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Gov. Nixon fires up football team after last morning practice

Players say politician’s presence is a strong motivator.

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Governor Jay Nixon talks to the Missouri football team Saturday morning at the Missouri Athletics Training Complex. Nixon graduated from MU in 1978.

Brent Pearson/Senior Staff Photographer

Aug. 17, 2013

Saturday morning at training camp, Missouri football received a governor’s welcome.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, clad in an MU polo, watched from the sidelines and offered support for the team during the offensive players-only practice.

“As the season starts, it’s always great to see these young student-athletes representing the Show-Me state,” Nixon said. “Just always trying to show that six million Missourians stand behind our Tigers as we start the season.”

After practice, he gathered the team around for a motivational speech. Nixon said he talked to the players about attending class, knowing the history of the program and following leaders on the team.

“When you look in the eyes of these young folks, you realize what they have to give of their own time to be here,” Nixon said.

Sophomore wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham said it was important that Nixon showed up to practice.

“I mean, that’s big for us,” Green-Beckham said. “It got us really enthusiastic. Just having him come out here and see us practice is really going to set our tone for this year. It’s really going to have an effect on our first game.”

Nixon, a De Soto native, graduated from MU in 1978, returning later to earn his law degree.

During the 1978 season, Missouri defeated Notre Dame, 3-0, in South Bend, Ind., and later earned a victory over Louisiana State in the Liberty Bowl. The Tigers finishing No. 15 in the AP poll under first-year coach Warren Powers.

Nixon said he plans on attending as many home games as his schedule allows this year.

“It was obviously cool for him to come speak to us,” redshirt freshman quarterback Maty Mauk said. “He’s ready to see us put it on the field two weeks from today.”

Missouri’s first game is at home against Murray State on August 31 at 6 p.m.

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