Big 12 notebook: Missouri fired up to play OU

BY JAKE TROTTER, Staff Writer, jtrotter@opubco.com Modified: July 28, 2010 at 8:26 am •  Published: July 27, 2010

Kansas may be Missouri's biggest rival and final regular-season game. But based on recent history, the Missouri players say they have circled Oct. 23, when OU comes to Columbia.

"It's a big game. It's our Homecoming game," said cornerback Kevin Rutland. "Since I've been here, we've never beaten them. So it's a big game for me, and our entire team. Losing to them in both championship games, it hurt. So we'll be ready for them."

Said running back Derrick Washington: "We're looking forward to that. The last time we played them in the Big 12 Championship, they put it on us.

"Believe it, that game is highlighted on our schedule. We're going to try and get after it."

Tech won't rotate QBs

Red Raider first-year coach Tommy Tuberville may have brought both his returning quarterbacks, Steven Sheffield and Taylor Potts, to media days. But don't count on Tuberville playing both Sheffield and Potts once the season beings.

"I think it's going to be a heck of a competition for the next few weeks,'' Tuberville said. ``I haven't been around two quarterbacks like this in a long time. They're both very, very good athletically, and they can get the job done. It's going to be tough. But we'll make a decision. We will not have rotating quarterbacks. I don't believe in having one guy go out one series and one the next. We won't do that."

The biggest loser

One of the goals of Missouri this offseason was to reduce the weight and body fat of its players.

"I think what kind of happened to us a little bit was that a lot of players going to the NFL the last few years were coming back leaner than what we had them," coach Gary Pinkel said. "We had all the statistics, and we had all the body fat and all the body composition evaluations. They just kind of felt, they lean them up a little bit more than what we did."

Among the players the Tigers training staff focused on was running back Derrick Washington, who weighs 215, down 10 pounds from last season. Washington, who also reduced his body fat by 8 percent, said the key was eating a lot of chicken breasts and Subway sandwiches.

"He's much quicker," Pinkel said. "It's all about quickness and movement. He's a lot quicker guy than he was this past year, and expect that to help him play at a higher level.''

Noble native likes new Tech coach

Texas Tech defensive tackle Colby Whitlock, the pride of Noble, was a Mike Leach fan. But he's a Tommy Tuberville fan, too.

"It's a great change," Whitlock said of Tech's coaching change. "With everything that went down, it was unfortunate the way it did, but Tech made the best hire possible."

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