“Moving beyond your comfort zone – that’s how you achieve things.”


Criticism is not something a lot of people enjoy. However, receiving criticism is necessary for anyone who wants to be productive and go anywhere in life. This also requires accepting unfair criticism. Mizzou Football’s best can handle hardcore criticism, be it constructive or unfair, because in the end, it’s all about fixing the mistake.

This requires sacrifice of comfort, and sometimes you must take the blame for something you did not do to fix the problem. That is a true act of unselfishness, but know you will not have to suffer it for nothing. The rewards will pay off in your success. If a mistake is made, a player acknowledges this and does everything in his power to make sure it does not happen again.  When no one accepts the criticism, everyone loses. Moreover, when you fight a coach’s criticism, you are fighting against your own potential.

With all that said, you should not be afraid to fail either. A superstar is never afraid of failure. For all exceptional players, when they notice they see a shortcoming, they also find a way to succeed. Fear brings hesitation, and hesitation will allow a potentially successful moment to pass you by in the blink of an eye. Don’t let this happen to you. Maintain your composure. Even in a crisis, you must stay cool, look to correct, and try to calm down other players. Whatever the case, do not prioritize comfort over quality.

One would be hard-pressed to argue that Mizzou’s football season this past year wasn’t one for the ages. And the latest edition of Mizzou ROARs certainly reflected that, as the football team took home several prestigious awards.

Henry Josey won Highlight of the Year with his first touchdown against Murray State, completing his inspiring comeback from a serious knee injury.

Defensive end Michael Sam, who led the defense with 11.5 sacks (including one to seal an Cotton Bowl victory for Mizzou), was voted Male Athlete of the Year. Sam was the first unanimous All-American under Coach Pinkel, and he also won SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors.

Wide receiver L’Damian Washington received the Courage award for overcoming some extremely tough obstacles during the course of his life.

Mizzou’s success on the field this past season certainly justified the awards they received, as the team climbed to the top of the SEC ranks en route to a 12-win season in only their second season in the conference — a feat most pegged improbable, if not impossible. And Mizzou capped off this spectacular season with a thrilling Cotton Bowl win.

ROARS was a brilliant success for Mizzou’s football team, a night surely enjoyed by all.

This week on ZOU Unit, host Evan Boehm sat down with four of Mizzou’s newest players: Brandon Lee, Logan Cheadle, Kenya Dennis and Marvin Zanders.

Lee hails from Lawrence Central High School in Indianapolis, Ind. He wants to go to medical school upon graduation, so he chose Mizzou for its outstanding academics, first and foremost. Mizzou’s first-rate coaching staff and their knack for producing NFL talent also factored heavily into the linebacker’s decision.

Zanders, a.k.a. Dr. Lee (see Drumline), is from Raines High School in Jacksonville, Fla. The coaches are what originally drew the quarterback to Mizzou, and once he arrived on campus for his official visit, he fell in love with the environment and family atmosphere.

Dennis is from Leyland, Miss. After graduating from Leyland High School, he attended Hinds Community College in Jackson, Miss. for three semesters. The cornerback developed a strong relationship with Coach Cornell Ford during the recruiting process, and once he experienced the brotherhood of the Mizzou Football Family, he knew Mizzou was the place for him.

Cheadle played his high school ball at Boehm’s alma mater, Lee’s Summit West in Kansas City, Mo. He watched Boehm win a state championship during his freshman season, and then made the Mizzou center proud by taking home a state title of his own as a senior. The cornerback grew up a Tigers fan, so as he put it, Mizzou has been home to him from the get-go.

Fun fact: Cheadle is the cousin of award-winning actor and producer Don Cheadle, who starred in Crash, Iron Man 2 and 3, and numerous other blockbuster hits.

After Boehm gathered a solid foundation on the new guys, he prodded into more pressing matters. First off, he asked Lee why he always wears a hat. As it turns out, the Indianapolis native is a hat collector, and has one to match just about every outfit he wears.

On the topic of fashion, Cheadle questioned Zanders about the capris that the quarterback supposedly rocks around campus. Rumor has it, he’s in the process of kilt shopping online to make his next fashion statement. Zanders denies any such rumors.

After Dr. Lee finished talking about the “Florida swag” that his style encompasses, the conversation switched to academics, and Boehm asked the newcomers about the hardest class on their schedule.

Cheadle and Zanders both mentioned English 1000, saying the biggest difference from high school to college is the amount of weight that the tests carry. Unlike high school, where homework can save you, exams tend to determine the majority of your grade in college, especially in freshman-level courses.

To round out their chat, Boehm asked each of his teammates to give one bit of advice to incoming Tigers.

“If you’re from Florida, just bring anything warm,” Zanders said. “I went to class my first day, and I swear I had frostbite.”

