OTC: Is MU’s Gary Pinkel Too Stubborn To Make Adjustments Or Is He Too Nervous/Superstitious?

“I’m the minority, but I love that Pinkel went with Mauk in a bowl game, and love that he went back to Franklin. Even with the punt. Pinkel’s loyalty is part of his success. Lot of folks seem to want him to abandon the guy who’s been his better QB this season.”
Sam Mellinger, @mellinger, on Pinkel’s decision to stick with his senior starting QB in the Cotton Bowl despite his uncharacteristic poor play and his freshman backup’s very excellent play, Twitter
GH: I was one of those folks who was calling for Pinkel to not only abandon James Franklin but place him in a lead-lined box on the sideline so that his negative mojo would not affect the rest of the Tigers. And I have been one of Franklin’s biggest fans throughout his collegiate ups and downs. But this game wasn’t about what was best for Franklin and Pinkel. It was about what’s best for Mizzou. Read on.

“Keep this in mind: James Franklin has less than three quarters left in his college career.
Maty Mauk has 3 more years. So just chill.”
Ashley Zavala, @ZavalaA, reporter for Comcast covering Mizzou, chastising those Mizzou fans on Twitter who were calling for Pinkel to replace Franklin with Mauk, Twitter
GH: I saw a number of the media making similar comments to Mellinger’s and Zavala’s – that somehow Pinkel would be performing an injustice to his senior QB if he yanked him from the game. Someone also kept harping about how Pinkel would ruin his relationship with future Texas recruits if he sat Franklin in his hometown. Huh? What recruit wants to play for a coach who isn’t smart enough to play the best players – no matter where they’re from? Texans know football and I have a feeling there weren’t a lot of recruits thinking Pinkel needed to stick with Frank the Tank in this one.

“For the record, I’d give Mauk another series. Not saying I’d play him all game, but give him another series. … And #Mizzou gives it back on a botched exchange between Franklin and Josey. Sorry, but it’s time to make the switch on the next drive. … I don’t even know if I have words for this. Easily the worst offensive half I’ve seen in years.”
Gabe DeArmond, @GabeDeArmond, Twitter
GH: These are three tweets from DeArmond that cover the first three quarters of the Cotton Bowl. Gabe saw what most of us saw – that James Franklin just didn’t have it and that Mauk did.

“Sad to see James Franklin’s career end on bench and all, but Pinkel has to pull the plug.”
Joe Walljasper, @JoeWalljasper, sports editor of Columbia Tribune, as Missouri’s lead over Oklahoma State slipped away, Twitter
GH: Pinkel put Mauk back in for one series in the second half but then stuck with Franklin to the almost bitter end. Mizzou pulled out the win but it was anything but easy – and it should have been easy. Franklin fumbled away a botched handoff, he pitched another ball to an OSU defender and he tossed a devastating pick six that was thankfully nullified by a penalty. Franklin owes Henry Josey, Michael Sam and Shane Ray a huge thank you for making us all forget about how poorly he played.

“I was so disappointed in Gary Pinkel (during the Cotton Bowl). I wasn’t even that excited about the end because I was so upset at Gary Pinkel and the way he handled the third quarter. To me he just took the wind out of a very tired Missouri Tiger defense by leaving Franklin in there. I’ve been a Mizzou fan all my life and I thought Pinkel was trying to give the game away.”
Caller Ron, to TJ Carpenter’s Saturday morning show, 810 AM
GH: I don’t think Pinkel wanted to give the game away but he appeared to me to be unwilling to go away from his senior quarterback – despite all the evidence that he must. Some believe Pinkel to be too stubborn to make in-game adjustments. Read on.

“Gary Pinkel is an incredibly stubborn coach. His stubbornness and blind loyalty to James Franklin could have cost him the game – almost did! Maty Mauk, clearly the better quarterback. … He is stubborn to a fault when it comes to personnel and in-game adjustments. It was amazing to me that Gary Pinkel refused to go away from his senior quarterback. The whole country was thinking the same thing – why isn’t Maty Mauk playing?”
TJ Carpenter, 810 AM
GH: I don’t think Pinkel is stubborn in the least. I think people have misdiagnosed the Missouri head coach. I think Pinkel is frozen with fear on game day that any change he makes will backfire and he will live to regret it. Pinkel has often talked about how nervous he is standing on the sideline of a game. Call it superstitious if you will but I think he just locks up when it comes to adjustments for fear he’ll screw up.

