Pinkel: Missouri football not waiting until halftime to make adjustments

Tuesday, November 10, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CST
Missouri's Gary Pinkel argues a call during the first quarter of Saturday's game against Baylor.

COLUMBIA — The second half has been a concern for Missouri football in Big 12 play.

Saturday's game against Baylor was the most recent example, as the Tigers blew an 11-point halftime lead and lost 40-32. Five games into conference play, Missouri has yet to score a second-half touchdown.

At his Monday press conference, coach Gary Pinkel dismissed the idea of making halftime adjustments exclusively, stressing that his staff will make changes whenever they notice a problem.

"If you're waiting until halftime to make adjustments, you're probably not a very good coach," he said. "We're on headsets all the time. We're talking to each other between every series, and so I've always said that's very, very, very overrated. I'll stick with that."

He said it's unreasonable to think that a team's character or ability will change during a game.

"That doesn't fit, OK?" he said. "You always analyze yourself. But you don't just all of a sudden have good offense and all of a sudden it's a bad offense. It's still about executing."

Missouri's lack of execution was costly against Baylor, Pinkel said.

The Tigers' first five drives after halftime resulted in punts. Missouri advanced into Baylor territory late in the third quarter, but two penalties set the Tigers back 15 yards. Quarterback Blaine Gabbert was then sacked for a nine-yard loss, which put Missouri out of field goal range.

"You can't have critical errors that hurt yourself," he said. "And we did a lot of that offensively in the second half."

Pinkel also noticed a contrast between the defense's performances against Colorado and against Baylor.

"Looked like two different defenses," he said. "A lot of missed tackles, I think we had over 17 missed tackles in that (Baylor) game. There's no excuses. It wasn't very good."

Pinkel won't even exclude himself from criticism over the team's struggles in Big 12 play, saying, "I deserve to be criticized."

Still, Pinkel doesn't plan on making any large-scale changes to the team's strategy.

"I also have always believed you have to believe in the system you do," he said. "You don't just start redesigning things. What you're doing, you're asking your kids to do different things at different times, and I just don't do that."

This Saturday, Missouri will play Kansas State in Manhattan, Kan. The Wildcats have only one winning season in the past five years, but they are in first place in the Big 12 North division.

Pinkel said he believes the success of Wildcats coach Bill Snyder, who returned to Kansas State this year after a three-year absence, is reflective of a consistent approach to coaching.

"These are the things I admire about him," Pinkel said. "Discipline, attention to detail. (Being) committed to what he does. He doesn't care, he's not a big trend guy. He's going to do what he does, what he believes in."

Pinkel said he will be more deliberate in simulating game situations this week in practice, in hopes of improving the team's play late in games.

"What you do is counsel players," he said. "You stop practice. You say, 'This is the second half. This is the fourth quarter.' I've done this a long time, but obviously we're not doing a good enough job. You continue to work hard and persevere to get it done."

INJURY UPDATE: Safety Hardy Ricks will miss the rest of his senior season with a knee injury. Pinkel said Ricks will probably have surgery to repair his ACL in the next couple of weeks. Junior Jasper Simmons is listed as the starting safety, ahead of senior Del Howard.


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