VIDEO: Gary Pinkel explains the history of Missouri’s rugby-style punting strategy

Missouri's alternative style of punting—which has had success this season with Matt Grabner (pictured) and Trey Barrow—was first implemented in 2008. (Photo by JJ Stankevitz)

“It looked ridiculous to me.”

That’s what Gary Pinkel said was his assessment when he first looked at a rugby-style punting strategy to possibly implement at Missouri.

The idea of having three players protecting a punter with four-foot splits in the blocking at the line of scrimmage seemed ludicrous when punter coach Andy Hill brought the formation to Pinkel’s attention prior to the 2008 season.

“It didn’t make any sense.”

But as Pinkel looked at the formation more, he became intrigued with it. Eventually, he and his coaching staff decided to begin to use the formation with Jake Harry in 2008.

Not coincidentally, Mizzou vaulted from No. 117 (out of 119) in the nation in average yards per punt in 2007 to No. 40 in 2008, an increase of nearly six yards per punt. In 2009, Mizzou ranked No. 34 in the nation in average yards per punt, and through five games in 2010, the Tigers sit at No. 33 in that category.

Pinkel discussed the history of Mizzou’s punting formation in detail at his press conference Monday:

For more from Pinkel and punter Matt Grabner on Mizzou’s punting formation—and its success—stay tuned to KBIA Sports Extra leading up to Saturday’s game against Texas A&M.

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