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Smith’s reach exceeds grasp in loss to Colorado

Gary Pinkel said his players shouldn’t untuck the ball.
Tuesday, November 11, 2003 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 12:25 p.m. CDT, Sunday, July 20, 2008

Brad Smith isn’t accustomed to taking the blame for Missouri losses.

Coach Gary Pinkel almost always asks for the blame, even if the situation was out of his control.

When Smith fumbled twice and threw a pair of interceptions against Colorado on Saturday, there was little praise for Smith, despite his 380 total yards.

With his team driving in the second quarter, Smith took off from the Colorado 7, juked to his left and reached for the end zone. Instead of scoring, Smith fumbled. The Buffaloes recovered in the end zone, and the Tigers went on to lose.

Smith took most of the responsibility for the loss, but Pinkel again claimed part of it.

“I’ll take a little blame for that,” Pinkel said. “I was brought up in this business not to allow a player to reach out.”

Pinkel said he learned from Don James at Washington that a coach shouldn’t allow his players to untuck the ball and reach for anything, whether it is a first down, a touchdown or an extra yard.

In his first three years as coach, Pinkel has allowed his players to reach out, but not anymore. Pinkel nixed that practice after watching Smith’s attempt cost MU a touchdown.

Smith said it is hard for him not to do everything possible to score.

“You know you want to get it in, but I have to get it in my mind to try to get my whole body in there and it will work out better,” Smith said.

NEW FACES: Quincy Wade made his first start against the Buffaloes, replacing outside safety Dedrick Harrington.

Neither is on the depth chart as the starter and it could be a game-time decision for who starts against the Aggies.

Wade said it was good to get a start, but he doesn’t worry much about who is on the field first.

“I just want to help the team out as much as I can,” Wade said. “If that means starting or me sitting on the bench, it doesn’t matter what it is.”

The strong side of the Missouri offensive line also is unsettled. Joe Gianino and Cliff Young will compete this week to start at guard Saturday. At tackle, Scott Paffrath and Steven Sanchez will vie for the starting spot.

SESAY OUT: Tight end Victor Sesay will miss the rest of the season after he ruptured the patellar tendon in his right knee against Colorado.

Sesay had 15 catches for 154 yards and three touchdowns. Sesay’s biggest play of the season was his touchdown catch on a fake field goal in the fourth quarter against Nebraska.

Pinkel said Sesay had surgery Monday morning. Sesay had the same surgery on his left knee during his freshman year at Ventura (Calif.) College.

“It was a very productive surgery and so that’s going to be a total repair,” Pinkel said. “He will be back in four to six months.”

TIGERS ON TELEVISION: Fox Sports Net will televise Missouri’s game against Texas A&M. The game is MU’s sixth television appearance of the season.

Missouri won’t wait long to make its seventh. TBS announced Monday that it will televise the Tigers’ Nov. 22 game against Kansas State. That game begins at 6 p.m. Missouri’s most recent appearance on TBS was its 41-24 win against the Cornhuskers on Oct. 11.

HOME IS WHERE THE WINS ARE: The Tigers are happy to return to Memorial Stadium after their third consecutive Big 12 Conference road loss on Saturday.

Pinkel said it isn’t a surprise that his team has been better at home.

“We just want Mizzou to be a tough place to play football,” Pinkel said. “Because of the fan base, the stadium and the enthusiasm of our fans, we have the potential to have this as one of the toughest places to play in the country.”

Missouri is 4-0 at home this season, winning by an average of 21.5 points.


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