“(Missouri) will have one of the best quarterbacks in the country next year. They’ll have maybe the best wide-receiving corps in the country next year. They’re still going to have a good defense. Their offensive line is going to be full of juniors and seniors who have had 60 starts. They’re set up to be really freaking good next year. Really, really good.”
TJ Carpenter, 810 AM
GH: While Pinkel is not the best game-day coach, he continues to stockpile NFL talent on the Mizzou sideline, despite one SEC expert’s opinion. Read on.

“(Missouri) is recruiting better than they did in the Big 12. … They are not recruiting as well as they need to be (in the SEC). I am going to make that general statement and feel like it is accurate. (Recruiting) stars do matter. I feel like I’m talking in circles, like I’m saying obvious things. Their recruiting needs to improve. It needs to get better.”
TJ Carpenter, after stating that Missouri ranks near the bottom of the SEC in football recruiting according to Rivals.com, 810 AM
GH: Carpenter is an SEC guy from Arkansas and I enjoy his slanted perspective of college football. He’s a bit sick when it comes to his SEC bias, but he’s young. He might grow out of it. Pinkel’s Mizzou team won the SEC East and finished fifth in the nation this season with recruits he gathered from the Tigers days in the Big 12 – that little football conference where Oklahoma spanked SEC giant Alabama around for four quarters in this month’s Sugar Bowl. Pinkel is mining gold in Missouri, Texas and now in the SEC’s backyard. The NFL is very aware of it even if Rivals.com is not.

“Do you think this (Missouri) team would be in the (preseason) top 10 next year in the Big 12? Nobody would know! Nobody would care! They care now! They’re in the SEC, buddy!”
TJ Carpenter, 810 AM
GH: Okay, buddy. If you say so.  

and Twitter @greghall24

About Greg Hall

Software guy who has been writing my Off The Couch column in KC newspapers, publications and websites since 1994. Has been bounced from some of the finest media establishments this side of State Line Road. Dad first and everything else second...and there are a lot of everything elses.
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33 Responses to OTC: Is MU’s Gary Pinkel Too Stubborn To Make Adjustments Or Is He Too Nervous/Superstitious?

  1. kylerohde says:

    Crap like that last statement is what overshadows the other stuff Carpenter says that has a ton of validity. Of course Missouri would get attention and be top 10 next year in the Big XII. Just like they would in the B1G, Pac-12 or ACC. They’re a damn good football team and that’d be true in any league. I’m just glad KU isn’t playing them anytime soon because it’d be a bloodbath.

    But after 2014, when Weis is fired and Mangino re-hired as the head coach, look out 😉

  2. Jeff Gelski says:

    I would have ridden Mauk’s hot hand when he entered the game in the first half and then switched back to Franklin later if Mauk cooled off. It was better to have the experienced Franklin in a close game in the fourth quarter, but if we had ridden Mauk’s hot hand in the second quarter, the game might not have been so close in the fourth quarter. While watching the Cotton Bowl, I thought of a certain Nebraska final against Miami. I think Frazier started, Berringer came in for a while at QB and then Frazier closed out the game.

  3. john doe says:

    At what point are we going to get off Pinkel’s ass and let him do his thing? He has been pretty damn successful, and has earned the right to not have every move questioned. Why would he bench Franklin in his last college game, being played in his hometown in what is basically a glorified exhibition game? It doesn’t make any sense.

    He doesn’t get the players that the other schools get, but he coaches them up and has 6 first rounders since 2009. Very few schools have that many since 2009.

    Time for MU fans to get off his ass and enjoy what we’ve got.

    • Steve says:


      All the guy has done is take us within one game of the National Title game two times in the last 7 seasons. I had no problem with how he coached this game. Like you said, this is a glorified exhibition game. Had it actually been the National Title game, with something big at stake, he very well might have made the change. But I don’t see how his coaching in this game could affect recruiting in a negative way. That’s a HUGE stretch.

