Missouri ready for the toughness of the SEC
Today, Tigers head coach Gary Pinkel and three players traveled to Hoover, Ala., for SEC Media Days for the first time since joining the conference. Much of the talk surrounding the Tigers centered around how competitive each team would be this season, and what challenges stand in front of the program as it shifts to a new conference.
“We’re excited about obviously joining the league. There’s been a transition that’s taken place and will take place probably for some time to come,” Pinkel said on Tuesday. “We’ve been working hard since January in our preparation for the football season.”
“[We're] excited about being a part of this great league, and understand, too, that when you go into a league like this, you’re new, and you have to prove yourself.”
Pinkel has a history with Alabama head coach Nick Saban. The two have been colleagues and friends for a long while. This respect he has for Coach Saban was evident during Tuesday’s interview session.
“He’s a great football coach. I have great respect for him,” Pinkel said. “As a player, [he was] a great competitor. [He was a] very tough, physical player.
“I think historically he’ll go down as one of the great coaches in college football. And he should”
The Tigers, much like Texas A&M, displayed great excitement for the upcoming football season and even being at an event like SEC Media Days.
“It’s crazy, but it’s exciting to come down here. First of all, I’ve never been to Alabama,” defensive back E.J. Gaines said of SEC Media Days. “It’s exciting to come down here, and the vibe just getting off the plane, you could just feel they have a pride in what they do here.”
But the overwhelming tone behind the interview had to do with toughness, defense and how the Tigers will adjust to the rigors of the SEC. As expected, the Tigers answered confidently, and even jokingly.
“We can compete with any of them. We have the athletes to do it,” wide receiver T.J. Moe stated. “We have a lot of guys on the roster right now that are going to be playing for NFL teams in a few years here. We’re excited to go out there and really prove what we can do.”
Moe drew rave reviews from media members during each interview session as his displayed wit and a keen sense of humor that left him with a standing ovation as he exited one media interview session.
“We’re about as midwest as it gets. We’re the gateway to the midwest. This is really more like the bottom right-fourth conference,” Moe joked.
The Tigers seem fit and ready for the SEC, and their mindset seems perfect for the competition.
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