Big 12: Phillip Dilard

Big 12 internal affairs: Pregame pledges spark Missouri

October, 29, 2008
10/29/08
9:10
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Here are a few tidbits from across the conference heading into this week's games.

1. Missouri coach Gary Pinkel evoked a deeper pledge of accountability from his team in the week between the Tigers' loss at Texas and last week's game at Colorado. The Missouri coach made each player visit his office and promise his best effort against Colorado. The ploy worked as the Tigers responded with a 58-0 shutout over the Buffaloes -- Missouri's first shutout in a conference game since 1986.

2. Oklahoma running back DeMarco Murray, projected by many to be the best back in the conference before the season, finally appears back to form after two strong weeks of play. The main reason, Murray said, is his confidence in making sharper cuts on the field is finally returning. Murray sustained a dislocated kneecap late last season and had trouble bouncing back from the injury for mental and physical reasons. But not any longer. Murray has accounted for 287 yards rushing and receiving and scored six TDs in victories over Kansas and Kansas State.

3. Texas Tech coaches are gaining confidence in walk-on kicker Matt Williams, who was used only for extra points last week against Kansas. Tech coaches are finding that Williams' range is strong for field goals of up to about 40 yards and may consider using him for those kicks in Saturday's South Division showdown against Texas. Donnie Carona remains their choice for longer field-goal attempts.

4. Expect converted freshman wide receiver Daymond Patterson to remain at cornerback for the foreseeable future at Kansas. Coach Mark Mangino said the position switch was made because of lack of personnel at the defensive position. Patterson got a tough baptism last week as he faced off against Texas Tech's high-powered aerial attack. And it won't get much easier this week when he faces Kansas State.

5. Nebraska linebacker Phillip Dillard's recurring ankle injury will result in a variety of players likely filling his position if he can't go Saturday against Oklahoma. Tyler Wortman, Colton Koehler and walk-on freshman Matt Holt will get some of the playing time. But the most likely scenario could be that Cody Glenn would slide to the position from his starting weak-side position. The Sooners' run-heavy philosophy likely will keep the Cornhuskers from sliding an extra defensive back into the position in their base defense.

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