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With Some Fans Itching For Change, Pinkel’s Coaching DNA Might Hurt Him At Mizzou

Gary PinkelMissouri’s Gary Pinkel has never been a warm, fuzzy kind of guy.  At least not when it comes to his dealings with the media.  And certainly not in regards to position-battles.

This spring, Maty Mauk and Corbin Berkstresser are working to steal the quarterback job away from incumbent starter James Franklin.  Asked about the the signal-callers’ performances in Mizzou’s first scrimmage, Pinkel refused to go into detail.  “All three of them did a lot of good things, and it’s very competitive and it’s also very, very positive, so I’m excited about it.”

Yeah, but who looked best?

 

“I don’t discuss evaluation in the spring in what we do.  We’ll just see where it goes and keep competing…

I just think that’s our business right now; it’s nobody else’s business.  And I don’t think I have to be concerned about what anybody else things, either.  I’ve handled it like that ever since I’ve ever done this…

That’s why we don’t release depth (charts) or anything at (this) particular time.  I don’t know how it’s going to end up, and that’s ok… I’m in no rush to make a decision, and generally it takes care of itself.”

 

There’s nothing wrong with what Pinkel said.  And there’s nothing wrong with his decision not to discuss who’s leading in man versus man competitions for starting roles.

But when your fanbase is starting to tire of you — it usually happens around Year 10; Pinkel is entering his 13th season — it’s probably best not to appear too snippy, too defensive, or too standoffish.

Nick Saban isn’t going to be opening a charm school anytime soon, but when you’ve won four BCS championships in a decade, you can afford to be a little prickly now and again.  Pinkel put Missouri football on the map but time, a move to the SEC, and an injury-plagued disappointment of a season last year are conspiring against the coach now.

Pinkel, like Saban, studied at the foot of former Kent State and Washington coach Don James.  A 1981 UPI story on James might shed some light onto his disciples’ similar styles:  “One reason it’s taken some time for James to become known nationally has to do with personality.  Unlike some of the larger-than-life characters who run the football factories at other campuses, James tends to be low-profile and understated.”

Pinkel certainly tries to be low-profile.  Again, no harm, no foul.  But with a section of the Tiger fanbase already talking about a potential coaching change, it might be time for the coach to do himself a favor and lighten up just a bit.  Saying it’s “nobody else’s business” sounds one way when you’ve just won 10 games… another when you’ve just won five.  Pinkel won five last season.

Tutored by a man who played his own cards close to the vest, Pinkel feels his team’s business is his business and no one else’s.  It’s fine to feel that way.  But when the wolves are starting to howl and the ol’ seat is starting to warm, it’s probably best not to tell everyone you feel that way.

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Mizzou’s Pinkel Arrested… At Least It’s Not An SEC Scandal Yet

Missouri football coach Gary Pinkel was arrested around 10pm CT last night on suspicion of driving while intoxicated.  The 59-year-old was released on a $500 bond after being charged with a DWI/DUI first offense.

Pinkel’s attorney has confirmed that his client was arrested, but MU officials have made no comments as of yet.

Pinkel — who is a product of Don James’ coaching tree, like Nick Saban — has turned Missouri’s football fortunes around since arriving in Columbia.  With the Tigers going through an SEC transition next season, it’s unlikely that this arrest will lead to a dismissal, as was the case with former Georgia AD Damon Evans in 2010.

And heck, maybe coaches drinking and driving is a Show-Me-State thing.

In 1987, then Missouri coach Woody Widenhofer was arrested for DUI after a Tiger football game.  In 2007, former St. Louis Cardinals skipper Tony LaRussa was arrested after falling asleep at the wheel of his car — while stopped at a red light — during spring training in Jupiter, Florida.

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SEC Headlines – 9/1/11 Part One

1.  The writers for SI.com have made their college football picks for 2011.

2.  Alabama fans will return to a “different” Tuscaloosa on Saturday.

3.  Can Bama’s two-quarterback system work?

4.  If not for ex-coach Don James, Nick Saban might be selling cars.

5.  SportsByBrooks.com might have found photographic evidence that T-town Menswear was giving Bama players suits.  (Might, we said.)

6.  Freshmen will play a huge role for Auburn this fall.

7.  Barrett Trotter’s “even-keeled poise” could be one reason he’s starting at quarterback.

8.  Willy Robinson is ready to see his new defenders at Arkansas hit the field.

9.  Bobby Petrino’s coaching principles haven’t changed… but he has.

10.  LSU receiver Rueben Randle has to help out quarterback Jarrett Lee on Saturday.

11.  The Tigers are scrambling to fill a hole at left guard as their date with Oregon approaches.

12.  BYU will be trying to guess what’s on the mind of new Ole Miss offensive coordinator David Lee.

13.  Speedy backup tailback Jeff Scott gives the Rebels a different dimension.

14.  Dan Mullen’s got no qualms about bringing Texas A&M into the SEC.

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