Nearing the end of fall camp, Mizzou head football coach Eliah Drinkwitz answered several questions, but left the door open for future answers. Here are a few of the quotes and takeaways from today:
Eliah Drinkwitz | Head Coach
- On the selection of team captains, and how their leadership is exemplified on and off the field: “In the beginning of the season, our team votes captains. This year, we’re going to have eight captains voted on by the team. On the defensive side of the ball ... it was Martez Manuel, Darius Robinson, Isaiah McGuire and Chad Bailey. On the offensive side of the ball, Barrett Banister, Tauskie Dove, Javon Foster and Brady Cook.”
- “All those guys are high performers in the classroom. They are high performers on our football team. And I think there’s a level of trust within our team that says, ‘Okay, these are the guys that represent where we want to be and can kind of show the way.’”
- On who will be wearing no. 25 this season: Missouri passed along Aaron O’Neal’s No. 25 to freshman defensive back Ja’Marion Wayne. O’Neal collapsed and later died during a Missouri football workout in 2005 at 19 years old. After meeting with players and the coaching staff, the decision to pass along the number to the St. Louis native Wayne was made.
- On having eight captains: “It was pretty clear-cut like, these were the top four on offense and these were the top four on defense, then everybody else. And so instead of going into a runoff election, I figured more is better.”
- On what being a captain means: “They set the highest standard of what it means to be a teammate on our team and what it means to serve, buy into our core values and uphold the standard of having an elite edge every single day.”
- “I kind of wished [Brady Cook] didn’t get [captain] because I think he’s got enough on his plate, worried about just being a star quarterback. But that’s the leadership that he’s planted. That’s the guy that’s had to handle all the rumors, transfers and all that talk and didn’t flinch.”
- On the challenge of facing Louisiana Tech next week: “I know that Louisiana Tech’s a really tough opponent. I think it’s a difficult draw because you got that new scheme on both sides of the ball without being able to watch any tape on it and so that’s incredibly challenging. So, you know, I think our guys are focused, and I know it’s gonna be a tough challenge.”
- On the running back competition: “I’d say the development is we’re trying to get everybody back to full speed. And we’re trying to get them as healthy as we can. Hopefully, you know, Sunday will be a regular Tuesday practice and everybody will be ready to go, but if not, we feel confident we’ll put a running back out there that’ll be really good.”
- On the punting decision: Coach Drinkwitz gave an indication that the punting position decision will be coming soon, but noted how both punters had a few great punts coupled with at least one bad one.
- On the backup quarterback: Drinkwitz noted how Missouri is approaching the No. 2 quarterback decision as one where the circumstance will determine who comes in. He has yet to name a back-up; instead, he’s leaving the position open with an eye on what the game calls for.
- On new coordinator, Blake Baker: “I think the thing that impresses me the most about Blake is his confidence within his system and his staff. I think he does a really good job of of knowing what he wants to do. He’s confident enough in that system, that he’s still willing to ask other people, how can we improve it.”
- On having a “STAR” defender: “When you have a STAR defender you can get more of a quarter shell [where] both your safeties can be quarterback players and that STAR overhang can be. And so it provides a little bit more disguise and a lot more [help to] the run.”
- Preseason All-SEC honorees: Kicker Harrison Mevis (First Team), offensive lineman Javon Foster (Second Team) and defensive back Kris Abrams-Draine (Third Team) were each named to the All-SEC Coaches Teams earlier Tuesday.
Tauskie Dove | Wide Receiver
- On being named a captain: “It is a responsibility and I look at it as a blessing at the same time… They voted [us] captains and they know when it’s game time that they can lean on us.”
- The older guys, like me and Barry (Barrett Banister), [are] making sure we’re on the same page, making sure everybody knows what they’re doing and we help each other out. You know, it’s like you scratch my back I scratch yours and we set that foundation.”
