The Mizzou Tigers have one more practice scheduled for Tuesday morning in Orlando, Florida before they go into 48-hour game mode against the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Temperatures were in the mid 70’s again and the humidity made it feel like the team was practicing back in August.
“It was pretty good. We were warm. This was warmer than some of our August days – it was so mild in Columbia this year during August,” said head coach Gary Pinkel after Sunday’s practice. “But this was good – players are good. It’s not going to any hotter than this so we were fine. A little monkey off the back so we were fine with that.”
With the exception of senior wide receiver Jimmie Hunt, the rest of the team should be healed up and ready to go for the game on Thursday.
One Tiger who could be playing his final collegiate game is junior defensive end Shane Ray. Pinkel called Ray one of the top five players, he’s ever coached.
“I think maturing as a player and I think he is very, very driven. Being a great player is not a normal thing. Everyone says ‘I want to be great,’ but how hard are you going to work to be great? Do you have the ability to be great? Do you have the mindset? I think he decided that he wanted to be as great as I can be no matter what it is,” said Pinkel. “I don’t say this too often – I have been around – my top five competitors that I have ever coached, he’s one of them. Those guys are different-level competitive people. They compete on the field in a different zone than other people. That’s what he was like this year. I am really proud of him. There is nothing easy about becoming a great player.”
Practice was closed on Monday to the media as will the final practice on Tuesday. However, I’ll have videos and interviews from offensive coordinator Josh Henson, as well as defensive coordinator Dave Steckel. Both coaches will be at Buffalo Wild Wings (the title sponsor of the Citrus Bowl) Tuesday afternoon. Joining the coaches will be Maty Mauk and Ray.