Hoover, Ala. -- How is Mizzou going to adjust to the SEC? If Gary Pinkel's early going at SEC media days is any indication, they're going to hit the ground running.
The coach's opening remarks might not even have lasted a minute, and then it was right onto questions about how terrified the Tigers are of the big, mean SEC (Pinkel: "I'll be disappointed if we're intimidated"). Unlike Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin, Pinkel responded not with restrained intensity, but with more of a shrug.
The most important item for Tigers (and Georgia) fans: Injured quarterback James Franklin should be "100 percent ready to go," with his "accuracy improving" as the season nears. That's no major surprise, but I said it was important, not surprising. (In other unsurprising yet important news, Pinkel doubts Henry Josey will be playing this year.)
"I'll be disappointed if he doesn't have a real good year in a real good league," Pinkel said.
Your funnest Pinkel quote of the day came when he was asked about his relationship with Nick Saban: "He's older than me. Let's make that clear." He also had many nice things to say about his former Kent State teammate and fellow motorcycle enthusiast. (He was also asked about the best restaurants in Columbia, Mo., but deferred to, like, the city board of tourism, I think.)
Hey, how about that new rivalry with Arkansas? Pinkel hopes it can become something great, as the two are "neighboring states" and Arkansas has been "very successful," and "when the time comes, we'll be very excited about it." As for further rivalries, he said he "probably won't be here" when those emerge OMG HOT SEAT.
Missouri will mean a new look for "some great defenses," as Pinkel expects to "run our offense, be multiple," and generally continue with this whole not-lining-up-in-a-big-pack-and-running-straight-ahead thing. He still had to defend the quality of Mizzou's previous competition, shooting down one question that described the transition as "like jumping from JV to varsity." Despite the new territory, Pinkel ascribes to the theory that teams with strong lines do the best recruiting, regardless of league affiliation (and they'll still recruit Texas). Still, Mizzou fans are excited about all these SEC teams coming to campus.
Pinkel was also the first recipient of a question on concussions. He's in favor of awareness and better rules.
Your updated Recruitedness Power Rankings, in which we rank how recruited we feel to each program after each coach has taken the podium:
- Steve Spurrier
- Kevin Sumlin
- Gary Pinkel