Before he said a word about Central Michigan on Tuesday, Eli Drinkwitz took a moment to express his gratitude to the 13 soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice in Afghanistan just a couple of days ago. It was with a clearly heavy heart he then shifted focus to the Tigers Week 1 opponent.
Going into this game, Mizzou is not taking the Chippewas lightly, “Central Michigan is a really good football team in my opinion,” Drinkwitz said, “For us, it doesn’t matter who the opponent is or where it is. It’s about going 1-0 every week.”
He also was very complimentary of CMU, and former Florida Head Coach Jim McElwain calling him an “excellent coach” and citing his successful offenses at Florida that led the Gators to two SEC East titles.
One thing in particular that is unique to McElwain’s coaching at Central Michigan is their implementation of the wildcat, “The wildcat is not really a gimmick for them it’s a big part of their offense,” explained Drinkwitz, “It will be a real challenge for us to maintain discipline on the defensive back end.”
While Drinkwitz knows that Central Michigan can pose challenges, he wants to make sure his players aren’t riding on the coattails of a 2020 season in which they greatly overachieved, “What you did last year has nothing to do with what you do this year.”
In his eyes, there’s nothing more important than the next snap of the next game. “The only thing that matters is this play and focusing on executing this play,” he said, “We have 12 games on the schedule but the only one that matters this week is this one.”
Drinkwitz also mentioned CMU’s upset over Oklahoma State on a last-second Hail Mary a few years ago as a cautionary tale if you don’t control what you can control as he always says.
Outside of preparation for the game, other big news came in the form of injury updates. Jay Maclin was officially ruled out for Week 1, and Mookie Cooper is listed as “Questionable” according to Coach Drinkwitz. These two injuries allow Chance Luper, Fall Camp’s breakout star, to slide into the slot position with the first team.
Other notable inclusions on the three-deep depth chart included three freshmen, Mekhi Wingo, Arden Walker, and Connor Tollison.