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Observations and Press Conference notes from Mizzou’s Saturday practice

Alumni in attendance, players standing out in camp, and Eli Drinkwitz stance on the current state of college athletics

NCAA Football: Arkansas at Missouri Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

From Practice

  • #1 Offensive line configuration: Javon Foster anchored the left tackle spot, as expected. Xavier Delgado placed next to Foster at left guard, Armand Membou occupied right guard, and Marcellus Johnson placed at right tackle. Connor Tollison is the No. 1 center so far. Before fall camp, Eli Drinkwitz mentioned that Cam’Ron Johnson would compete with Tollison at the center position. Tollison started 12 games at center for the Tigers last season, so it makes sense for him to get the nod early on at center as Cam’Ron Johnson is moving from guard.
  • During half-line drills, Kristian Williams, Darius Robinson, and Joe Moore, Jr. stood out. Redshirt freshman Curtis Peagler had a nice pancake block.
  • Perfection from all kickers was achieved as Harrison Mevis and redshirt freshman Blake Craig did not miss.
  • Wide receiver coach Jacob Peeler brings a lot of intensity to his coaching style.
  • Plenty of former MU alumni were in attendance for Saturday’s practice. Among them was former Tigers quarterback Pete Woods from the mid-70s. Woods, the hero in MU’s upset victory over No. 2 Ohio State in 1976 also delivered a 98-yard strike to Joe Stewart in an upset victory over No. 3 Nebraska in Lincoln.
  • Also in attendance was Zac Abron, MU’s third all-time leading rusher, and the “Rhino” fullback Ron Janes from the awesome rushing attacks in the mid-to-late ’90s. Former defensive players Jerome Salley, former New York Giant, Indianapolis Colt and Kansas City Chief, Super Bowl XXI champion, and DeMontie Cross also appeared.
  • MU President Mun Choi also was in attendance.

From Eli Drintwitz presser

  • On the roster’s depth: “I think we’ve got a lot of competitive depth. I think there’s fluidity in the depth chart which is because of competition and that’s the best motivator there is whether your guys coming back or there’s guys trying to earn a position they know every day you gotta be at your best because there is quality depth at every position.
  • On Joe Moore II’s progression: “Joe (Moore) has grown tremendously, we saw on tape the pass rush ability a guy who would create pressure and was very effective for Arizona State in some difficult situations and challenges, (he’s) a guy who competed hard all the time. Since Joe’s been here, he’s gained weight, put on muscle mass, and has really worked on his endurance. We do a lot of things differently and I think sometimes he’s like, ‘Oh my gosh, what are we doing?’ but I think it’s been really good for him; he’s really responded. He’s a guy that had an outstanding summer and you can see it out there. I mean, he’s got definition in his biceps and looks like an SEC defense end.”
  • On Connor Tollison: “A lot of improvement. I think that’s been the biggest key for us is there’s been really a whole lot of improvement on the offensive line. I’ve been really impressed with the way Connor Tollison has attacked this camp. He looks like he’s having fun again, he’s enjoying running the show and competing.”
  • On Ennis Rakestraw, Jr.’s progression on both on and off the field: “I think Ennis (Rakestraw) is a young man who has really continued to grow and mature and I’m very proud of him. Not only does he have a 4.0 GPA, but he does a lot of community service and he’s very competitive. He’s come back and gained weight, weighing the most he’s ever weighed. He competes hard, we’ve got a hustle tape we show on team meetings, and he’s always on it so I’ve been impressed.
  • Drinkwitz talked about before fall camp that the wide receivers must improve on perimeter blocking. Has that improved through the first week of fall camp?: “It’s embarrassing for me right now, to be honest, that room has got to be better, and take more pride in blocking on the perimeter and no block, no rock. It’s not even near what the standard should be and I’m not pleased with it at all in any shape, form, or fashion.”
  • But, on a positive note from the room, Theo Wease has been impressive: “I think when Theo first got here, I think there was a lot of wanting to prove himself immediately and sometimes that leads to pressure and maybe performance anxiety, and he is really just gone to work. I told him the first day I think it was either day one or day two, he got Player of the Day. I said I love it because I didn’t hear him all day; I just saw him making plays.”
  • On the current state of college realignment: “I thought the transfer portal was closed...that’s just for the student-athletes. The adults in the room get to do whatever they want. My question is, did we count the cost? I’m not talking about a financial cost, I’m talking about did we count the cost for the student-athletes involved in this decision. What cost is it to those student-athletes? We’re talking about a football decision, they’re based off football, but what about softball and baseball, who has to travel across the country? Do we ask about the cost for them? Do we know what the number one indicator of symptoms of more mental health is? Lack of rest and sleep. Traveling in those baseball and softball games, those people travel commercial, they get done playing at 4, they gotta go to the airport, they come back, it’s 3 or 4 in the morning and they gotta go to class...did we consider the student-athlete? Because then we’re asking them to go out on their own to get NIL. And we didn’t say we’re gonna revenue share. We’re not saying they’re getting a piece of it so that’s the thing that’s bothering me right now. This whole situation is we keep trying to limit what the student-athlete can do but then we act on our own.”