COLUMBIA — The Missouri football players and coaches have talked recently about the emotional weeks they have experienced since early October. Losing their first three Big 12 Conference games made reaching some of the team's season goals less likely.
In his Monday press conference, Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said his team has a better chance to succeed when he can use a motivational tactic that inspires them.
"I think you go back through all your experiences coaching," he said. "I've been coaching 19 years. I've been around a lot of good people. I think you draw from everything."
After Missouri beat Kansas State 38-12 this past weekend, Pinkel said he recognized the positive impact of using a different source for motivation.
Former defensive tackle Lorenzo Williams spoke to the team two days before the game, and Pinkel said his team responded as he had hoped.
"'Zo did a great job," he said. "That was kind of a private deal for us. I don't do that a lot. But I thought he did a great job. I thought our players enjoyed that."
Pinkel said Williams is like many other former Tigers "obviously going on with their lives, that love Mizzou and helped us build this program in this particular decade."
Former players like Williams transfer their interest and passion for the program to current players, Pinkel said.
"The neat thing about it, they have got a lot of pride in who they are," he said. "A lot of pride in who they are and what they've done. I think 'Zo in his own way talked about that to our kids a little bit."
The Tigers are now eligible to compete in a bowl game, but wins in the next two weeks might make Missouri (6-4) a more attractive team to bowl selection committees.
"We have not played two back-to-back good football games this year, and I'm responsible for that," Pinkel said.
Linebacker Sean Weatherspoon said Pinkel had not yet mentioned to players the team's inconsistency so specifically. But Pinkel said he would remind his older players of that problem this week.
"Our captains have done a good job," he said. "There was a lot of good leadership last week."
Pinkel said his past coaching experiences have helped him deal with disappointments.
"I've been here (in this position)," he said. "We went through this in 2005. We were sitting there struggling, but you keep persevering and keep working through."
With more young players contributing prominently than in past years, Pinkel said addressing the struggles is complicated.
"That's just the way it is," he said. "We knew that going in. You think anybody cares if we've got young players? I don't. But there's challenges that go with that. You try to work through it and you try to grow from it."
PERRY OUT: Senior wide receiver Jared Perry broke the tibia bone in his right leg Saturday against Kansas State. He will miss the rest of the regular season, but Pinkel said he could play in a bowl game depending on the date of the game and on Perry's recovery.