- “I had to step out of my comfort zone and one thing for me over the summer with being more vocal and so they have voted me as a captain. That’s another factor that allowed me to do that and work on being more vocal and stepping out of my comfort zone. And honestly I feel like so far I’ve been doing a good job of that.”
- On how the quarterback-wide receiver relationship has strengthened since Cook was named the starter: “Brady stepping in the Army game, and since then, even over the spring into the summer, you know, you see him improve. I mean that shows the player for captain [and] it shows a lot and it says a lot about how much he’s improved over the course of the time.”
Martez Manuel | Defensive Back
- On beginning his senior season: “I’m really excited. We’ve put in a lot of work and got through a lot of diversity. So it’s a great feeling when it’s around the corner.”
- “We have done a much better job paying attention to detail. We don’t want to leave things up to chance. We don’t want to have any slow starts and I find that starts in practice.”
- On Ja’Marion Wayne: “He’s a super athletic, super talented, super humble. I mean, to be a four-star receiver and give that up to play safety, you know, that’s obviously very humble. A lot of people would have hit the [transfer] portal. I’m really proud of him and he’s done some great things. He’s gonna be a really, really good player. He’s special.”
- On playing the STAR position: “I feel like I’m a very comfortable [fit]. I like it a lot. I can see my vision more [and] I can be more active. I can make a lot more plays. I feel like I’m very happy to play that.”
- On hearing the story of Aaron O’Neal: “That’s really special to me. I’m a guy that loves to hear about the legacy of players that played it before me. You just got to hear how special he was and what he meant to a community.”
- On creating more turnovers: “[The D-Line and defensive backs] just got to do a good job complementing each other and playing for each other because sometimes we got to make all the plays, and your defense making the plays is a lot bigger than personal accomplishments.”
- “I’ve loved that Coach Baker is here. He’s done a great job with us. He’s taught me so much already… Stuff that didn’t know, it just kind of really helped him slow down the game for me. I feel like the game has slowed down completely for me.”
- On what he learned last year, how leading is harder when things are going bad, and how it’s important to lead in the tough times: “I learned a lot last year, I told the guys this year and I was super happy for them that they are captains, but also told him that is one of the hardest things that you’re going to do and it’s not fun and games.”
- “I preach at the end of camp just to stay green, which means you know, always be ready to learn more and grow more, so that’s something that we’ve adapted and we learned at camp that just like when you have bad days, you got to push it and have another good day.”
Isaiah McGuire | Defensive Line
- “It’s a blessing from God to lead this team.”
- On forcing turnovers: “That’s not just today, but that’s an everyday standard for us. You know, I’m saying [this] because Baker has definitely brought that standard toward our defense and so we want to uphold each and every practice.”
- On his personal improvement: “[I am] much more polished. A lot of work, not only me, but my teammates is this offseason has helped me improve and help them improve. I mean, iron sharpens iron . And that’s one thing we’ve carried over from last year to the offseason, up to this point.”
- On the season-ending injury to Chuck Hicks: “I’ve been praying for him. But I’m definitely confident that other people that we have on our defense to come and step up and life comes game time.”
Javon Foster | Offensive Line
- On being named captain: “It means a lot just because it was player voted. I just felt like my hard work is paying off to my teammates. They chose me and they believe in me, so I really appreciate them for that.”
- Foster was named to the All-SEC Preseason Second Team earlier in the day Tuesday and he noted how it felt good to enter this season as a player known around the SEC. He added that it’s important to stay focused and keep working.
- “I’m more of a laid back guy, but at times I do get to be that ‘rah rah’ guy too and get out there and get a team energy and stuff like that. That’s what I feel like I [must] improve on, so that’s the role I’m trying to change and do better.”
- On the offensive line: “We got to trust each other. We all know that it comes down to us at the end of the day. If we don’t perform the offensive won’t be able to do anything.”
- On third downs: “We got to go out there on third downs and know the situation and know like okay, this is just a moment like we know we got to do our jobs definitely here.”