The preparations are almost over and in just two days, the Mizzou Tigers will be back on the football field in Houston on New Year’s Eve to take on the Navy Midshipmen in the Texas Bowl. For the Tigers, this will be their fifth straight trip to a post season bowl game.
Before the Tigers finish up their last minute workouts and walkthroughs, Mizzou head coach Gary Pinkel took part in the final press conference before the game itself on Thursday afternoon. He was joined at the conference by Tiger players Jaron Baston, Sean Weatherspoon and Kurtis Gregory.
Coach Pinkel opened the conference by talking about what else, the city of Houston. He took the opportunity to thank everyone on the bowl committee and those involved with the game itself, for a tremendous experience. Pinkel was also glad for the Tigers to once again be playing in the Lone Star State.
Texas has been a major recruiting ground for the Tigers ever since Coach Pinkel set foot in Columbia. Many current and former players call Texas home.
Coach Pinkel made a point to state this and to also say that playing in Texas is a great marketing tool for attracting recruits to the program. He also said that many area high school coaches have also been in attendance at practices in Houston, which can also greatly aid in the recruiting process for future Tiger teams.
Pinkel also knows that the time to kick off is fast approaching. For this team, it seems like this can not come soon enough. The Tigers have not been on the field since the end of November in probably the most exciting and memorable Border Showdown game with Kansas.
Coach told the media that the players and coaches know it is time to be completely focused on the task at hand, namely to play their best football game against a very talented Navy team.
The Tigers know that they will have their work cut out for them when they take on the Midshipmen. Navy is a team that played with and nearly beat Ohio State and Pittsburgh. Coach Pinkel talked about the challenge of playing a team that runs the triple option. Navy is one of two teams in the nation that runs this particular kind of offense.
For the Tiger defense, that will mean playing what coach called assignment football. This will also mean the Tigers will have to be very disciplined in order to stop the attack of the Midshipmen.
In the end, Coach Pinkel once again stated that playing in a post season is one of the goals the team sets out to achieve very early in the season.
While maybe the Tigers did not have the kind of season they wanted at 8-4, all of that can be put to rest if Mizzou can come out and do what they have done very well in the post season over the last couple of years. Win.