Tigers brace for Wolf Pack

Monday, September 8, 2008 | 8:59 p.m. CDT; updated 11:20 p.m. CDT, Monday, September 8, 2008
Tigers safety William Moore, tackles Illini quarterback Juice Williams. After injuring his right foot in the game, Moore missed the SEMO game then re-injured the foot against Nevada. He is expected to play Saturday against the Cornhuskers.

COLUMBIA - Don't expect much argument from Missouri football coach Gary Pinkel if one of his players gets a flag for repeating what Washington quarterback Jake Locker did on Saturday in the Huskies' 28-27 loss to Brigham Young.

After scoring a touchdown to seemingly even the game, Locker tossed the ball in the air to celebrate and earned a 15-yard penalty on the extra point, which was blocked, sealing Washington's fate.

Next Game

Nevada (1-1) at No. 6 Missouri (2-0)

WHEN: 11:30 a.m.

WHERE: Memorial Stadium

TV: Pay per view through Fox Sports Net

RADIO: KFRU/1400 AM, KBXR/102.3 FM

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If a Tigers player tries the same thing, the only one Pinkel will be yelling at is the offending player.

"You can't do that, nobody's allowed to do it," Pinkel, who was once an assistant at Washington, said Monday. "That would get called in a second in the Big 12, and it should. I felt bad because of people I know there, but that was a no-brainer. If you did that, across the country, the ball would be flying all over the place."

If Pinkel has his way, of course, the ball will be flying all over the place when the No. 6 Tigers host the Nevada Wolf Pack on Saturday, but only as part of a diagrammed play.

Doing that has been relatively easy for the Missouri offense so far, but Nevada might present a difficult challenge for the Tigers. The Wolf Pack were able to contain Texas Tech's high-octane passing attack last week, which gives Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel a preview of what he can expect from Nevada.

"What they did with Tech was they tried to jam their receivers off the line," Daniel said. "That really threw off the timing with (quarterback) Graham (Harrell) and all his receivers. We have to really get that figured out this week."

Harrell never did get it figured out, forcing the Red Raiders to turn to a decent, but often ignored, running game. Missouri's offense uses a running game much more than Texas Tech, but Daniel isn't interested in comparing the two offenses, or comparing himself to Harrell.

"I'm not too worried about what other quarterbacks do around the country or the conference," he said. "I'm worried about what I do and what our team does. Does it make me worried a little that Graham had some problems? Of course it does, they are a very good defense. But if we work hard, I think we can get it figured out."

Pinkel also isn't concerned with what Texas Tech's offense did, though he did watch that part of Nevada's game with great interest. The teams' spread offenses are not replicas of each other, but do have a few things in common.

"We do some things alike, but we do a lot of things different," Pinkel said. "But anytime we get to see somebody that does things that we do against their defense, that's a plus for us. That helps us try to plan a little better."

The plan on the other side of the ball is for the Tigers to find a way to stop Nevada's fifth-ranked rushing offense. The Wolf Pack will play without last year's Western Athletic Conference rushing champion, Luke Lippincott, who was lost for the season with a torn ACL tear.

But even without Lippincott, Pinkel stressed that Nevada's running game poses a challenge.

"He's a great player, and it's very unfortunate," Pinkel said of Lippincott. "An ACL tear is sad news. That being said, they have a couple other good running backs. Their quarterback can run, and he runs it really well. They might make an adjustment on their end. We'll see."

DEFENDING THE PASS DEFENSE: Pinkel said that he isn't concerned that the Tigers rank last in the Big 12 and 115th nationally in pass defense after two weeks. He said it's far too early for those stats to matter.

"(This early), I don't really look at the stats except for kicking stats, rush defense stats and turnovers," he said. "They're never as good or bad right now as you think they are. You've got to let it sort out over four or five games."

Despite that, Pinkel did offer two explanations for the low ranking against the pass.

"(If) we get a huge lead, they're going to throw the ball all the time," he said. "That's the first thing that's going to happen. If you're really good against the run, what are people going to do? They're going to throw. Those two things are factors in the amount of passing that we're getting against our defense."

PISTOLS AT DAWN: Missouri fans are familiar with seeing the pistol offense from the Tigers in short-yardage situations. Nevada runs it as its base offense, something few teams do.

"There are two or three teams that run it in the country," Pinkel said. "We just use it a little bit. What you do is your scout team does their entire offense. It won't affect what we do on offense."

INJURIES: Pinkel said William Moore will be practicing with a red pullover on Tuesday, which signifies he is not at 100 percent physically. Moore sprained his right foot in the TIgers' 52-42 victory over Illinois and was in street clothes for the 52-3 victory over Southeast Missouri on Saturday. Pinkel said he will evaluate Moore later in the week. He also listed Tremane Vaughns as questionable with a turned ankle.



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