Undefeated Missouri focused on Aggies

Missouri defensive back Carl Gettis was asked to look ahead to

his team’s upcoming games, including next week’s matchup against

No. 6 Oklahoma and a trip to fifth-ranked Nebraska.

Hold it. Gettis said he and the No. 21 Tigers are too focused on

maintaining their perfect 5-0 record against the struggling Texas

A&M Aggies on Saturday to look past this week.

”When you are playing such a good team it makes it hard to look

to the next week,” he said. ”I can’t even tell you who we play

next week because Texas A&M is a good team. So it’s hard to

look past any of the teams we have coming up. Each team is good and

each week is going to be a big game.”

Such is life in the Big 12, where even a team reeling from

consecutive close losses and committing more turnovers this season

than all but one team in the Football Bowl Subdivision is cause for

concern.

The Tigers opened Big 12 play last week with a 26-0 win over

Colorado. Texas A&M lost to No. 12 Arkansas by a touchdown that

same day after starting conference play with a 38-35 loss to No. 20

Oklahoma State.

It is Missouri’s first road game after opening at a neutral site

before playing four straight at home. The Aggies are expecting more

than 80,000 at Kyle Field as the Tigers try to start 6-0 for just

the fifth time in school history.

”We have ways to prepare for games,” Missouri coach Gary

Pinkel said. ”It’s all about focus, preparation and distraction

control. It’s a tough place to play, but it’s about focusing and

playing your best. Can you zone out all that’s in that stadium and

focus on your job?”

Missouri got a scare against the Buffaloes when quarterback

Blaine Gabbert had to leave the game in the fourth quarter with a

hip pointer. He is better and Pinkel said he’ll start against Texas

A&M.

The Aggies are hoping their success in the second half against

Ryan Mallett and the Arkansas offense will carry over into this

week’s game. The Aggies have improved on defense in the first

season under coordinator Tim DeRuyter, but still expect Gabbert to

be a challenge.

”He’s athletic, long, probably a much better runner than we saw

last week,” DeRuyter said. ”He’s got a very good arm. He’s a

really good combination guy. With what they do scheme-wise they

really stretch you out.”

Pinkel has been impressed with the progress of A&M this

season after the Aggies gave up 426 yards a game last season. But

the biggest concern for the Tigers is trying to slow quarterback

Jerrod Johnson. The senior is eighth in the nation in yards passing

a game with more than 297 and ranks ninth in total offense with

almost 320 yards.

”A&M’s got a great offensive scheme,” Pinkel said.

”Johnson their quarterback (I) am very, very impressed with him

obviously … it will be a challenge for us and we understand that

but in this league that’s what you’re going to face each and every

week.”

About the only thing that has slowed Texas A&M’s offense

this season has been its inability to hold onto the ball. Johnson

has thrown 13 touchdown passes this season, but all nine of his

interceptions have come in the last three games to give A&M 18

turnovers in 2010.

Coach Mike Sherman hasn’t wavered on his commitment to

Johnson.

”He gives us a chance,” Sherman said. ”He’s not a selfish

quarterback. He could care less about his stats. He knows the game

plan. He studies it. He does everything I ask him to do. I have a

lot of trust in him.”

The Aggies have remained confident despite their two-game skid

because they think they would have won both of those games if not

for their turnovers. Johnson is encouraged that the team’s goal of

winning the Big 12 South is still within reach if they get on track

this week.

”We know going back into conference play we can win all our

games if we play good football,” he said. ”It’s not a situation

where we’re getting beat into the ground and not having success. I

think you lose confidence if you think you’re overmatched. We have

great players and a great system, we’re just making unfortunate

mistakes at unfortunate times.”