Ex-Mizzou QB Daniel won’t listen to Pinkel critics

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Within minutes of Missouri’s disheartening
loss to Auburn last Saturday in the SEC title game, the criticism of
Missouri coach Gary Pinkel started pouring in on Twitter.
 
“That one’s all on Pinkel!” tweeted one fan.
 
“Pinkel will never win the big one. Gotta go!” another tweeter bemoaned.
 
But
Chiefs quarterback Chase Daniel, a former Missouri Tiger, will hear
none of it. And he’s simply bewildered by all the Pinkel haters out
there.
 
“It’s definitely unfair,” Daniel told
FOXSportsKansasCity.com. “The people on Twitter or on social media
really don’t know what they’re talking about. They haven’t lived it day
in and day out. They’re fans, and we appreciate them, but ….
 
“What
matters the most is the guys inside that locker room and the program
itself. And what (Pinkel) has done there speaks for itself. Look at
what’s he done, I mean, he went to seven or eight straight bowl games
before last year? He keeps raising the bar and keeps getting better.”
 
Missouri went to a school-record seven straight bowl games before being shut out from the postseason last season.
 
“I
think he’s a great coach,” Daniel said of Pinkel. “He’s done a heckuva
job since he’s been there, the 12 or 14 years he’s been there. He’s
grown it from the ground up, it’s his baby, and he takes great pride in
that.
 
“He wants national respect more than anything, and I think
he’s got that. And the program produces a lot of NFL players and keeps
getting first-round picks. You can’t say enough about that.”
 
Not
that Daniel wasn’t just as disappointed as any other Missouri fan after
Auburn’s stunning and unsettling offensive display in a 59-42 victory.
 
Daniel
and rest of the Chiefs arrived in Maryland for their Sunday game
against the Redskins in plenty of time last weekend for Daniel to catch
the entire SEC title game.
 
Daniel said he was crushed by the loss.
 
“I
was in the tank for our (Chiefs team) meetings that night,” he said.
“But it obviously felt better the next day when we won. But it was hard
that (Saturday) night.
 
“Still, this was one of the best teams in Missouri history. That’s a heckuva accomplishment.”
 
There
are certainly some striking similarities between this Missouri team and
Daniel’s 2007 team, which was one win away from a national title game.
But like this year’s Tigers, Daniel and the 2007 Tigers fell apart in
the second half of the conference title game, losing to Oklahoma, 38-17,
for the Big 12 conference championship.
 
“It hurts,” Daniel
said. “You’re so close and you work so hard, and you’re just a half away
or a quarter away, and then it all slips away. That’s what you go to
college for and play football — to get a chance to go to the title
game. It’s tough when you’re so close and you miss out on it.”
 
Also like the 2007 team, this year’s Tigers will wind up in the Cotton Bowl.
 
“There
are some similarities,” Daniel said. “We were disappointed (about not
being in the national title game), but we bounced back for the Cotton
Bowl and played really well. That was important to us.
 
“Like I
told our seniors at the time, you gotta finish out. You gotta set the
tone for next year. You don’t want to end your career with a loss. I’m
sure that’s the message for this team’s seniors.”
 
Daniel and the 2007 Tigers routed Arkansas, 38-7, in the Cotton Bowl.
 
“Hopefully, these guys go there and finish strong, too,” Daniel said.
 
You can follow Jeffrey Flanagan on Twitter @jflanagankc or email jeffreyflanagan6@gmail.com.