On Tuesday, Tiger Talk looked a little different than usual.
Instead of Bud’s Classic BBQ on Ninth Street in downtown Columbia, Mike Kelly was stationed in the Walsworth Family Columns Club at Faurot Field as the nightcap for “Taste of the Tigers”. Hosted by The Food Bank for Central & Northeast Missouri, the annual fundraising event gives attendees an opportunity to sample different mid-Missouri eats as well as local brews and wines. There’s also a silent auction, where attendees can enter to win items like memorabilia, vacations and other expensive endeavors. (Editor’s Note: I’m guessing young Quentin didn’t bid on any of said items, as a serious journalist)
To end the evening, Kelly sat down and talked with Eli Drinkwitz, Special Teams Coordinator and Tight Ends Coach Erik Link, as well as defensive tackle Josh Landry.
Eli Drinkwitz I Head Coach I 4th Season
A few tidbits from Mike Kelly:
- With Tennessee ranked 14th and Missouri ranked 16th in the AP Poll, Saturday will mark the first time since 1979 that two AP top-16 teams will meet at Faurot Field. (For those curious, (4) Texas defeated (5) Missouri, 21-0.)
- The Tigers will play under the watch of a fourth consecutive sellout crowd for the first time since 1980.
Back to Drinkwitz.
- On Score Against Hunger, which was started by Larry Smith in 1994: “This is an opportunity to give back.”
- As Military Appreciation Day is set to be held on Saturday, here’s a fun fact: Drinkwitz’s father and uncle served in the military.
- On Georgia: Mizzou answered the bell continuously but left too many yards out on kickoff coverage that hindered play-calling diversity.
- “We knew we belonged there.”
- On Cody Schrader: “He’s a great example of mindset…Hard work over talent. Never seen a player who runs so recklessly...Not afraid of contact...An inspiration. He’d be the first to tell you that the offensive line and the tight ends are playing really well.”
- On Armand Membou: “The sky’s the limit.”
- On Chad Bailey: “It’s unfortunate he’s had to battle so many injuries throughout his career.”
- Said that Chuck Hicks played his best game against Georgia.
- Drinkwitz was very complimentary of Tennessee. Mentioned a myriad of facets they excelled in.
- On Joe Milton: “He’s playing his best ball late in the season.”
- Drinkwitz praised the defensive line for their consistency throughout the season.
Erik Link I Special Teams Coordinator and Tight Ends Coach I 4th season
- On the successful season thus far: It’s really neat to see our kids have success, especially the ones that have been here for a while.
- On Georgia: “Georgia plays high-level players on special teams.” Mentioned missed opportunities on special teams against the Bulldogs as a cause of defeat.
- Mentioned how Harrison Mevis has a strong ability to block out outside noise and that he continues to work hard on his game.
- On Brock Olivo: “He bleeds black and gold. He takes everything personally.” Possesses great knowledge and patience. Very process-oriented.
- On Tyler Stephens: “He’s a selfless individual... No one wants to lose their starting spot, but he’s handled it very well.”
- Mentioned how surprising it’s been to see Brett Norfleet get so much playing time as a freshman due to the difficult nature of playing tight end.
- On Jordon Harris: “Humble, quiet, goes to work, eager to learn.” Mentioned how, like Norfleet, he’s physically further along than many freshmen tight ends.
Josh Landry I Defensive Tackle I Graduate Student
- Mentioned how unsatisfied the team remains.
- Said It was hard to leave Texas (he transferred from Baylor before the 2022 season and grew up in Houston), but credited the coaching staff for making MU an attractive destination.
- Said the veterans on the defensive line have been extremely supportive over the past couple of seasons.
- On Jayden Jernigan: “He’s passionate...and crazy.”
- Wholesome tidbit: Landry’s mom has gone to every Mizzou game this year.
- Mentioned his grandmother as a big inspiration.
- Wants to be a physical therapist or a coach after football.