Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Big 12 [Print without images]

Thursday, October 8, 2009
Did Pinkel learn from last season?

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com


Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin


COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Experience might be the best teacher -- even for veteran coaches.

I absolutely loved Gary Pinkel's gamble on fourth down to go for the touchdown rather than the field goal at the end of the first half.

Thinking back to last season, the Tigers never recovered from a time they didn't go for a fourth down when it similarly made sense to gamble.

Missouri fans remember when the Tigers marched to the Oklahoma State 1-yard line, but decided to go for a field goal rather than a touchdown on fourth down. Oklahoma State claimed a 28-23 upset victory that night, but the lack of faith that Pinkel had on that key play seemed to help the Tigers' season unravel from that point.

The Tigers, who came into that game 5-0, finished by losing four of their final nine games and never fulfilled the promise they brought into that Oklahoma State game.

Did Pinkel take something away from last season? He didn't hesitate Thursday as Blaine Gabbert scored on the final play of the first half.

Missouri now has a 9-0 lead, mainly because Pinkel was willing to show some confidence when his team needed him to.