“Be in shape,” Dennis said, as he reminisced about the infamous Mat Drills.

“Drop your ego,” Cheadle said. “It’s really a humbling experience coming in here. Just come in hungry and ready to learn. If you come in with the attitude that you’re bigger than the team, the coaches will knock you down. Once you get to college, none of the stars, honors, or awards matter. Be ready to work.

“Drop the ego, and be willing to learn as much as you can,” Lee said, building off Cheadle’s advice. “They don’t tolerate ego here. You’re not the man here like you were in high school. Try and keep a positive attitude and be ready to work for the team.”

“Three rules to live by: Cherish yesterday. Dream tomorrow. Live today!”

To have a proper attitude, you must first develop a habit of positive thinking. However, no one is just born a positive thinker. It is something that comes with time and self-teaching.

For an athlete, most failures come through the development of a faulty mental attitude than anything else. Through your attitude, you will learn to take action. Through those actions, you will develop character. Mizzou Tiger football does not make any exception for a faulty character. If you have one, it is something you must fix immediately. This must first take place in the mind.

The foundation for the proper attitude consists of developing the habit of thinking positive thoughts, even in negative scenarios. You must be the change needed to make an impact on a seemingly impossible situation. If you tell yourself constantly that you can do something, you will be able to. If you tell yourself constantly that you can’t do something, you won’t be able to. You have to want to be able to achieve a positive mindset. A desire to win and a desire to prepare to win are important ingredients of a winning attitude. Before you can take any steps up the ladder of athletic greatness, you must first learn to control yourself from within to perform on the outside.

Be you own master. Control your emotions.

If you can do this, you will become a player with an exceptionally coachable attitude. This is what the coaches want most. This is what the team needs most. If you can welcome criticism, constantly seek to learn, and avoid criticizing your coaches and other teammates, you will develop the way you want to.

In the end, the winning attitude plays a huge role in team success. It is contagious and puts the good of the team ahead of everything else. Whether it is on or off the field, nothing matters more. In all your future endeavors, an exceptional attitude is what is needed of you to succeed.

Mizzou has always had a long and storied tradition of acquiring and fostering top football talent. The team’s commitment to excellence in this area is unquestioned. That’s why each year, just before the annual Black and Gold spring game, hundreds of former players are welcomed back to The ZOU via the Mizzou Football Alumni Reunion, an event designed to are honor and recognize some of the biggest and brightest True Sons of Mizzou for their contributions and sacrifices to the program.

Like any reunion, this year’s edition proved to be a nostalgic one.

“You kind of just see guys, and you pick up where you left off,” says Brad Madison, a former defensive lineman for Mizzou. “That’s one of the nice things about playing football: You have such a special bond, and you’re away for so long that you just pick up right where you left off when you see them.”

Players also feel privileged and proud to meet former players who played the same positions that they did and form with them some of those same bonds that they share with their fellow teammates.

“With tradition comes responsibility, and so it’s really cool to meet some of the guys that have worn your number many years before you,” says Justin Britt, a Mizzou Made offensive lineman. “Then you kind of step into their shoes and see how they feel.”

Players were appreciative of the coaching staff and athletic department for sponsoring the event and said the reason that they are able to reminisce with each other about their playing days as if they were still in them is due to the fact that they get to see each other each year via this event.

“We don’t miss a beat,” said former offensive lineman Craig Heimburger. “We don’t get all excited to see each other like we haven’t seen each other in 10 years or whatnot because we get to see each other once a year.”

It was evident that the players enjoyed themselves catching up with old friends and making new ones as they prepared to continue on their journey of preparation for the 2014 football season.

We’ve all seen Coach Pinkel dance.

After Mizzou’s 41-31 victory over Oklahoma State in the Cotton Bowl, GP broke out the Pinkel Dance, and in the four months since, it has taken Mizzou Nation by storm.

Often imitated, but never duplicated, fans young and old have taken a stab at Coach’s signature move. Some have stuck to the fundamentals, while others have added their own spin to it. Even Truman got in on the fun.

Check out the video above to see moms, dads, students, and children break it down. Spoiler alert: the break dancing kids steal the show.

Take notes, Coach.

Hours before the annual Black and Gold Football Game on Saturday, the Mizzou Football program held a clinic with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Missouri to give young fans a chance to get to know their football heroes on a more familiar basis.

Kids gathered at The ZOU to run drills and play games with the players and meet Truman. Defensive lineman Markus Golden said the event was a success because it helped kids in the community.

“That’s what it’s about: Coming out here and helping the kids and making their day better,” he said after Saturday’s event. “I felt like a lot of the kids got better today, and we just want to keep the kids in shape while they’re young.”

Markus’s biological little brother, Gerrelle Golden, participated in the camp and said he should be named MVP of the day.

