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Pinkel, MU look to halt second-half struggles

Monday, September 10, 2007 | 9:06 p.m. CDT; updated 8:48 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008
MU coach Gary Pinkel says he is responsible for getting the Tigers' second-half struggles fixed quickly.

COLUMBIA — Missouri coach Gary Pinkel was as repetitive Monday as the team’s offensive and defensive lapses during the second half this season.

The Tigers dominated Illinois and Ole Miss during the first half but let both teams hang around after halftime.

Second-half woes

Missouri’s offense and defense have struggled in the second half this season.

Offense

Only three of MU’s 78 points have been scored in the fourth quarter. The offense averages 141.5 yards in the first three quarters, but only 64 yards in the fourth quarter.

Defense

MU has given up 329 yards and 13 points in the first half, but 640 yards and 46 points in the second half.


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Pinkel was candid about the problem during the Big 12 Conference coaches’ call Monday. He didn’t hesitate to place the blame on himself.

“First of all, I’m responsible for that,” he said.

He used the word “responsible” three more times.

“I’m responsible to get that fixed,” he said, “and I would suggest that I would do that pretty fast.”

Illinois and Ole Miss quickly regained hope against the Tigers in the second half. Missouri led the Illini 23-6 and were ahead of the Rebels 28-7 in those games at halftime. But the defense started giving up big plays while the offense couldn’t make any. Although the Tigers won both games (40-34 and 38-25), victories that once seemed certain were put into question.

The problem dates back to last year’s Sun Bowl, when the Tigers gave up 15 points in the last six minutes to Oregon State, losing 39-38.

“That’s three games in a row,” Pinkel said, “and that’s what I call a pattern.”

Pinkel made sure to place the problem in context with previous seasons, however.

“A few years ago, I would have been begging to have that problem,” he said at Monday afternoon’s press conference.

Mangino’s tirade: Kansas coach Mark Mangino has become a notorious television star.

Fans usually don’t get to hear a coach getting hot like a volcano, spewing out curse words. They either have to read lips or imagine what creative expletives the networks had to bleep out during Texas Tech coach Bobby Knight’s press conferences. But Mangino’s four-letter repertoire is available uncensored on YouTube, the popular video Web site.

He berated punt returner Raimond Pendleton on the sideline during the Jayhawks’ Sept. 1 opener against Central Michigan. Pendleton received an 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after diving into the end zone to finish off his 77-yard punt return for a touchdown.

Mangino grabbed Pendleton’s jersey when he came off the field and blasted Pendleton’s “hot dogging.” He finished the 25-second outburst by saying, “You did it all on your own, didn’t you? You did it all on your own.” Those are the only complete sentences that can be published.

“We never want to do anything’s that’s not appropriate,” Mangino said, “but in a highly competitive atmosphere, it happens.”

The clip has been watched more than 171,000 times on YouTube, but Mangino isn’t part of the tally.

“I haven’t looked at it,” he said. “I’m not interested in it.”

Mangino said he doesn’t know how anyone was able to get audio on the sideline.

Reliving a nightmare: Pinkel doesn’t want to revisit Troy, Ala., where the then-No. 19 Tigers lost to the Trojans 24-14 three years ago. But he had no choice Monday.

With Oklahoma State playing there Saturday, Pinkel was asked about the game during the coaches’ teleconference.

“That’s exactly right,” he said. “Not a lot of good memories.”

Pinkel gave credit to Troy for playing well.

“I’m glad you brought that up again,” he said with a laugh to the reporter, who responded with an apology.


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