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Pourover: Coping without Trust and Confidence in your offense

Mizzou had two weeks to reset, we heard a lot in those two weeks, and it all looked the same.

NCAA Football: Vanderbilt at Missouri Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

There’s a bit of a saying in these parts, as well as in a plethora of locker rooms, that’s “A win is a win is a win is a win”.

Mizzou won for the first time in three games and four weeks, and for a program that’s struggled to notch wins in recent years that feels like something we should celebrate, right? So then why does this not feel like a win?

Eli Drinkwitz talked about seeing some younger guys, specifically the one highly rated freshman quarterback many fans have been calling for. But even as the Tigers walked out of the locker room in the second half with a 17-0 lead, Sam Horn was still missing from action. As the running game continued to get stuffed, and Brady Cook got crushed by the Vanderbilt pass rush leading to a fumble and a touchdown, Drinkwitz still did not trust his true freshman phenom to see the field and take a shot.

But there’s the word of the day: Trust.

Look, maybe Eli Drinkwitz is way in over his head and he’s an awful coach. Maybe the program under his leadership is doomed. Those are bigger questions for another time, and I’m not really interested in having that discussion at this point in time. But here’s one thing I know, Drinkwitz doesn’t trust his offense. He doesn’t trust his offensive line, he doesn’t trust his quarterback, he doesn’t trust his skill players. Well, maybe he trusts Dominic Lovett and Luther Burden.

Drink clearly trusts the defense, but he hasn't trusted his offensive the entire season. Remember against Abilene Christian when he wouldn’t go for a 4th & 1 at mid field? Against an FCS team? On no planet should an SEC team hesitate in that situation, but Abilene Christian had 9 tackles for loss. So maybe he was right.

Yesterday, Vanderbilt had 11 tackles for loss. The 107th ranked defense carved up the Missouri offense. The offensive line has been so bad all season long that it’s the main reason I’m ok with Drinkwitz continuing on with Brady Cook. I don’t think Cook is the problem with the offense. I also don’t think he’s the answer to the problem. But I’m fine with Drink relying on Cook to captain this rudderless ship.

Maybe Horn is better; one can only hope. But one thing we haven’t really seen, regardless of who is behind center, is a commitment to experimentation or creativity. Which shows me how Drinkwitz is coping with his lack of confidence and his lack of trust in his offense to pick up needed yards.

I’ve said in previous weeks that Missouri is almost a good football team, and I still believe that. But you can’t get over that hump with the offensive line playing the way it’s played. You can’t get over the hump turning the ball over and giving bad teams free points. And you can’t get over the hump when you can’t get more than 100 yards of total offense in the second half, with a lead the entire time, against a defense ranked outside of the top 100.

Next up is South Carolina, who is coming off back-to-back conference wins. This looked like a possible winnable game before the season. But football is a funny sport, a team strings together a few wins and suddenly they’re believing. Mizzou has done the opposite. They’ve lost a bunch in a row, and even with the win over Vanderbilt you have to think the confidence is on shaky ground. Here’s one thing we know for sure, if Mizzou is to win in Columbia, SC, the defense is going to have to come up big.

vandy statbroadcast 2022
vandy statbroadcast 2022

Other SEC Scores:

  • Tennessee (3) 65, UT Martin 24
  • Alabama (6) 30, Mississippi State (24) 6
  • LSU 45, Ole Miss (7) 20
  • South Carolina 30, Texas A&M 24
  • Georgia (1) — bye
  • Kentucky (19) — bye
  • Arkansas — bye
  • Florida — bye
  • Auburn — bye