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Drinkwitz tones it down at SEC Media Days

Mizzou Links for July 19, 2022.

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Mizzou has quiet Media Day capped by “good” news about Sam Horn

Eli Drinkwitz has always chosen swagger over stoicism, especially at SEC Media Days. It’s safe to say his teams’ play on the field hasn’t always lent that swagger with a lot of credibility. So for his third official visit to the SECMD, Drinkwitz is taking a different tact.

As Dave Matter writes in the Post Dispatch, a more “subdued, dialed-down” version of Mizzou’s head coach was on display.

He told me that he’s backing off this year,” senior safety Martez Manuel said. “He’s just gonna let our play do the talking for him.”

It’s probably a smart play for Drinkwitz. Bravado is good, but Drink is lagging behind his peers in the SEC. Lane Kiffin and Sam Pittman have officially broken out with 9 or 10 wins in a campaign. Mike Leach has posted a season over .500. Of his class, Drinkwitz is the only to do neither. This, combined with the uncertainty around the QB position are leading to some low expectations from the outside world. Drink admitted that his team’s challenging schedule makes it hard to pick them... but he believes in the roster he’s built.

“I’m not shy about saying this, and I say this to our team: We’re the most talented that we’ve been since I’ve been there,” Drinkwitz said. “But we also have the most challenging schedule we’ve had since we’ve been there, too. You combine those two things, I’m not sure what the result will be. But I am confident in our ability to compete in this league because of the depth and because of the talent that we have.”

Drinkwitz also spoke about losing recruiting battles to bigger programs, especially when it comes to local recruits. While the challenge is more difficult than he anticipated, he cautioned against drawing bigger conclusions.

“But you’ve got to remind yourself you’re going against some great programs and you’re recruiting against the best. And you’ve got to continue to go get results. It’s no different than a loss. You go in, you evaluate what happened, where we’re behind, what we didn’t do great and how do we improve going forward?”

Drinkwitz wasn’t the only Tiger in Atlanta, of course. Martez Manuel spoke about his desire to finally get over .500 and Barrett Bannister marveled at the fact that he was representing the university at all.

“[Running back] Cody Schrader, one of our running backs, he asked me, ‘Dude, what’s that experience like?’ It literally kind of sent me back to like this euphoric state. I was still a walk-on when I caught a drag route at South Carolina (in 2018) late in the third quarter. Little did I know five years ago that my collegiate career would turn out like it has. It’s been a dream. It really has.”

After the day was over, Mizzou was met with the best news of the day: Sam Horn, the Tigers’ prized QB recruit, went undrafted in the first 10 rounds of the MLB Draft. Horn, a projected top-75 pick by some services, will almost certainly spend his college career playing football at Mizzou.

There’s still the outside possibility that a team could throw a boatload of money at him via their bonus pool. But Horn’s slot value is pretty low at this point outside of the first 10 rounds, so it would take some extreme circumstances to lure him away. Thankfully, it appears that Horn will stay in Columbia to compete for Mizzou’s starting gig this summer.

Some other odds and ends from Media Day:

Yesterday at Rock M

More Links:

  • Sam Horn didn’t get drafted... but our boy Spencer Miles did!

Miles should have a pretty good payday in line with being a fourth round pick! Congrats and good luck, Spencer!

  • The partnership between Mizzou’s J-school and Athletes — covered by our very own Madame Editor — seems to have started strong yesterday, with a few dozen athletes attending the first session.
  • Karissa Schweizer out here making noise!
  • Between hosting younger ballers and working out their own games, Robin Pingeton’s team has already been busy this week!
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