Missouri Postgame Quotes - Transcripts
THE MODERATOR: We'll start with an opening comment from Coach Pinkel.
COACH PINKEL: What a game. Oklahoma State is a really good team. Just all the drama that you don't want as a coach in the fourth quarter we had. We had a lot of adversity. I thought our team handled the adversity very well. Fortunately we made the plays we needed to make to win it at the end.
Very proud of our football team. Wanted that trophy really bad for them. Just a lot of things happened in that game. They played very, very good defense, as we played good defense. The scoring, a lot of people thought it might have been in the 40s, that type of thing. I think you give credit to the defenses first of all.
We just battled offensively. We were having trouble all day with consistency of execution. Just kept battling at the very end and made some plays. That last drive when we took the lead on offense, DGB caught that one on the 10 yard line, 15 yard line. Henry Josey, what a day he had. He put it in the end zone. The drama at the end, Michael Sam knocking the ball out, Shane Ray taking it for a touchdown. Those two back to back drives, you never get up. You keep battling, fighting, perservering.
THE MODERATOR: We'll go to questions for coach.
Q. I'll fall on the sword here, get this question out of the way. Maty Mauk takes the team down the field and scores. The team struggled after that. Talk about the decision and the thinking of leaving him in for one series?
COACH PINKEL: (Indiscernible) in the second half and that was our thought to do it that way. I thought James kept his composure. You look at the quarterback, you can point at him. But there's blocking, there's protection, there's routes, there's all those other things that most of you, most people probably can't see all the time.
We know exactly why things break down. No, I thought he came back and did well. I thought Maty certainly did well. The second time they put a lot of pressure on us and we struggled a little bit.
That was our thinking.
Q. Big emotional game for James Franklin as a senior, his final game as a Tiger. What can you tell us about your senior class that made them any different to you than other previous classes?
COACH PINKEL: Well, I think every class is different. I've been very fortunate in this business to be around a lot of special players and special kids. Since I've been here we've had a lot of great classes.
This one is significant because last year as we made the transition to the SEC, we had all these injuries, we didn't have a very good year. These guys came out, came back in January, they just kind of reset the standards for who we are, what we're about.
It's not just about winning. I remember meeting with the seniors. It's not just about going to a bowl game. They say we have to get back to the attitude and compete for championships around here. This is what they're telling me in January and February in my office. We went about that, goal setting. Certainly more emphasis with our team on those things.
We stayed very healthy this year. But certainly the senior class, I'll always remember them for getting Mizzou back to its winning ways.
Q. Looking at the way you've said in the past you agonized over these night games because of seeing all the mistakes happen. How was this day different for you and your players?
COACH PINKEL: Well, the day just was different. All my family is here, all my grandkids. I have six grandkids, one on the way. I got a chance to play with them a little bit.
Didn't get to have the pain and agony of watching football all day, though I kind of missed it. I guess it's one of those things.
When you get that Gatorade poured on your head, that shocked my system. But it's always great when that happens because that means your football team has done a lot of significant things.
It's all about our team and our players. It's about all the support people. It's about the influence that this has on the University of Missouri from a marketing standpoint, in terms of all the publicity we're getting, how it helps.
So it's our fans. It's all about everybody. I'm just happy for everybody. You know, we'll get back in January and readjust and get going again.
Q. I know you've downplayed it at times this season. The seniors this week talked about how getting you that 102nd win was a big deal. Becoming the all time winningest coach in the Cotton Bowl like this, what does this mean?
COACH PINKEL: Very nice. Had a bunch of players come up to me on the field and as I said, This isn't about me, this is about a championship. It's how championships are. There's a lot of people that had a lot to do with winning all of those games. It goes all the way back to Toledo. There's a lot of coaches, administrators, and players and academic support people and trainers. Winning isn't all about me. Don Faurot, who he is, things he stood, for I'm honored.
