There was a host of Mizzou football players in the house for a memorable edition of Tiger Talk this past Monday night. Shane Ray, Randy Ponder, Brayden Burnett and Max Copeland were all a part of the festivities with Head Coach Gary Pinkel.
The Voice of the Tigers Mike Kelly started off by talking about the incredible fan presence that Mizzou has enjoyed on its away games so far. Those fans were treated to victories every time as Mizzou went 5-0 on the road for the first time since 1978.
“That’s pretty good,” Pinkel said with a chuckle. “I wish I could do that all the time.”
The first set of players to talk were Ray and Ponder. Kelly asked Ray first why he chose Mizzou.
“It was the family atmosphere,” Ray said. “When I was a recruit, I came to a basketball game and Jeremy Maclin was here and Sean Weatherspoon was here, and I was able to talk to those guys. And I asked them, ‘What made you guys make your decision?’ The first thing they said was the family atmosphere. ‘You’re going to be taken care of. People are going to look after you, and we’re all brothers here.’”
Kelly asked Ponder if he’d heard about the family atmosphere from the players first. “Yeah it was players,” Ponder replied.
Next up was Burnett and Copeland. Kelly pointed that Burnett didn’t always have a beard. That’s when he revealed that growing it had been somewhat of a contest with his friend Andrew Wilson.
“Andrew and I came together and said ‘You know this is our senior year, we’re probably going to have jobs after this—I hope—and we’ll both have to be clean cut and shaven the rest of our lives,” Burnett said. “We decided we were going to make a little bet and see who could go the longest. Unfortunately, Andrew with his red hair, he couldn’t grow a beard so he decided that he was going to grow his hair out, and I was going to grow my beard out and see who could go the longest without cutting it.”
Then it was Copeland’s turn to talk and he touched on some of the things he’ll take from his Mizzou experience.
“We feel really blessed,” Copeland said. “Along the way, five years of being in this program and growing together as a class and as a team. We’ve had a lot of good experiences, and we feel very blessed to be a part of this.”
During the part of the show where one player reveals something about the other player that people might not know, Ray was hit hard when Ponder actually accused him of being from Kansas. In a bold and daring move of defense, Ray proudly dropped his address and indicated to anyone who would look it up that his home is indeed in Kansas City, Missouri.
Ray fired back, though, and said that Ponder has a nickname on the team, “Thick Ponder,” because he’s one of the heavier defensive backs.
Copeland went first in busting out Burnett when they were at the mic. He talked about how Burnett puts up a towel in between their lockers to dampen the smell that supposedly comes from Copeland’s locker.
Burnett mentioned that Copeland is actually a lot more friendly than he appears. He said that Copeland’s look is intimidating, but that he is actually a very kind-hearted individual.
Pinkel finished up the program talking about how important Senior Day is, and that he would be speaking with the team about it. The final game of Mizzou’s regular season will be Saturday at The ZOU as the Tigers take on Texas A&M. Kickoff time is set for 6:45 p.m. CST, and the game will be televised nationally on ESPN.