RENO, Nev. – Despite another slow start for the Missouri football team, coach Gary Pinkel had reason to be pleased Friday night.
Missouri managed to get past its struggles to earn a 31-21 victory at Nevada to finish its nonconference slate unbeaten.
Next week is a bye week for the Tigers, and Pinkel said it will be a natural break between nonconference games and the Big 12 Conference season.
"We put our nonconference games in like a small league by itself," he said. "I think that's helped our football team to focus on all four of these games."
Linebacker Andrew Gachkar said players won't dwell on nonconference success for long.
"I don't think anyone thought we were going to be 4-0 besides us," he said. "It's definitely a big thing, we took care of the first part of the season, but that season's over. Now we've got to go to conference play and take care of Nebraska, so that's definitely going to be a tough game."
One of the goals for the bye week, players said, is as simple as building energy and getting healthy.
"We usually get a couple running days in. But we really like to get our bodies taken care of," Gachkar said. "We like to get well rested for our big game, but then we have lots of studying going on. Definitely we're going to hit the film room up a ton, just totally get into Nebraska and see what they're doing.
"We don't have that many injuries right now either, which is definitely a good thing, too."
Pinkel said it gives the team a chance to make adjustments in areas where problems occurred in earlier games.
"I see a lot of little things that shouldn't happen," he said. "That's coaching and that's teaching. That's my fault. We'll work on getting those things better. We can become a lot, lot better team than we are. We do a lot of things right. My job is to fix things."
Linebacker Will Ebner said the days off will help in preparation.
"Obviously our coaches stress watching film, which they'll give us our film early, so we can get on top of Nebraska," he said. "It's going to be a huge game for us. It's at our place. It'll be a wild crowd. We're ready for that game."