Tigers won't leave Pig Brown behind

Tuesday, October 30, 2007 | 12:47 a.m. CDT; updated 8:08 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

COLUMBA — Missouri safety Pig Brown is recovering after undergoing successful surgery on his torn right Achilles tendon on Sunday morning.

Coach Gary Pinkel said he visited the senior captain in the hospital Monday morning. Brown was released later in the afternoon.

Although he’s out for the season, Brown will travel with the Tigers to Colorado and subsequent road games. The decision contradicts the rule Pinkel cited for tailback Tony Temple’s absence from Oklahoma: Injured players don’t travel with the team.

“This is called a new rule Coach Pinkel came up with because I’m allowed to do it. … It might go down someday as the ‘Pig Rule,’” Pinkel said, getting big laughs from the media at his weekly press conference Monday.

The decision underlines the safety’s importance to the Tigers. His presence and leadership remain essential. “We certainly need him around this football team,” Pinkel said.

With Brown relegated to the sideline, the Tigers’ defense faces personnel changes. Because the talented safety was so versatile, MU will have to adjust its strategy, staying close to the line to stuff the run as well as darting out into coverage to break up passes. Safety Justin Garrett is the probable replacement for Brown, but he’s also injured. He sat out Saturday against Iowa State with a hyperextended elbow. Del Howard will fill in as the fifth defensive back in passing situations, and redshirt freshman Kevin Rutland and sophomore Hardy Ricks could also see more playing time.

Brown was establishing himself as one of the best defensive players in the Big 12 Conference. Pinkel expressed his sympathy for Brown, praising his electric play and upbeat personality.

“He’s just got a lot of energy,” Pinkel said. “He talks that way. He acts that way. And he played that way. … They were making up T-shirts for him, Pig T-shirts. It was kind of turning into something really special,”

“AWESOME” ENDING IN DIVISION III: The weird and wild spared the nation’s top teams for one week, striking a Division III game in Jackson, Miss., instead.

An incredible finish between Millsaps (Miss.) and Trinity (Texas) was the water-cooler topic during Monday’s Big 12 coaches’ teleconference. The final play was as improbable as the end to the California-Stanford 1982 game, which featured several laterals and players crashing into a marching band.

With two seconds left and down by two points, Trinity had the ball on its own 39-yard line. After 15 laterals and 62 seconds, Riley Curry scored the winning touchdown.

Some Big 12 coaches had already seen the play. Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops and Colorado coach Dan Hawkins called it “awesome.” Texas Tech coach Mike Leach said it was an “aberration of sports.”

But others, including Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy, hadn’t. Gundy was amazed, however, after Tim Griffin, a reporter for the San Antonio Express-News, told him about the laterals.

“Wow. No, I did not see that,” he said.

Then another sportswriter brought it up, and he and Gundy started to chat.

“It was the most incredible football play I’ve ever seen in my life,” said Robert Allen of Triple Play Sports Radio.

“Was it structured?” Gundy asked.

Allen attempted to explain the wacky sequence, but Gundy soon realized television could only convey its craziness.

“I’m sure the way things work nowadays I could see it, but somebody will put it on YouTube, right?” Gundy asked.

“It’s already on YouTube,” Allen said.

The play was so notable that it wasn’t only on YouTube and ESPN, but the audio of Trinity’s overjoyed broadcasters was also played on National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered.”

PINKEL IN SPORTS ILLUSTRATED: Pinkel has said in the past that USA Today is his sole source for sports news. It’s understandable, then, that he took a while to read the article profiling his team in the latest issue of Sports Illustrated, even though it was glowing with a headline proclaiming “Mizzou Accomplished.”

“I thought it was a nice article,” Pinkel said. “Honestly, I don’t ever read anything. It was just thrown in my face last Wednesday … and I just got around to reading it,” he said with a laugh.

WATCH PARTY AT MIZZOU ARENA: Fans will be able to watch Saturday’s MU-Colorado game for free on the video boards at Mizzou Arena, the athletic department announced Monday. The game starts at 5:30 p.m. The broadcast will begin after the men’s basketball 3 p.m. exhibition opener against Missouri-St. Louis.

The game can also be seen on Fox Sports Net.

NEBRASKA’S KELLER OUT FOR YEAR: The Cornhuskers have been hit with another loss. Quarterback Sam Keller is out for the season after injuring his shoulder against Texas, coach Bill Callahan said Monday.

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