18 March 2011

Tiger Spring Breakdown

Tigers bring depth and experience back to The Zou
by MizzMatt
Columbia, MO-  Gary Pinkel is optimistic about the Tiger football team heading into spring ball.  Coming off of their third 10-win season in four years and sixth-straight bowl appearance, the Tigers are taking a hard nosed approach going into the off season regiment following their loss to Iowa in the Insight Bowl on December 28.  But according to Pinkel, it's no different whether they win a bowl game or not:
“For us, it’s always business as usual, I always take a hard-hat approach, let’s get back to work,” Pinkel said.  “Coming through our Winning Edge program, which is our Tuesday and Thursday morning workouts, and our Monday-Wednesday-Friday weight lifting – that’s what we’ve been doing since we got back in January, and that’s gone really well.  I think we’ve matured and grown as a team, we’re faster, stronger, quicker and a lot of the young players, after going through the Winning Edge program we have in place, they understand a little more about the intensity level at which it takes to compete at this level.  As far as goals, our goals have not changed since we got here – to win a Big 12 championship, compete for a national championship, and to go to a bowl.”


One of the biggest challenges that was presented to the Pinkel staff when he took office in December 2000 was the depth chart, and filling it to the brim.  The admin wanted enough depth to sustain a consistent winner year after year, no matter who was taking the snaps.  They've got the depth (as illustrated by six straight bowl games), but their work is never done:
“One of the great things about our football team I think we have more depth at most every position, and that only leads to the competition being greater than it’s ever been,” Pinkel said.  “I think the beauty of how we do things here, unlike a significant number of other places, is that kids get opportunities here, and they know that the best person is going to play, that there’s no pecking order.  Just because ‘Johnnie’ has been here, he doesn’t have anything handed to him, the guys who deserve the right to play are going to get the job.”

The Tiger football squad breaks down like this going into spring ball:
Total (Incl. Specialists)
Starters Returning___________ 18
Starters Lost________________ 6
Career Starts Returning_______ 355
Career Starts Lost____________ 237
Lettermen Returning_________ 37
Lettermen Lost______________ 12

Offense
Starters Returning___________ 9
Starters Lost________________ 2
Career Starts Returning_______ 198
Career Starts Lost____________ 66
Lettermen Returning_________ 25
Lettermen Lost______________ 6

Defense
Starters Returning___________ 8
Starters Lost________________ 3
Career Starts Returning_______ 131
Career Starts Lost____________ 158
Lettermen Returning_________ 10
Lettermen Lost______________ 5

Specialists (Punter/Kicker)
Starters Returning___________ 1
Starters Lost________________ 1
Career Starts Returning_______ 26
Career Starts Lost____________ 13
Lettermen Returning_________ 2
Lettermen Lost______________ 1

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