Tigers grind through the dog days

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These aren't called the dog days for nothing. As the Missouri Tigers grind through fall camp, temperatures have been in the triple digits for the better part of a week now. Busting it through daily two to three-hour football practices is far from easy.
"Yeah, you know, today was so humid and hot, it was tough to get going," senior lineman Tyler Luellen said. "But once you got going, everybody was there. I think everybody's getting to the point we're getting tired of hitting each other and we're ready to hit some new colors."
For the first week of camp, everything is new and enthusiasm is riding high. Once the team hits game week, there is a renewed sense of excitement. But in between, there are times it gets tough.
"When school starts, I think practices start wearing down a little bit because we practice in the afternoon," said senior captain Lorenzo Williams. "But these last couple days, up until we get to the second scrimmage, it's just tough, man."
Even the coaches will admit these may be the most challenging days of camp.
"No player, after 13, 14 practices, you wake up at 6, 5:45 in the morning, will say, 'Oh, boy, this is fun, let's go do it.' Nobody does," Gary Pinkel said. "But what you do is that's why you have good habits and that's why you go out. It really forces you to mature and it gets your mind right."
That responsibility falls on the captains and the more experienced players for Mizzou.
"We got the first year guys on the team that haven't experienced the level of play in the Big 12," said fellow captain Pig Brown. "So you know it's kind of on the captains shoulders to get them going and show them the ropes and just get ready for the first game."
Until game week, though, the Tigers have plenty of more hot, humid mid-Missouri weather to battle. Every camp is tough, but this one has been made more so by Mother Nature. A slight break is expected this weekend, when the temperatures are projected to drop below 90 degrees for the first time since practice began.
"I've been lucky. This is my fifth two-a-days and this may be the first hot one I've had," Luellen said. "For some reason, I've always been lucky and we've had overcast skies the whole time and it's been beautiful. It's really hot and humid out."
"I'm gonna tell you what, man," Williams said. "The first year I was here, the weather was almost this bad, but we were on the stadium. It was terrible down there. Up here, it's still hot. It's second on the list, and a close second too. It's been terrible the whole time."
Hot or cold, rain or shine, though, the season opener is just 17 days away. That leaves very little time for worrying about the weather.
"For us is everything is so competitive, every drill is so competitive, it's very difficult to come out here not focused," Pinkel said. "Because if you're not focused, you're going to embarrass yourself. The players like the competition and I think it makes better practices."
So, for the Tigers, the grind goes on. The Tigers will hold two practices on Thursday and one on Friday before that second scrimmage. The next scheduled day off is Monday, the first day of class for students at Mizzou.
This is just a sample of the type of coverage you will get every day throughout camp. Click here to start your free trial