SEC Media Days: Missouri’s Gary Pinkel says Tigers are ‘hungry’

HOOVER, Alabama — After a dismal start to their SEC tenure, the Missouri Tigers remain “very hungry,” said coach Gary Pinkel during the conference’s Media Days on Tuesday.

“Like anything else, you have to prove yourself,” Pinkel said. “We’re very, very hungry and we’re excited to get back and compete.”

Pinkel, who grew tired of fielding questions about the strength of the SEC a year ago, said there were no second thoughts about joining.

“It’s a great league. I love being in the league,” he said. “I like to compete against the best. We did the right thing. We’re doing great things facility-wise, investment-wise at Missouri. So, you know, we’ll get a chance to get after it again and compete.”

* James Franklin was one of three players representing Mizzou on Tuesday, even though he hasn’t officially won the starting quarterback job.

“He’s just a great representative of our program,” Pinkel said. “That’s really how I choose to bring players here. We have a lot we could have chosen, but that’s why we did it.”

* For his part, Franklin is acting as if he IS the No. 1 quarterback. Teammates want leadership, not meekness, he said.

* Franklin is unfailingly friendly and polite in interviews. About his smiles, he says, “I try to kill them with kindness.”

* Franklin created a minor stir by asking a question honestly. Asked about the SEC’s “rudest fans,” he said most fan bases in the SEC had been nice to him. The meanest thing ever said to him — one he can’t repeat — came from a Mizzou fan.