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Eli Drinkwitz is bringing energy to the Mizzou football program

Jim Sterk’s stated goal behind hiring Eli Drinkwitz was restoring the excitement for Mizzou football. Drinkwitz is off to a good start to follow through on that promise.

Appalachian State v South Carolina Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images

Offseasons like this are built for people like me to fall hook, line and sinker for a new head football coach. It’s easy to say and do all of the right things when there are no games to be played, no decisions to blow. New coaches rarely fall on their face in their first three months on the job.

But it’s hard not to be excited about what Eli Drinkwitz has brought to the table in his first month in Columbia. Most importantly, Drinkwitz’s staff appears to be impressing anyone who comes in contact with them.

That trend continued earlier this week when the new coaches met with the media for the first time. Both Dave Matter and Gabe DeArmond wrote takeaway pieces about their conversations with the assistants.

The quotes that stand out to me come not from the assistants, but rather what Matter had to say about the staff.

“At first blush, (Casey) Woods is one the most impressive coaches on this staff when it comes to making conversation. High energy, personable, driven. And he’s all about recruiting.”

“It’s easy to see why (Curtis) Luper comes with a strong reputation on the recruiting trail. He’s colorful, engaging, lots of personality.”

Matter has been doing this a long time. He doesn’t write praise about a new staff willy-nilly. From all indications, this is a staff full of energy and believes it can restore the excitement for Mizzou football that waned in the disappointment that surrounded the 2019 season.

As signing day comes and goes, that job becomes even more important. Drinkwitz aced the press conferences. He seems to have done an impressive job salvaging the 2020 recruiting class. He’s already off to a solid start for the 2021 class.

All of this is great. It builds momentum for a program that desperately needed it. But none of it matters if the team comes out and lays an egg next season.

The job isn’t done. In fact, it’s only just beginning.

We’re approximately one month away from the start of spring practice. This is when the real work begins. On paper, Mizzou shouldn’t be expected to compete for much in 2020. The Tigers will have to do exactly that in order to sustain the momentum the staff has built in its first few months on the job.