Coming off a tough victory on the road against Vanderbilt, Eli Drinkwitz spoke to the media for the as he shifts his attention to Georgia.
The number one story in and around the Missouri football program right now is who will be under center come Saturday, and no one, including Drinkwitz, knows. According to Drinkwitz, his starter Connor Bazelak may be ready come Saturday, but right now his coaching staff and medical team are still evaluating the Tigers’ QB1 situation.
Despite the fact that he’s preparing to face the No. 1 team in America, and is uncertain about if his starting quarterback will be ready, Drinkwitz still isn’t sweating it. “Well, we won’t know anything until we get through practice where Connor’s at so I’m not really adjusting anything,” he explained. “[Brady Cook and Tyler Macon] have both been getting reps and we had a plan that you saw unfold in front of you about how we would kind of orchestrate a game should something happen to Connor. That will stay in place. [I’m] Not stressed about it.”
In the event Bazelak is unable to go, Drinkwitz didn’t rule out seeing both Cook and Macon get time under center against the Bulldogs. “We’re going to play the best person that gives us a chance to win a game. So if we felt like multiple quarterbacks gave us the best chance to win a game, then we will do that. Up until this point, that hasn’t been the case,” Drinkwitz said.
The man who did get the snaps last week following Bazelak’s injury was true-freshman Tyler Macon, and Drinkwitz has acknowledged that Macon has shown immense growth in his time on campus. “You know, I think it’s been a growth process,” Drinkwitz said. “Obviously, I think when you come in as a true freshman, we’re really fortunate he came in in the spring so he had the time to see where he was lacking, struggle, fight through those struggles, and really work.”
No matter if it’s Bazelak, Cook, or Macon under center for the Tigers, they will have their hands full with this Georgia defense, so Drinkwitz wants to do his best to establish the run game in an attempt to nullify the lethal Bulldog pass rush. “If you look at the numbers, a lot of their sacks are three-man, four-man rushes, and that’s pretty impressive. Not a lot of people are able to do that,” Drinkwitz explained. “Really, the best way to slow down a pass rush is to run the football, so you’ve got to find ways to creatively and effectively run the football and see if we can do that.”
Trying to run the ball on this front seven is a tall task for anyone, but if there’s a person that’s up to the challenge, it’ll be Tyler Badie. Coming off a phenomenal performance that earned him SEC offensive player of the week, Drinkwitz announced that Badie had been promoted to full-time captain after Case Cook’s season-ending injury.
“With Case [Cook] being injured, he’s still a captain, but we wanted to elevate somebody else to that position on the field. Tyler, through his work ethic, leadership, and on-the-field play was well deserving of that obviously displayed in Saturday’s performance,” Drinkwitz said.
With his newly named captain leading the way, Drinkwitz is relishing this week’s opportunity to face the No. 1 team in the country. “I’m excited as crap, man. I love it,” he exclaimed. “I don’t want to live life in the shadows. [Let’s] Go out and see what we got. Take our best shot. Let the chips fall where they may. So, no, I’m not anxious about it at all. See you Saturday at noon.”