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Story ran on October 23, 1994

Larry Smith emerged from the door connecting the MU locker room and the
interview area, his eyes raging, his face steaming. You could almost feel the
heat coming off of him.

Incensed over the feeble manner in which his team finished a 42-7 loss against
Nebraska, Missouri's first-year coach had herded his players into the locker
room and then delivered a scathing review of their late-game performance.

Many reporters sitting in the adjacent room, which was completely sealed from
the locker room by a wall and a metal door, could clearly make out Smith's
ear-tingling rebuke.

Chris Gervino, who conducts the radio portion of Smith's postgame interview
for the Tiger Network, was the accidental soul whose initial question ran
smack Smith's four-alarm fury.

``It wasn't a pretty sight, it wasn't a pretty sight at all,'' Smith barked,
referring to the locker room tirade. ``I'm angry and I'm disappointed, and
they had better be angry and disappointed, too. Those last few touchdowns
didn't need to be scored.''

Perhaps realizing he was addressing reporters and a statewide radio audience,
Smith's voice then downshifted.

``The first half our defense played very, very well; they gave a great account
for themselves,'' Smith said. ``Offensively we moved the ball and controlled
the ball, but we didn't score points, and that's what you're on the field
for.''

By the fourth quarter, it was difficult to recognize exactly who that was on
the field, Surely it wasn't the same Missouri team that had contended so well
with Nebraska's burly offensive line and controlled the inside running game.

Trailing 21-0 and not quite out contention, the late-game Tigers didn't change
personnel or schemes but they did change faces. They surrendered three
touchdowns in the final 17 minutes, two on long touchdown passes to a team
that has one the five lowest-ranked passing offenses in NCAA Division I-A.

``I'm real irked,'' Smith said. ``I'm really angry that we let ourselves get
in that position because there is no sense. Because when you have a whole
quarter of play, anything can happen.

``It's definitely something to be turned around, but we can't play like we did
in the third and fourth quarter. We've got to get that out of our system.

``We need 11 guys on the field who will play their butts off.''

Smith's message appeared to have caught several players' attention, like a
collective thump on the nose.

``It was pretty intense,'' freshman tailback Brock Olivo said. ``He summed it
by saying we didn't give it our all.''

Said senior safety Andre White: ``He was angry. The first half we were in the
game. The second half we basically stunk.''

And Smith said he wanted to ensure that his players didn't allow that
late-game letdown and the feeling of losing to become the least bit
comfortable. Once such poison begins seeping into the water system, it's
difficult to filter out.

``I don't like losing, I hate losing, I despise losing,'' Smith said. ``I'm
not going to get used to losing, and I'm not going to let them get used to
losing.''

Smith was not prepared to discuss individual player letdowns. For public
consumption, the Tigers win as a team and they lose as a team, Smith said.

But internally, Smith hinted that more personnel changes could come. He
rearranged several players and their positions after the second game and has
made subsequent adjustment when he deems one player is working and producing
harder than another. No veteran is immune.

Smith said he planned to watch video of the game today, as he does every
Sunday, with one eye out for players who hung in there and those who didn't.

His comments sounded as if he sensed that some of his players were accepting
the letdown. At least until he raised his voice.

``I want to make sure ... they weren't'' accepting the letdown and losing,
Smith said. ``I want to make damn sure, because if they were, they better not
come back.''
By SCOTT CAIN


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