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A SEC-ond look at Mizzou media day

2012-09-11T12:29:00Z 2012-09-12T08:46:10Z A SEC-ond look at Mizzou media dayby VAHE GREGORIAN stltoday.com
September 11, 2012 12:29 pm  • 

COLUMBIA, Mo. • Selected leftover morsels from Mizzou's Monday media day as the Tigers (1-1) prepare to take on Arizona State (2-0) Saturday at Faurot Field:

• Yes, Georgia bashed MU 41-20 in the Southeastern Conference opener. But that makes for perhaps a deceptive statement about the Mizzou defensive effort.

The last 14 of those points came after two turnovers that gave the Bulldogs the ball inside the MU 5. Crucial points, but not reflective of a defensive cave-in. Mizzou forced eight UGA punts and allowed 3.2 yards a carry.

The unit also recovered a fumble, had an interception and two sacks, each by defensive end Brad Madison, and the Bulldogs had a total of 62 yards to show for their first eight drives before finishing with 355.

So the D hardly was hapless, though it's got ample room to grow.

“I thought we played OK,” defensive coordinator Dave Steckel said. “We have a lot of improving we have to do because we didn't win the football game. And we have to win the football game.”

And about those two turnovers inside the 5 that became touchdowns?

Mizzou had to stop Georgia no matter what, Steckel said, and it didn't.

“You can twist and turn this story any way you want to,” he said, “but defense lost the game because we gave up more than 19 points.”

• Mizzou coach Gary Pinkel said MU had attempted to pass several times against Georgia to ballyhooed recruit Dorial Green-Beckham, who had one catch for 5 yards and has four overall for 37 yards in two games.

But DGB generally was well-covered, Pinkel said, and receivers coach Andy Hill said MU wasn't able to “pull everything out” because of various game situations. Meanwhile, four other Tigers combined for 17 catches and 248 yards.

Hill noted DGB is being compared to stars such as Jeremy Maclin and Danario Alexander at the ends of their careers, not the beginnings, and said the nation's top recruit is progressing “a little bit ahead of what I thought, so we're very pleased.” Soon, he expects that to be evident in games.

• Fascinating tidbit by Dave Matter of the Columbia Daily Tribune: From 1997-2010, four players started games at center for MU; when redshirt freshman Brad McNulty starts Saturday against ASU, he'll be the fourth to start at the position in five games over two seasons for the injury-ravaged line.

• Sophomore Mitch Morse, who started the first two games at center but will start at right tackle on Saturday as part of the shuffle from the injury to Elvis Fisher, candidly attributed his snap issues early in the Georgia game to being over-hyped.

• Mizzou junior guard Max Copeland, on advice he was giving younger players about keeping their poise in the game on Saturday: “Sometimes advice we give to each other is stuff we're really wanting to say to ourselves.”

• Pinkel's sister, Kathy Grinch, and brother-in-law, Greg Grinch, were visiting from Ohio and attended media day. “So be nice to me today,” Pinkel said, smiling. “My sister's my hero, and I love her very much.”

• Despite being held to 3 net yards on three punt returns against Georgia, MU's Marcus Murphy is second in the nation in return average (22.88) on the strength of his 180-yard, two touchdown performance against Southeastern Louisiana.

• Mizzou's Sept. 22 game at South Carolina will be televised by CBS at 2:30 p.m. Central.

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