COLUMBIA, Mo- On Tuesday, the University of Missouri’s Head Football Coach, Eli Drinkwitz addressed the press via zoom call.
This Saturday, Missouri will honor its seniors at home against the Arkansas Razorbacks. Though Missouri is technically still scheduled to play Georgia at home somewhere down the road, the University will hold its annual senior night this week in case the Georgia game gets taken off the schedule.
Coach Drinkwitz said that some seniors have elected not to walk on senior night because they’ve chosen to use their extra year of eligibility and return for the 2021 season. The seniors that don’t have that option will walk without their families on Saturday. He didn’t specify which players fall into either group.
Regarding last weekend’s bloodbath victory against the Vanderbilt Commodores, Coach Drinkwitz said he was very pleased with how his team played on both sides of the ball. The Tigers now have two wins in a row as they head into their rivalry week against Arkansas.
Coach Drinkwitz talked a lot about the rivalry that Missouri and Arkansas have been building over the last few years. He jokingly explained how ever since Missouri and Kansas have been in different conferences, all Mizzou fans did was put an Ar- in front of Kansas, and that’s how they picked their new rivals.
Coach Drinkwitz said he looks forward to continuing the new traditions, like lighting the dome of Jesse Hall for years to come. He continued to say that he wouldn’t mind seeing fans and students alike gather by the columns following a win on Saturday, once the threat of COVID-19 passes.
Drinkwitz stated that Arkansas Head Coach, Sam Pittman has been an excellent fit for their University. One of Pittman’s notable offseason moves was to hire Barry Odom, Missouri’s previous head coach, as Arkansas’ defensive coordinator. When asked about how he felt his team would feel playing against their old head coach, Drinkwitz responded, “There’s no hiding it... this is a players’ game.”
This is a mantra that was repeated by many of the players, too. QB Connor Bazelak said, “The way I look at it I’m not playing against him, I’m playing against the players,” and Lineman Case Cook echoed that idea, “I’ve got a huge amount of respect… but at the end of the we are playing against the players not the coaches.”
Coach Drinkwitz and his staff have had an extended period of time to watch film on the Razorbacks since they thought last week’s matchup would be against Arkansas. Drinkwitz said that the defense Odom runs at Arkansas is similar to what he ran when he was at Memphis, and is nothing like what defensive coordinator Ryan Walters is running at Missouri this year. It will be very interesting to see how Odom’s defense looks against Missouri.
According to Drinkwitz, Missouri will have 61 scholarship players available for this week. Tight end Daniel Parker is questionable to return from his injury, and a decision will be made on Thursday. Additionally, there have been zero team problems regarding COVID-19 since Thanksgiving break. As always, the team will continue to test throughout the week.
The Tigers have been bolstered by the return of several impact players from injury the last few weeks. The additions of Xavier Delgado and Larry Borom proved to be incredibly productive in the win over Vanderbilt. We’ll keep a close eye on Daniel Parker this week.
According to Martez Manuel, this game means a little more this year, “This is the first year it feels like a legit rivalry, we are all really excited for this game.” With this excitement, the Tigers will look to move two games above .500 this Saturday, and could increase their Battle Line Rivalry record to 6-1 and with a win over Arkansas.