clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

What Eli Drinkwitz had to say: Rivalry Week edition

Old rivalry once again renewed, the defensive end’s stock going up, and where have the big plays and other wide receivers been?

Syndication: Columbia Daily Tribune Madeline Carter/Tribune / USA TODAY NETWORK

After a shaky victory over Middle Tennessee State, Missouri will take on the defending Big 12 champions in Kansas State for the first real big test for the Tigers. It is not only the team's first Power Five opponent, but K-State is ranked No. 15 in the nation.

“An exciting week for our football program and really for college football for a really good football team coming to Faurot Field, the Big 12 champions,” Eli Drinkwitz said. “Obviously very grateful for our fans, and for selling out. This ought to be a really great environment and is really what college football is all about.”

Missouri’s rivalry with K-State goes back to 1909, with the Tigers holding a 59-35-5 advantage. But, the momentum has shifted in the Wildcats' favor this century, with K-State leading the series 8-6 since 2000. MU won five straight from 2006-2010, but the past two have gone the way of the ‘Cats. Whatever happens on Saturday will certainly rejuvenate the fire in an old Big 8/12 rivalry.

“Obviously, there’ll be the water cooler conversation, there’ll be people this summer planting their flags at lakes and talking trash,” Drinkwitz said. “I mean that’s what makes college football so much fun. (It’s) the bragging rights. Obviously, we’re going to have an unbelievable atmosphere here.”

More from Eli Drinkwitz

Comments on the job K-State coach Chris Klieman has done: “I think Coach Kleiman has done an outstanding job. His track record speaks for itself with his national championship pedigree that has obviously translated over to big-time results at Kansas State.”

On the Wildcats defense: “They have a havoc scheme with their odd stack defense, they have become more multiple in what they do, they’ve showed a lot of variety in what they do, and I think defensively they have a lot of really good players.”

On Kansas State’s Phillip Brooks: “I really think the guy that makes their football team go right now is Phillip Brooks, who we know all too well from the special teams return for a touchdown against us. But he’s done an outstanding job for them at wide receiver being their go-to guy.”

On Nyles Gaddy after his SEC Co-Sefensive Lineman of the Week performance: “Now this is a very serious young man who’s focused on what he can control. And you know, I think when these guys transfer in, this is their final year, much like D.J. Coleman did last year, I think there’s a seriousness to their approach. No nonsense; take care of your body. Make sure you’re in rehab, make sure you’re watching extra tape and that’s just Nyles’ approach, he’s every day always competing.”

On the progression of the defensive end position: “That was a position that we were concerned with, but they’ve been able to create the pass rush that we need to. I think there were a couple of incidences in the game where we lost contain in the run game, which was a little bit surprising, but they’re a work in progress and that really had more to do with us creating an odd front than being in a four-down structure...There’s always room for improvement with really everybody on our team.”

On the opportunity to get more wide receivers the ball after the unit combined for 86 yards outside of Luther Burden III after two games: “I think that’s something we got to look at as an offensive staff. I don’t know if there are keys to it. I think that just spread the ball out more, and I think we got to create more opportunities.”

On getting Mookie Cooper the ball: “I think we only had 19 pass attempts. So the player doesn’t care who makes it. It’s not like we’re not trying to necessarily get through our progressions or find him. I know for one, we had to move him into the slot because of Mekhi Miller’s injury in the first half, which is not normally his natural position, but he did a nice job.”

On the lack of big plays: “It’s largely a combination of issues, from some protections issues, missed read by the quarterback, missed route, and we not being on the same time...We had a couple of shots dialed up, but we didn’t get the protection that we needed. So it’s a combination, and again 19 opportunities is not enough to create explosive plays.”

The input Drinkwitz has on Kirby Moore’s decision-making: “Kirby calls the plays. Obviously, when it comes to in-between series, you’re making suggestions. We all have an open traffic and talk through what we’re seeing and what we have to improve. How do we attack them? Pretty standard from what I’ve been involved in when I was an offensive coordinator when somebody else was the head coach. So, I think we just have to gain more confidence in our process and what we’re doing.”

On the experienced offensive linemen (Javon Foster Xavier Delgado, and Connor Tollison): “Those guys have been incredibly consistent. Their pad level has been really good. I think they do their job at a high level. The only negative is the sack on Javon, and again, that’s more of a product of overanalyzing a situation than making a big result so I don’t make too much of that. I was really proud, I still have been really proud of Connor. I think we’re growing, we just got to get all five of us on the same page.”

And what about Armand Membou?: “I thought Armand showed a lot of growth from week one to week two, not only in his fundamentals, but in his stance, his mentality, and his execution.”