Missouri could get Aldon Smith back for game vs. Oklahoma
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) -- No. 18 Missouri could get its top pass rusher back for this week's game against No. 3 Oklahoma.
Sophomore Aldon Smith said Monday he's ready to return from a broken bone in his leg that sidelined him for three weeks plus a week off.
"The leg is good to go," Smith said. "I'm ready to take down whoever is in front of me. I'm playing, there's no question about it. I feel like I'm 110 percent."
Smith said he's been cleared to play by the medical staff, but he remains off the depth chart for now. Coach Gary Pinkel said he'll wait to see how Smith does on the field in practice before making a decision.
"As soon as he's practicing full speed he'll be moved up to the starting position," Pinkel said. "I don't want to project, but certainly it's a possibility. His attitude has been great throughout this whole situation."
The 260-pound Smith thought he'd be back much sooner from the injury he suffered Sept. 18 against San Diego State. He had been optimistic he'd play in the Big 12 opener Oct. 9 against Colorado, and Monday said it was natural to want to hurry back to the lineup.
"I thought it was just a bruise at first and it happened to be a little more than that," Smith said. "I'm back now. I'll show them.
"There's nothing that would stop me from playing this weekend."
Missouri (6-0, 2-0 Big 12) leads the Big 12 North heading into Saturday night's game (7 p.m. kickoff, ABC-TV) against Oklahoma (6-0, 2-0), ranked No. 1 in the BCS and atop the Big 12 South.
Oklahoma has won 19 of the last 20 against Missouri, with the Tigers' lone victory in 1998. Pinkel has tried not to overemphasize the matchup, but Smith knows better.
"I don't think it's just another game," he said. "I think we'll attack it differently, putting a lot more focus and dedication to this game."
Smith was Big 12 freshman and newcomer of the year last season after setting a school record with 11.5 sacks, and has three sacks in three games this season. Sophomore Brad Madison, who had been Smith's backup, had three sacks last week in a 30-9 victory at Texas A&M and leads the Tigers with four sacks, fourth best in the conference.
Missouri's defense has been surprisingly stingy all season, allowing only 10.8 points per game for second-best in the nation. The Tigers sacked Jerrod Johnson on three consecutive plays at one point and totaled seven sacks.