It takes a year to get the Tigers down I-70

Friday, August 29, 2003 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 8:10 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Playing the football game might be easier than getting the teams there.

Missouri plays Illinois in the opener Saturday at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis. In terms of logistics, it is a tricky operation getting the Tigers ready to play.

“There’s a collective group of people working on it,” said Mark Alnutt, MU director of football operations.

Alnutt said he needed to reserve hotel rooms one year in advance and take care of buses about six months ago.

Rounding up all the gear the team will need and sending it two hours east on I-70 is another matter.

“Organizing everything takes a week,” said Don Barnes, director of equipment operations.

Barnes said the days of loading the equipment in Columbia and unloading it in St. Louis — Thursday and today respectively — are the toughest.

To make matters trickier, the game against Illinois is different because there is a higher limit than normal on the number of players the team can take. Normally, it can bring 70 players. This time that number has risen to 105.

The trip to St. Louis, although short, is different for the Tigers.

“Usually, it’s further away and we travel by plane,” Alnutt said.

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