became clear at SEC Media days that Gary Pinkel and his Missouri Tigers were already growing tired of “how will you ever survive in the big, bad SEC” type questions. As we noted at the time, there was no doubt about Pinkel’s theme for his 2012 Mizzou team: They don’t respect you.
Well, folks around the MU program are growing more and more eager to prove themselves. And that’s not necessarily good news for a Georgia team that will be the first new SEC East rival to walk into Faurot Field.
Some examples straight from the mouths of Missouri players and coaches:
“I’m tired of hearing about it. I think everybody is. You see our shirts around here. They have ‘RESPECT’ on the back. It’s something for us to latch onto and give us motivation.” – receiver TJ Moe
“We’re getting mistreated with all the publicity. People think we’re going to get dog-walked, like we’re just going to go out and lie down there for somebody. And we’re not.” – defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson
“The Big 12 is an elite conference, team after team. Is the SEC a good league? No question. But, come on. All these people are bashing the Big 12 all of a sudden. It’s different. (The Big 12) might not be a convertible, but it’s still a damn good car.” — defensive coordinator Dave Steckel
“It’s not like, ‘Oh, man, we’ve got to be more physical. We’ve got to be tougher. We’re still going to do the same things the Missouri football program has harped on since Coach Pinkel got here.” — linebacker Will Ebner
It’s disappointing that Missouri is banged up — especially on the offensive line — coming out of fall camp and that Georgia is dealing with suspensions and its own depth issues. It would be a lot more fun to watch that opener if both teams were coming in at full strength. That would give us all an idea of just how much catching up Missouri really has to do… if any.
For a great read on how MU’s offensive and defensive schemes might be tweaked in the SEC, check this out.