Campus Corner

Even at 0-2, Pinkel pleased with MU's transition to SEC

Updated: 2012-10-03T19:33:21Z

By TEREZ A. PAYLOR

The Kansas City Star

— Missouri coach Gary Pinkel addressed his program’s ongoing transition to the Southeastern Conference during the league's weekly coaches conference call on Wednesday. 

Missouri is 3-2 overall, but 0-2 in the SEC after losses to No. 5 Georgia and No. 6 South Carolina.

“I think we’re transforming,” Pinkel said. “If you saw us on TV in our Arizona State game or you saw us on TV for our Georgia game, if you’re a member of the SEC I think you’d be proud that Missouri is a place that rocks (its) stadium, for lack of a better term. We’re selling out almost every game – we’ve never done that before – so our fans have embraced going to the SEC.”

Pinkel said the move to the SEC has also had an impact on recruiting, as Missouri has been able to keep most of the best in-state talent in the Class of 2013 at home.

“Being a member of the SEC and having that as the brand you’re a part of is much bigger than I ever thought it would be,” said Pinkel, who added that his ultimate goal is to make Missouri a “significant” program in its new league.

Pinkel said his defensive line – anchored by a budding star in tackle Sheldon Richardson – has held up well against SEC teams, but added that the injuries to the offensive line (which has been well-chronicled) has been a challenge this year.

“Offensively, losing half of our depth players and several starters, (so) you know, we struggle,” Pinkel said. “We’re getting better, though. There’s no excuses, no one cares.

“As a general statement, there’s no question about it, the line of scrimmage is significant in the SEC…people say the difference is the people up front. They just have a lot of teams that have a lot of really good people up front.”

Pinkel was later asked whether Georgia and South Carolina are at the level of the best teams the Big 12 had to offer during his time in the conference.

“It’s real hard to draw comparisons,” Pinkel said. “They’re great teams and we came from a good league…the big thing that I see in this league is, and I knew this going into it, is there are a lot more good teams. That’s the difference. Not being disrespectful to anybody, but to me, it’s fact. And I think most people would agree (with) that.”

Trust not an issue for DGB
The topic of Dorial Green-Beckham came up (as it often does), largely because the freshman hauled in an 80-yard touchdown pass on Saturday, easily the most noteworthy play of his short MU career.

“He’s got a good attitude, and I think he trusts us, which is the most important thing,” Pinkel said of the top recruit of the Class of 2012, who had made a limited impact until then.

“That obviously was great for him, because there’s nothing like doing it in a game,” Pinkel added. “But I also think, after looking at that play, that we want to get the ball to him as much as we can.”

To reach Terez A. Paylor, send e-mail to tpaylor@kcstar.com. Follow him at twitter.com/TerezPaylor.

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