Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel spoke with the media following Missouri’s opening bowl practice over the weekend. Here’s what he had to say.

Opening statement

First practice today was really good. We’re going to practice today and tomorrow and then we’ll back off and don’t have any during finals week. It was really high energy practice, so I’m really pleased with it.

On if he’s surprised by energy level at practice

I thought they would. It’s been a week since they’ve played … we’re kind of off our normal schedule, which is kind of nice for them too.

On if he remembers what Mizzou football was like before he got there

There were a lot of struggles. You’re building a program, you’re changing attitudes and that’s the most difficult thing to do … we had to adjust. If you don’t adjust, you’re not going to be here … I often questioned why I came here during those first couple of years. We just keep working hard and slowly but surely kids start trusting you … as soon as that happens, you get some ownership.

On if he sees younger guys stepping up in bowl practices

Not really.You still have the seniors here, so they’re going to do what they do. We will get back to our leadership classes when they get back here in January … that’s when the changing of the guard happens. The seniors are gone and then you kind of watch the chemistry of the team develops sometimes until August.

On how he feels his players will move on from SEC Championship loss

You have to move on. I thought we could have played better against maybe the best team in the country. That’s my disappointment. I’m responsible if they play well. After the game, I told the team I didn’t do a very good job … I think our guys our positive. They are winners and they’ve been tremendously successful this year. Now can you get to that next notch up there? Can you get to 11 wins? … That’s the responsibility thing. You want to help build tradition here? … well let’s win three [bowl games] in a row.