August 8, 2007

Reserves in the spotlight in camp

In a period of eight hours on Tuesday, Missouri fans across the country went from terrified to relieved. When news broke that starters Hardy Ricks and Tony Temple had left practice with injuries, Mizzou fans feared the worst. But a little after five o'clock last night, Gary Pinkel got the word that Temple had nothing more serious than a deep bruise and Ricks' shoulder dislocation would not require surgery. All in all, it was about the best news the Tigers could have hoped for.

"Yeah, it really was," Pinkel said after Wednesday morning's practice. "Hopefully, we'll have them back, I think Tony will probably get back a little bit quicker, but hopefully we'll have them both back by the Illinois game."

Temple said he expected to miss only a couple of days of practice, while Ricks said, "I could be back for the first game."

Good news, but it at least made the Tigers stop and think about the what if of it all.

"That's why backup players have to get ready to play. That's the message to the football team. We're going to have injuries during the season and you've got to have guys ready to play," Pinkel said. "That's not just a message to our players, but it's a message to our staff. It's their responsibility to get guys in position to win."

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