What started as yet another “Potential Coach Preview,” has now graduated to the big leagues, y’all. Welcome to the one, the only, “No-Longer-Potential Coach Preview!”
The news broke less than an hour ago that Missouri has agreed on contract terms with Drinkwitz. After the chaos of the past week, the news was greeted with welcome relief. At least it was by us!
Eliah Drinkwitz is a name that most hardcore college football fans will know but might not be as recognizable as, say, a Chip Lindsey or Will Healy or Lane Kiffin. Coach Drink worked with Gus Malzahn in the high school ranks and at Auburn when they won the National Championship. He then followed Malzahn to Arkansas State, became co-offensive coordinator once Malzahn left, and then headed west and hung out with our friend Bryan Harsin for two years, coordinating the offense for a year.
He then headed back east, taking his prized quarterback Ryan Finley with him, to work with Dave Doeren at North Carolina State. With the Wolfpack, Coach Drink crafted some super interesting offenses, utilizing the do-it-all running back/wide receiver/tight end Jaylen Samuels to deadly efficiency.
Drinkwitz hasn’t been around long, but he’s demonstrated an offensive creativity via Malzahn and good tactical acumen from Harsin. It hasn’t always reflected on the field, mind you, but the resume is there.
He assumed the head coaching position at Appalachian State once program architect Scott Satterfield left for Louisville. App is one of the top three G5 programs out there and Drinkwitz simply had to not eff it up to get good results. And he did just that: with a senior-heavy roster, he only lost one game en route to a Sun Belt Championship, and collected a few P5 pelts along the way via North & South Carolina. It’s kind of tough to extrapolate what he will be like as a head coach after just one year of guiding an excellent, experienced team, but we’ll try anyway, won’t we?
As a coordinator, Drink’s offenses have been unique but not always prolific. In the past, he’s utilized a few players and used them as bell cows to run the offense. He really likes to run the ball (consistently coaching Top 50 rushing offenses) while utilizing the passing game as more of a supplement. Again... there’s a lot of variance here, with 100th as his worst and 15th as his best. What that means for Missouri is unknown, but he and his OC will probably make sure to utilize Missouri’s best weapons the most... something that didn’t always happen this past year.
Fine? His best class was when he was OC at NC State and that was 26th. All the others rank 50th or worse. Now, every recruiting class he’s been responsible for has outperformed their recruiting projections, so you have to believe he’s used to utilizing teams that are out-gunned compared to their peers. At App State they’re used to pulling in classes in the 90’s-100s and cranking out 10-win teams. If Drink can maximize the development of talent like his staffs have done at previous stops, he’ll be well suited for life as a Missouri coach.
Typically his teams fell in the 40s as an OC at Boise and NC State, but he moved into the Top 25 this year at App. I must stress: It’s tough to tell how he’ll maximize a team since he walked into the perfect situation and did what was expected of him. He hasn’t had to do much program-building, but the teams he’s a part of typically do well. Take that for what it’s worth.
The record looks pretty good when your one season is a one loss team. SP+ hasn’t been updated, so I can’t accurately tell you how he did against that ranking. It’s safe to say, though, it was a typical, feisty Sun Belt Schedule with a few P5s thrown in. You all will love the record, mind you, but ONCE AGAIN we’re playing with the ultimate small sample size here. Even looking at the numbers, its hard to tell what we’ll get.
It can work! It might not! It’s really hard to tell! He’ll probably bring Ted Roof with him who has been an excellent defensive coordinator but is a little past his prime. He’ll have to hire an OC (he was his own OC this year), and that hire will determine a lot of what he wants to do here. He’s young, he’s in demand, and he
seemingly has the job.
I think, given the drama of the past week, we should all be happy about this one.