I kind of show my hand a little bit. I did that the last three or four years. I still do it today. I like being at Missouri. I want to continue to build a program. We got great challenges ahead of us in this league. It's a gauntlet schedule. But I'm very honored, very honored to be the winningest coach in Missouri history.
I thank all those people who were a part of that.
Q. The play that Michael made there with 55 seconds to go, does that kind of encapsulate the season he's had for you guys?
COACH PINKEL: First team All American, makes an All American play. Shane Ray picks it up. The first thing I started screaming, I didn't want him to pick it up and bobble it, then they get the ball back. I was mad for about two yards after he picked it up and started running with it. Then I reevaluated myself and thought it was a good idea, what he did.
I didn't know Michael was the one that knocked it out until I got in the locker room. A couple players told me. Michael and I have a very good relationship. It's fitting.
You get in games like that, I would hope that the Cotton Bowl liked that game. I think it was probably a great game to watch on TV. But it's a battle. When you win 'em, it's great. When you lose 'em, it just tears your guts out as a competitor. So I feel very fortunate that against a real good football team we won that game.
Q. Just for clarification, the decision to bring Maty in in the second half, that was a pregame decision?
COACH PINKEL: That was pregame. Done in our Thursday staff meeting, which was Wednesday.
Q. With James' career up and down, especially with the year he had last year, what gave you the faith in him to know he was going to come through in the clutch?
COACH PINKEL: He's won a lot of clutch games. You go back to his sophomore year. You go back to last year, this year. I think you generally go with experience.
One thing about Maty, it's very obvious that we have a heck of a young football player there. We thought it was good to get him in that game. He's going to compete. Is he going to be starter next year? I don't know. He certainly has a good chance. It's all based on competition.
But we thought it would be good to get him in. I thought he did a good job.
Q. Considering the history of your program, how much of a kick did you get out of the referee readjusting the third down call when he originally called it a second down?
COACH PINKEL: I thought it was great. You know what, the beauty of instant replay, the beauty of being able to go back and stop and analyze those things, how it's different now. I refer to the Cotton Bowl. The history of the Cotton Bowl, a game was won or lost, they thought a guy was inbounds that wasn't. Oklahoma or somebody.
Certainly the down and distance one, I don't know where that came from. I'm glad they figured that out. I didn't want to be part of that. I didn't want to call Bob Stull after this, who is a very good friend of mine.
THE MODERATOR: We'll take some questions for the student athletes at this time.
Q. Henry, what does it say after everything you've been through that you can sit up there, most outstanding offensive player?
HENRY JOSEY: I have the best support ever. I have so many people that have been behind me and pushing me. Like I tell everybody, it's never me. You got to have faith. I have faith in God, then so many people that have been taking me to the next level.
These guys believe in me even when I doubted myself, even when everybody was doubting that I would come back again. That's the main thing of my success is just having the right support.
Q. Andrew, what does it mean to pass your father? I think you're 10th all time in Missouri for tackles.
ANDREW WILSON: It's a good feeling. Finishing this last one with a win. I would like to say anybody on the defense could have got this trophy. I got the luck of the draw because everybody played great.
Q. Kony, have you made a decision about your future?
KONY EALY: Yeah, I have. I love my teammates. I love my coaches. I've gone from a boy to a man here. I feel like it is time for me to go on to the next level.
I love everything about Mizzou, man. It wouldn't be possible without God and my family and Mizzou and my father and my sister.
So, yeah, I decided to go ahead and declare. Made myself available to go into the NFL.
Q. Did you watch the Sugar Bowl? How did that outcome kind of affect you guys? Did it make you feel like you needed to represent your conference a little bit better today?
HENRY JOSEY: Yes, that's something real big, I mean, representing the SEC. The SEC is such a powerful conference. That's the conference that everybody looks to. That's where all the attention is.
Coming into this game, that was in the back of our mind. That was always in the back of our mind that we had to hold up the rep for the SEC.
