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Drinkwitz talks Kentucky as Tigers prep for Lexington

Ahead of his first true road test against Kentucky, Mizzou’s Eli Drinkwitz knows just how hard it will be to win in Lexington

NCAA Football: Central Michigan at Missouri Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

On Tuesday, Missouri Head Coach Eli Drinkwitz spoke with the media to discuss his team’s upcoming game against the Kentucky Wildcats. However, before he said a word about Kentucky he made it very clear that his team needs to improve a lot from week one, “I reviewed the game film from week 1 and we are really fortunate to be 1-0.”

With that in mind, he then shifted his focus to the tall task ahead that the Tigers have in Lexington.

“We have our hands full, offensively the quarterback is really the straw that stirs the drink,” said Drinkwitz, “They’re humming on all cylinders.”

While Drinkwitz heaped praise on Will Levis after his dominant Week 1 performance, he knows that Mark Stoops’ program was built on defense and they have plenty of experience. “They’re always fundamentally sound, they don’t beat themselves,” explain the Tiger Head Coach, “The only guys that aren’t there from last year, are the guys that got drafted.”

If the Tigers are going to beat a talented Kentucky team for the second year running, Drinkwitz thinks tackling is the biggest thing that needs improvement, “There’s a lot of red flags. I think it starts with tackling. Our tackling was very poor.” As far as the other red flags go, he pointed to third down execution.

“On 3rd downs, we have to throw completions,” he said, “that’s me, that’s [Connor Bazelak], that’s everybody.” However, Drinkwitz added that getting to third and manageable will make it easier on both him and his QB. “We had too many negative plays,” he explained, “I think for all of us it’s a concerted effort to eliminate negative plays that put us in 3rd and long.”

If the Tigers are going to get into more manageable third downs, the person they will rely most on will definitely be Tyler Badie. An exhausted Badie told the media he was definitely “tired”, after a career-high workload last week. However, it seems like he should be prepared to carry the Tigers on his back once again this week. “It takes what it takes. If [Badie] wants to be the guy that’s what it takes. Last year, our guy against Kentucky took 34,” said Drinkwitz.