COLUMBIA — With four wins in his first four games, Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert has made his coach happy.
But it's not so much Gabbert's 66.4 percent completion rate, or his 1,161 passing yards, or even his 11 touchdown passes that pleases Missouri coach Gary Pinkel.
No, Pinkel is excited about something intangible.
Speaking at his weekly press conference Sunday, Pinkel said he is particularly impressed with Gabbert’s ability to control his emotions on the field.
“Whether you get sacked, knocked out, or throw the greatest touchdown pass you’ve ever thrown, you come right back into this area right here,” said Pinkel, as he moved his hands close together to indicate the small range of emotion. “I’ve been coaching quarterbacks for a long time, and he’s doing a good job of staying in that area.”
Gabbert's poise is apparent in his lack of turnovers. In four games he has yet to throw an interception. He is not particularly worried about maintaining the streak.
“I’m not focusing on that at all,” Gabbert said. “Our goal is, as a team, take care of the football. We just execute our plays, that’s really all we’re kind of keying on right now.”
Pinkel said he’s more concerned with Gabbert’s overall performance, recognizing Gabbert's first interception will eventually come.
“A quarterback needs to handle the team, the clock, the huddle,” Pinkel said . “Going through the reads the right way, protecting the football, not throwing to the other people, not taking sacks, knowing field position where you’re at, what you try to do, not to do. Good quarterbacking. And it’s going to happen, you know it is. I think overall, what he’s done has been good, but it is inevitable."
Pinkel usually addresses the media on Monday's but the it was moved because the team is playing Nebraska at 8 p.m. Thursday at Memorial Stadium. Despite the fact the team must tinker with its weekly schedule, Pinkel said the exposure is worth it.
The Missouri-Nebraska game will be the only college football game on TV that night.
“A Thursday night game, that’s like Monday Night Football,” Pinkel said. “That’s a no-brainer. That’s easy.”
TIGERS RANKED: Missouri moved back into the AP Top 25 on Sunday, ranked 24th behind South Florida and before South Carolina.
The Tigers were ranked for a week in September.