The Carolina Panthers have hired Missouri defensive coordinator Steve Wilks as defensive pass game coordinator/secondary coach.— Dave Matter (@Dave_Matter) February 9, 2022
Mizzou will have a third different DC under Eli Drinkwitz in 2022.
If you’re Steve Wilks, this opportunity freaking rocks. He won’t have to recruit, he’ll probably have a similar salary, he’ll back in his home state, and he’ll a chance to possibly try and work his way back up the NFL ladder. The college fit was a clunky one in his one season, but there was some optimism after the defense turned a corner late in the year after they appeared to be fully bought into - and finally understand - the scheme and the message of Wilks.
At a place like Missouri, continuity is something that you hope for not in just your players but in your coaching staff as well and now Coach Eli Drinkwitz is going to need to replace another defensive coordinator— his third in three years. This isn’t something that is an indictment on Drinkwitz but the need to find a coordinator who is experienced enough and willing to stay for longer than nine months is pivotal.
We’re roughly a month away from spring practice, so expect some of the possible internal candidates candidates to get a long look. Missouri’s new safeties coach Blake Baker has a few years of experience coordinating a defense at Miami (2019-2020) and Louisiana Tech (2015-2018). Perhaps Missouri goes the route of promoting their linebackers coach, DJ Smith to his first opportunity as a DC. Smith has been their recruiting coordinator, and has been with Drinkwitz dating back to their time at Appalachian State. Or maybe Drink goes out and hires someone from the list Nate Edwards compiled during last year’s rocky defensive start. Who knows.
The departure is a tough one for Missouri to absorb at this point in the offseason, and the corresponding hire is going to be that much more important for Missouri to try and have some success next season.
Follow @RockMNation for more updates on any possible movements!