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What Eli Drinkwitz had to say: Rocky Top week edition

Notable quotes from Eli Drinkwitz presser ahead of Mizzou’s top 25 matchup with Tennessee.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 04 Missouri at Georgia Photo by Jeffrey Vest/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Missouri returns home on Saturday to face a Josh Heupel-led Tennessee team coming off a 59-3 victory over Connecticut. The Tigers coming off a 31-20 loss at Georgia, and are quickly looking to respond by getting the bad taste of its second defeat of the season behind them.

“As a warrior and a guy that battles, you know that not every battle is going to go your way,” Eli Drinkwitz said. “The reality of it is you’re probably going to face a couple of losses in your career, so you’re going to always have to pick yourself back up and, in this league, they’re never going to feel sorry for you.”

The opposition

Connecticut v Tennessee Photo by Donald Page/Getty Images

On Tennessee head coach and former Mizzou OC Josh Heupel: “Coach (Josh) Heupel has done a tremendous job with his program, developing an identity of what they’re trying to accomplish over some tough situations and has really done a good job of building and coaching his team.”

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 04 UConn at Tennessee Photo by Bryan Lynn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

On Tennessee’s running backs Jaylen Wright, Jabari Small, and Dylan Sampson: “They’re really good at running back. They’ve got really good depth, and all three of them are tough runners, got great speed. First guy, especially back-end players, don’t normally bring them down, so we have to do a good job of maintaining gap control and having an overlap player.”

More on the Vols ground game: “That’s the No. 1 rushing offense in the SEC and the No. 1 rushing defense in the SEC. So I think Josh, much like any good offensive coordinator does is always start with trying to figure out how run the football.”

On Tennessee’s defensive front: “I think they have a really good defensive line, it starts with their D-Line coach, Rodney Garner. He’s been in this league for a long time at a really high level. They recruit at a really high level, they play vertical. I think their scheme matches that kind of coaching. They’re similar that with our style, they like to bring pressure and multiple pressures.”

On how to keep Tennessee from going on a run: “You have to play complementary football in a sense that when the defense gets stopped the offense has to answer. If the defense doesn’t, the offense still has to find ways to answer.”

On why the SEC is tough defensively: “The variety of offenses now that we’re playing, you know, you have a more pro-style offense in South Carolina and Kentucky and now you’re having a little bit more wide offense in Coach Heupel so there’s a lot of variance in what you’re trying to do.”

Internal thoughts

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 04 Missouri at Georgia Photo by Jeffrey Vest/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Drinkwitz on his sideline behavior during the Tigers loss: “I’d like to take a few minutes to apologize for my sideline behavior and demeanor during the course of the game. On Saturday’s contest, there were a few moments where I let my frustrations boil over. Obviously, after reviewing the film, I clearly had inappropriate language that was not reflective of my character, and I need to be better.”

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 04 Missouri at Georgia Photo by Jeffrey Vest/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

On Brady Cook: “Brady’s mentally tough, he’s physically tough. We’ve been in this situation before. He’s handled a lot of adversity in the past. I this is just another step. I don’t think he understands when you’re the quarterback that you’re gonna get too much pressure and too much blame. He put us in a position to win the game...I don’t think one person or anybody on our team blames Brady for that loss in any form or fashion.”

On why the outside zone run has worked so well: “That’s a play that’s been effective for us. It’s been effective for Larry Rountree III and Tyler Badie and I think Cody (Schrader) has gotten really comfortable running that play...I think the athleticism of our tackles really allows us to define that cut back for our tailbacks.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 04 Missouri at Georgia Photo by David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

On Harrison Mevis after breaking Jeff Wolfert’s all-time scoring record: “Harrison is an elite player with a lot of talent. Obviously, his first year was COVID and came in and you know hit some big-time kicks. He’s consistently done that for us. It’s something to have longevity in your career and to play exceptionally well.”

On trying to create more touchbacks: “With three games left we’re gonna see if Blake Craig can just focus on kickoffs and let Harrison look at field goals. We’re gonna look at that this week and see that potentially be an option.”

On what happened on Marquis Johnson bringing the ball out of the end zone: “That was a coaching mistake made by me. I should’ve had those guys on the goal line.”

Injury Update

Chad Bailey - Out for remainder of the season

On Bailey: “We’re going to do what’s best for the interest of him so he’ll be out for the remainder of the season. He’s going to continue to help our team the best he can by being in meetings and helping coach the linebackers with leadership and captaincy.”

Luther Burden III - Questionable

Realus George Jr. - Questionable

“I think Luther and Realus will be the two I’m most concerned about.”

Brady Cook - Probable

Cody Schrader - Probable

Ennis Rakestraw Jr.- Probable

Theo Wease Jr. - Probable