Linebacker Denzel Martin agreed that the kids improved over the course of the clinic and said he saw a lot of competition out of them as they ran, threw and caught footballs.

For the kids who attended the camp, meeting the players was just as good as the skills they learned.

“My favorite part about today was that I got to do football stuff today and hang out with the football players,” Katie Bush, a participant said, Gerrelle agreed that he enjoyed hanging out with the players.

Wide receiver Bud Sasser helped organize and lead the event and said he considered it a success.

“I feel like everyone came out here with a plan to get better, have fun, just compete and just try to do their best to win,” Sasser said.

Mizzou’s annual Black and Gold Game brought with it an air of springtime sunshine and warm, invigorating air. The perfect weather might have been the reason Mizzou’s play at The ZOU was hotter than the temperature inside the historic stadium.

Sophomore quarterback Maty Mauk kicked things off with a perfectly zipped back-shoulder seam route to senior wide out Gavin Otte, before an encore seam to fellow senior receiver Darius White. Senior tailback Marcus Murphy then gashed the Tigers’ defense for a generous gain up the left sideline in the second quarter. Later on in the second, Mauk scored the first touchdown of the game for the first teamers just before halftime on a third and six quarterback keeper.

A scoring drought that lasted nearly a whole half was broken when redshirt freshman Trent Hosick dropped back into the pocket, and with one foot in the back of the end zone, rocketed a pass down the left sideline to a wide open Aaron Bailey, another redshirt freshman, who then sprinted to the house to give the black team a 20-14 lead. True freshman Marvin Zanders and the rest of the gold squad would not be denied, however.

The speedy true freshman answered immediately with a long scoring run off of a quarterback bootleg in which he rolled left and sprinted back toward the right hash marks seeking daylight, which he of course found. With less than a minute left, this ended up being the knockout punch for Mizzou’s second unit, as they edged out the first unit by a score of 21-14 (albeit the second group was spotted 14 points to start the game).

When all was said and done though, folks who decided to spend this glorious sunny Saturday at the Zou were rewarded with a stellar showing from the entire Mizzou roster and got a glimpse of the success that is sure to find them on the field this fall.

ZOU Unit is your source for the inside scoop on Mizzou Football. Each week, host Evan Boehm will give you a behind-the-scenes look at a different aspect of the football program, from facility tours to exclusive interviews.

This week, we get to see how Mizzou Football celebrates Easter: with an epic Easter egg hunt inside the press box at The ZOU.

The Mizzou family split into three teams to search for a total of 12 plastic football eggs filled with Reese’s eggs. Boehm paired up with offensive lineman Mitch Morse, wide receivers Bud Sasser and Levi Copelin matched up, and quarterback Maty Mauk and wide receiver Darius White made the third team.

As they searched for eggs, the team also found slips of paper with fun-facts about Mizzou Football, like this one:

“Mizzou Football has a 97% graduation rate and the No. 1 academic progress rate in the SEC.”

After searching high and low throughout the press box, the ZOU Unit reconvened to count their eggs. Boehm and Morse found two eggs, Sasser and Copelin had three, and Mauk and White found seven although they accused Sasser and Copelin of stealing their eighth.

While enjoying their prize of Reese’s eggs, the team talked about their favorite types of candy. Boehm and White said Reese’s is their all-time favorite and Mauk added that he also likes Snickers. Sasser said his favorite is Hershey’s Cookies’ n’ Cream, and Copelin said he prefers the classic Hershey’s Milk Chocolate. Morse agreed with just about everyone, but eventually settled on Rolo’s as his favorite.

Head Coach Gary Pinkel will be making a trip to Jefferson City, Mo. one week from today onboard the Mizzou Caravan.

On Wed., April 23, MU alumni, fans and friends will be able to meet with Coach Pinkel, Head Men’s Basketball Coach Frank Haith, Director of Athletics Mike Alden, Head Wrestling Coach Brian Smith and Head Women’s Basketball Coach Robin Pingeton in the State Capital.

Mizzou Athletics will host a “Tiger Talk” program that evening at the Truman Hotel (1510 Jefferson Street) in Jefferson City. A reception will begin at 6 p.m., where Tiger fans will have the opportunity to chat with the coaches and players prior to the 7 p.m. formal speaking program.

Fans will also have the ability to get autographs and photos with Pinkel and Co., in addition to getting photos taken with the AT&T Cotton Bowl trophy and other championship trophies. Fans can even try on official Mizzou team-issued gear to feel what it’s like to play for the Tigers!

Admission to the Jefferson City Caravan event is free for TSF members, and guests may become annual members of the Tiger Scholarship Fund for only $50 for a family. Additionally, Mizzou fans can pick up 2014 Tiger football ticket information at the event.

Reservations are requested due to space considerations. For reservations, please contact the TSF office at 573-882-0704 or by e-mail at tsfevents@missouri.edu.