      I also don’t see anyone placing some blame on Marcus Lucas for that fumble on the pitch. Lucas got pushed back about 5 yards from his originally blocking spot, right into where Franklin was pitching it and that led to the fumble. Franklin didn’t play well, but I had no problem with Pinkel sticking with him, especially since, ya know, we won the fucking game.

    • Dan says:

      If it was any other bowl game in any other year, I’d agree with you about it being a glorified exhibition. But this was different. This was a chance to go up against the Big 12 and rub their noses into the fact that Mizzou is in a better place and is better off than they were before. Not that one game says all that, but beating one of the best teams the Big 12 has to offer on a neutral field, after everyone in B12 country said MU would flounder in the SEC, was pretty damn important. At least in my mind, it was. That being said, for whatever reason, whoever’s fault it was, the offense simply wasn’t functioning well with Franklin. When Mauk came in for his one series in the 2nd quarter, the difference was astounding. A buddy of mine who hasn’t seen much of MU this season texted me and said WHOA! WHO IS THIS MAUK KID AND WHY ISN’T HE THE STARTER? I really appreciate everything Franklin has done in his time at Mizzou. Great kid. Good quarterback. But it just wasn’t his night and in my opinion, winning that game was more important than sending certain players out a certain way. I’m glad it all ended up working out for the best.

      • Guy Who Says What Others Think says:

        Remember Mauk’s second series? Not so impressive. Three and out. Just saying.

        • Will says:

          Plus what about the seven or eight drops that MU receivers had after Franklin’s passes hit their hands…and the three or four pass interference penalties the stupid big 10 refs didn’t call because they don’t know what a forward pass looks like.

          Yes Franklin could have played better but he had some help looking “off his game.”

          Good original post John Doe.

    • Maff says:

      Who cares? Then why watch the game? That is a stupid comment. Mizzou fans care. Recruits care, fans f’n care. Pinkel blew the SC game because he sat on a 14-0 lead and took the air outta the ball. He failed to guard the end zone well on 4th and goal from 15 yard line.

      He blew any chance we had against Auburn by playing a prevent defense against their option. He never f’n tried anything different. That is either lazy, or scared, or stubborn, or stupid. I say all four.

      So what if we had a nice season. Coach to win the game. At least try. If something isn’t working, try something else for crying out loud.

      If you are driving down highway and it gets foggy and dark, you adjust by slowing down and turning on lights. You ADJUST. Both Pinkel and Reid don’t know how to manage a game. Fine, let them coach all week. Let someone else manage the game. So many people out there support stupidity. If you want goodness and fairness go watch Bambi.

  4. Jim says:

    Loved OU kicking ‘Bama’s ass in the Sugar Bowl. MU was on the cusp of getting beaten by OSU, but made the play that made the difference. Just goes to show that the top teams in all of the FBS conferences can compete with each other. Man, can we just jump to the 8 or 16 team playoff and completely bypass this 4-team farce that we have to endure for now?!

  5. Franklin’s pitch towards the OSU defender had to be one of the funniest plays I’ve seen in awhile. Thankfully, I was watching on DVR and already knew the game result, or I might have pitched a Keystone Ice at the damn television. Franklin absolutely stunk up the joint all night long and should’ve been pulled. But I can’t recall Pinkel pulling a QB for non-injury reasons in all his years. Whether it’s fear or stubbornness may be moot, since it’s just not gonna happen regardless of the reason.

    • DC says:

      watch the play again. Franklin read his key and pitched to running back. His WR did not do his job and got blown up 5 yds deep and into the pitch man.

  6. Bernie Kosar says:

    Nebraska should have played Nate Mason against us.

    You miss me?

  7. JP says:

    Between TJ Carpenter and Clay Travis, I am getting a little nauseous at all this crap about how great the SEC is. Last I checked, they went 0-2 in their BCS games. The players they recruit could barely make it out of most junior high schools for educational purposes. Fortunately college football season is over and these Neanderthals can go back to oblivion until August. I for one, get tired of TJ’s all college football all the time show. Obviously he doesn’t know or understand his audience and 2/3 of them could give a bleep about the SEC.

