Pinkel: Richardson's comments a 'mistake'

By now, most everyone living in SEC country knows about Sheldon Richardson’s boredom with Georgia football.

If not, here’s a bit of a refresher.

Following Missouri’s 62-10 win over Southeastern Louisiana, Missouri’s junior defensive tackle told the Columbia Tribune that he wasn’t much of a fan of Georgia’s play in the Bulldogs’ 45-23 win over Buffalo.

"I watched that game. I turned it off, too," Richardson said. "It's like watching Big Ten football. It's old-man football."

That’s a pretty bold statement to make right before the seventh-ranked Bulldogs come into your house.

Anyone who follows SEC football knows that to compare the league to the Big Ten is a major no-no – and Mizzou coach Gary Pinkel was not thrilled with Richardson’s comments about the Dawgs.

“First of all, what Sheldon did was wrong and irresponsible,” Pinkel said Wednesday. “That doesn’t happen around here. He got caught up in the moment, he made a mistake, we handled that internally. We don’t do that here at Missouri.”

Sure, what Richardson did was add some fire and bulletin board material to a game that Pinkel has already deemed “historic,” but maybe he’s just suffering from SEC fatigue. He and his teammates have heard since they were first told they’d be joining the SEC that they’d have matchup issues in their new conference.

Their offense can’t match up with the defenses. They’re too small and not used to real smash-mouth football. After a while, it probably gets to these guys.

But Pinkel has tried to warn them about the criticism. He said he’s been preaching to his team since January that it should prepare to hear a lot of negatives thrown its way about matching up with the size and speed of the SEC.

“We’re going into a great league with a very rich tradition in championships and winning and a league that has a lot of good football teams,” Pinkel said. “That’s why it’s the best league in the country.”

And in order to compete in the best league in the country, Pinkel has informed his players that they have to earn the SEC’s respect. They shouldn’t expect to walk into a new league with a lot of praise dumped on them.

“I have no problem doing that,” Pinkel said. “That’s the way I was brought up. That’s the way it should be. You have to earn respect, they’re not just going to hand it to you.”

The Tigers have a chance to earn a lot this weekend against Georgia.