“One more play, one more play,” said Mizzou Head Coach Eli Drinkwitz on many an occasion during his weekly press conference today.
That message was in response to how close his team came to somehow tying the game late in the fourth quarter in Lexington when the Tigers were down 7. “I think the huge positive is as poorly as we played we had a chance to win the game. That’s a tribute to our team's fight,” Drinkwitz explained. “For us, as players and coaches, we have to focus on winning the game, and we had an opportunity. We just have to find a way to make one more play.”
While he was proud of the way the Tigers battled, he knows that there is still a lot of improvement that can be made, especially for a run defense that surrendered 340 yards as Mizzou did on Saturday. “It’s all levels, it’s tackling, it’s bad eyes, it’s gap integrity, it's beating the man across from you. There’s a lot of factors that have to be cleaned up and fixed.”
However, despite the lackluster performance, the Mizzou Head Coach still believes his guys are going to right the ship very soon. “You can’t grow weary while doing good. We are going to see the result; we are going to see the harvest,” Drinkwitz said. “Saturday was only a setback.”
As for what he’s expecting from his team to do after this performance, Drinkwitz says there’s a new intensity at practice to translate to the games on Saturday.
“Nobody has stepped up at practice to prove they should get the opportunity to play on Saturday,” he said. “It’s like I tell them, if you don’t like your role then practice better. We would love to not be giving up 340 yards rushing.”
While the Tiger run defense might be struggling, one part of the team that definitely isn’t is the Tiger rush attack. Tyler Badie currently leads the NCAA in yards from scrimmage, and when asked if there were any plans to maybe save Badie’s legs, Drinkwitz didn’t seem too worried about his bellhorse’s availability.
“We are trying to be 1-0, so we are trying to win this week. I don’t worry about anything else,” he explained. “On the road against an SEC opponent, you have to ride your horses. Coach Petrino at Arkansas always said FTS, Feed the Studs.”
It sounds like Drinkwitz might continue to feed his studs this week against what many view as an inferior opponent in Southeast Missouri. He made it very clear that he knows that in just two weeks 7 FCS teams have beaten FBS schools already this year, and the Tigers could be 8th if they don’t take the Redhawks seriously. In an effort to make sure all his players know, Drinkwitz had a list of all those results pasted on each of his player’s individual lockers.