    • BS Guy says:

      The BCS is so fuckin great!! It’s the end-all, be-all!!

    • BlackJack says:

      + 1

      I love how all these people are so serious about college football, and it has the most meaningless postseason of all of the other major sports.

      College football is the pre-eminent sport for old school, past-their-prime, middle-aged cavemen would-be-athelete man-boy fans living in mama’s basement.

  8. Guy Who Says What Others Think says:

    1. I too, screamed for Mauk to be put in and Franklin benched. Didn’t happen. And then I realized that Pinkel knows a hell of alot more about quarterbacks than I do. When Mizzou had to have it, Franklin stood in the face of a huge blitz and delivered a strike to DGB on a critical third down that led to the go ahead touchdown. And to be fair, Franklin’s receivers were dropping the football like it was on fire. DGB, Marcus Lucas, Bud Sasser, and LDW all had horrible drops.

    2. TJ Carpenter is a blithering Razorback idiot. Greg’s point is well made. The players that Mizzou fielded this year were recruited while in the Big 12, and they won the SEC East. They don’t have to recruit better in the SEC to continue to compete. Just maintain the same level and develop the talent like you have been. Charlie Strong made reference to that in one of his opening interviews as Texas head coach. In a nutshell, he stated he didnt’ care so much about star rankings, he just wanted football players that could be coached up. What’s really going to fry Carpenter’s bacon is when DGB catches about 10 balls for 150 yards and 3 tds against Arkansas next year. Trust me, his ass is still red from DGB selecting Mizzou over Arkansas.

  9. Biff says:

    Pinkel is great for MU. He will win enough to keep his job but always choke in a big game. At a real football school he would of been fired years ago. Every time he made the conference championship game MU got stomped by OU or Auburn.

    • Guy Who Says What Others Think says:

      Yes, Pinkel has been great for Missouri, and yes the expectations at Missouri are different from say a football blue blood like Michigan, Alabama, Ohio State, or Texas. Since Missouri isn’t one of those schools, having consistent 7-9 win seasons with a 10-12 win season every 5 years or so will keep your job very safe. And well it should. A school like say oh…KU, would kill to have a coach that has put up the consistent win total that Pinkel has at Missouri. Is he perfect? Hell no. But he’s built one damn fine football program during his tenure at Missouri.

      • BlackJack says:

        Hey, if you’re happy with mediocrity to slightly-above-average relevance in the national landscape of college football, more power to ya.

        If someone told me that my team had no chance of winning it all, the best they would do year in and year out would be to finish somewhere around middle of the pack, I’d say “No Thanks” and find some other sport/hobby to watch.

        • Guy Who Says What Others Think says:

          Then as a KU fan, you better find some other sport/hobby to watch.

        • brett says:

          finishing the season ranked #5 in the nation is middle of the pack? ok got it thanks.

        • Maff says:

          Amen. If you don’t care then why keep score? Why not make sure everyone plays? Sorry losers. You play to win.

    • Will says:

      You have no idea what a football looks like Biff; and you’re going to educate us on Pinkel? Go away. Don’t you have a ku basketball loss to watch?

  10. MightyMo says:

    I am a 40 yr. old Tiger alum, Chiefs fan, and Royals fan. History has tapered my expectations. I admit that 8 wins a year and a bowl game (with an occasional 10 win season) will satisfy me. Not saying its right, just the truth.

  11. DT says:

    I believe that sending Mauk in for a couple of series is part of their normal game plan. I don’t think it had anything to do with Franklin’s performance. Pinkel’s complete inability to make meaningful game time adjustments continues to drive me nuts.

  12. Rick says:

    Is it just me or does TJ Carpenter bring NOTHING to the table? His opinions are always so off that the other hosts on 810 just make fun of him.

    • JP says:

      TJ seems like a smart guy. But he has just succumbed to group think at 810. Either he is imitating KK one day, or Petro the next. He doesn’t seem to understand or relate to his radio audience. This is a continuing problem with 810.