Q. What did you see on that final fumble?
ANDREW WILSON: I was dropping in coverage and I saw Mike coming around the corner and hit him. Shane picked it up. I started screaming and I chased him all theway into the end zone, which was not smart, because I was dead tired after that. But that was an awesome play.
KONY EALY: Nothing new to me. We practice this day in, day out. Our coaches, we have to practice this. But it paid off in the game. It wasn't a practice that Mike Sam got that sack fumble. He does it every day in practice. Does it every day in the game. Shane Ray finally got himself a touchdown. Welcome to the club, bro.
Q. Talk about the impact you made early.
KONY EALY: Well, I don't ever want to point myself out. It's more so a team effort. Without my teammates, pass rushers, people I was covering, my sacks wouldn't have came.
First of all I want to give thanks to my teammates. Secondly, it's just a good effort because that's what we preach in practice, a good effort by me coming off the ball really hard, get up field and get to the ball.
Q. Kony, what does it mean to you to end your Missouri career declaring? Did you come into this game a little extra motivated? I'm assuming this was a premeditated decision before the game.
KONY EALY: No, not really. I treated it like an everyday situation. I don't think about the future. I think about the moment. What is most important is me celebrating a victory today with my teammates. That's what we did.
Afterwards I felt really good. Sent the seniors out with a win. A lot of the criticism from last year, it's all paying off. The seniors brought us and led us here. Everybody stepped up and was onboard 110%.
Q. Henry, you also said that you hadn't thought about the draft. Have you made your mind up, too?
HENRY JOSEY: It's still a process. There's people I have to talk to. First of all, I have to talk to my grandma. She wasn't able to be here today because of the flu. I put a lot on my back. It's always something I'll talk about with her and something I'll talk about with my coach. That's how I'll go from there.
Q. Henry, you came into the same recruiting class with James Franklin. Ever any doubt in your mind or the offensive mind that he was going to come through in the clutch with that last throw that set up your touchdown?
HENRY JOSEY: You never doubt James. That's the main thing I try to do is keep him calm. I tell him I got his back. Everything that happened with the fumble, let it go, I got your back. Of course he's going to make a big play. He's done it this whole year. Even when I wasn't playing as well as I wanted to, he stepped up and made big plays. There's not always one guy you can count on. You can count on everyone.
THE MODERATOR: We'll continue with a couple more questions for the coach.
Q. How do you feel about the recruiting pipeline that you've created into Texas?
COACH PINKEL: Texas has been very, very important to us. That was a calculated decision that we made based on trying Missouri is the most important, but to get a populous state outside of Missouri, where do we go? Are we going to go to Florida, Georgia, Chicago, Big Ten country, go there? Texas is where we thought we would come because high school football is great football. There's a lot of great numbers here.
It's been very, very good to us for years and years and years. I think we had 32 players. Maxed out at 36, 38. We certainly are going to stay in Texas, especially Houston, all the way straight up to Dallas and East Texas. We are adjusting a little bit because we can get into Georgia a little bit and Tennessee and Florida a little bit.
But it's been very, very important to us. I can give you a list of names of players that are playing in the NFL right now that came to play for us at Mizzou and helped us win.
Q. Did you realize the game lasted more than four hours? Should games last that long? Was it disruptive, the length of the game?
COACH PINKEL: I had no idea. You're out there. You're so focused. It might can last six or two, I don't know. As long as you win, I don't care how long they go.
Timeouts ran a little bit longer. It was good for Mizzou. It was good for the SEC. It was good for the University of Missouri. That's all good.
Q. What does it mean to you, Henry Josey, he scores in this game, you gave him the first game ball, what does it mean to you to see him persevere?
COACH PINKEL: We talked about this. He's a remarkable kid. He's special. That's what you see on the field. But the reason he's special, he's got great athleticism, he's tough, he's strong, all those other things. But his heart, you can't measure how big his heart is, his determination, his perseverance.
Once he overcame that injury, I mean, you know, you grow from those things. He's no different now. Remarkably he's a better player now. He's a stronger player now even than before he had the injury.