July 24, 2007

Media day notes: Tigers on top?

SAN ANTONIO - Martin Rucker remembers it all-too well. Missouri exploded to a No. 17 national ranking and started 7-1 last season. Then the Tigers lost four of their final five, including a heartbreaker to Oregon State in the Sun Bowl. Rucker believes the Tigers lost their physical edge down the stretch. One or two players, he believes, could change that fortune for the North-favorite Tigers this time around.

"One or two guys," Rucker said. "One or two guys can influence it."

Gary Pinkel enters his seventh season determined that the high-octane Tigers, behind one of the nation's most potent offenses, will reach their potential only if they remain unselfish. But in their pair of star tight ends, Rucker, a 6-foot-6, 255-pound senior, and Chase Coffman, a 6-foot-6, 245-pound junior, the Tigers possess a one-two punch that could be tough to beat - and maintain a physical edge - with a senior Chase Daniel under center.

The Tigers averaged the eighth-most total yards (425.6) in the nation in 2006.

"It's pretty unique, what we have," Pinkel admitted Tuesday during the Big 12 Media Days in a ballroom at the Wyndham's St. Anthony Hotel. "I think we have the two best tight ends in the nation. That provides us with the ability to do a lot of different things."

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