      His Saturday show over the summer (mind you when the Royals were the hot topic) dealt with Bobby Petrino’s future job prospects and him taking over the coaching spot at either Missouri or KU. The experts he bring on feels more like a phone conversation with a friend than serious professional sports talk. The guy needs to be himself, and realize his constituency, rather than trying to imitate Petro or KK. God knows Petro tries to outsmart any of his experts on his show, and is not the role model that Carpenter should follow.

  13. Be Reasonable says:

    I am not a Mizzou fan at all. That being said, I am a sports fan and even though I’m a Jayhawk, I’ve admitted plenty of times before that this year’s football team was fun to watch play and their hoops team in the final year of Big 12 was great to watch. Enjoying watching them as a sports fan and cheering for them can be two different things.

    So as for playiing James Franklin, maybe my perspective is off from Mizzou fans, I get that. But this was not a BCS game, this was not a National Championship game or even the SEC championship. Heck the old “we have to show the Big 12″ argument is weak as well, because beating the Big 12 is meaningless in the SEC World. (As you’ve told us plenty of times)

    This was the last game of the season which is quite meaningless except for a fun reward for the players and fans. Yes you want to win, but don’t you owe the kids who are Seniors the opportunity for “one last hurrah?” It’s not like a bowl game sets the tone for 2014. If you’re good in 2014 (which you will be) that gets worked out in Spring practice, off season weights etc.

    This is a game to celebrate the guys who got you to the spot. James Franklin is one of them. Pinkel did the right thing by keeping Franklin in there. He did the right thing for kids who give four years to a program. This is the only game of the year where a Win or a Loss doesn’t matter, so you choose what’s right, not what will get you the win.

    It’s right to let Seniors play out their final game. They’ve earned it and this is the spot to show your appreciation.

    • brett says:

      i disagree that bowl games are irrelevant. these games take place one month before national signing day. i admittedly have no evidence that the outcome of a bowl game has ever affected a recruit’s decision. but common sense tells me that a bad showing in a bowl game that close to signing day could cause a big recruit to have second thoughts.

      • Be Reasonable says:

        I do agree that winning a bowl game helps, it clearly helped Oklahoma this week when they got the #1 RB in the country the day after they beat BAMA.

        I agree a bad showing can make kids rethink things, I guess i’m just saying is who should you show more allegiance too… a upcoming signee who has held off til the last moment and may or may not come… or a guy who has committed himself to four years in your program?

    • Alphonse Tooty says:

      I think Pinkel felt strongly that Franklin gave Mizzou the best chance to win the game. You can agree or disagree with that. I don’t think he played him out of loyalty. Bottom line is that people can take all the shots they want at Pinkel but Missouri is lucky to have him.

  14. Guy Who Says What Others Think says:

    From a recent article written by Gabe DeArmond:
    Only 11 teams won even a share of a BCS championship. Only Alabama, Florida, USC, LSU and Florida State won more than one. Those are five of the top programs in the last half century of college football.

    Some more perspective: Since the end of World War II (note, that’s a LONG time ago), exactly 30 Division One programs have won even a share of one recognized college football national title. That is less than a quarter of the current Division One teams. In 70 years.

Of those 30, 13 of them have one championship (many of them split). That means 67 of a possible 80 national championships have been won by a whopping 17 programs. To go further, let’s eliminate the schools that have won two. That leaves us with this list:
    Alabama 7
    Notre Dame 7
    Oklahoma 7
    USC 6
    Ohio State 6
    Miami 6
    Nebraska 5
    Texas 4
    Florida State 3
    Florida 3
    LSU 3

That’s it. Eleven schools have won 57 of a potential 80 national championships. If you don’t want to do the math, that is more than two-thirds of the championships going to less than one-tenth of the schools.

And it’s getting harder. Texas has won one national title in the last 50 years. Notre Dame hasn’t won one since 1988. Oklahoma has one in the last 28 seasons. Nebraska hasn’t done it since 1997. Michigan has the second-best winning percentage in the history of college football…and one national title since 1948.

  15. Mizzrobbie says:

    I attended this game in person and while I don’t think Pinkel should have put Mauk in permanantly, I thought about it.

    I also re-watched the game last night and I forgot just how many catchable passes our receivers dropped. Had they made those catches, I don’t think we would be having this conversation.

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