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The Greatest Con Eli Drinkwitz Pulled

Mizzou Football Links for Wednesday, September 13

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Was convincing the Mizzou fanbase he wasn’t still in charge of the offense.

I’d also argue a second, perhaps bigger, long con may be convincing the fanbase and the athletic department when he was hired that he was this snazzy, inventive play-caller, but more on that in a bit. I must ask, WHERE IS THAT MAN?

Anyway, back to the origin of this piece. The Usual Suspects remains one of the best movies of all time. It was like the pre-M Night Shyamalan “What the F just happened?” mind-bender about a heist gone horribly awry and its extremely unreliable narrator (yes, this is a very simplified explanation).

And this, friends, is how I feel watching Mizzou Football sometimes. Like my brain has broken and we’ve all been duped. Swindled. Bamboozled. Especially this past weekend.

So when Nate & BK, on the new BTBS pod released Tuesday (taped Sunday), discussed the greatest con Eli Drinkwitz had pulled on us — that is, making fans think he was relinquishing play-calling duties to another offensive coordinator, but ultimately retaining the final word on, say, whether you go for the fourth down or not, it reminded me of the Keyser Soze and the infamous Usual Suspects line, “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.”

Please watch the entire episode (or listen to it in podcast form). It’s PERFECTION.

And no, I know Eli Drinkwitz is not the devil — L O L — this is college football which means nothing in the grand scheme of things, but Mizzou fans do feel a bit hoodwinked after the whole 4th down play-calling thing and the larger issue of such boring football. I, while not a quiet person by any stretch, am a pretty quiet game-watcher in public when things aren’t going well. I don’t ever want to be the one in public that people are staring at like, “You need to calm down. You’re being too loud.” (and yes, I did just quote Taylor Swift). Especially given that the seats I regularly sit in — bless you, Robert Partyka — are the row directly behind prospective student-athletes and their families on recruiting visits. I like to give off a good impression. The belligerent people behind me? Not so much.

Anyway, so even when I’m watching alone, I tend to just watch and not let that negativity into the space. But I was HEATED watching this game. I was fired up afterward (as my dad can attest when we talked about it later). Drink’s passiveness made me so, so mad!

Brandon Kiley, normally the purveyor of sunshine and rainbows on the BTBS podcast, as someone has to be when stuck with Negative Nate (kidding), was also WORKED UP. He argued why these particular calls, and the explanation Drink gave afterward, put him, me, and so many others so up in arms. Here’s a clip, and I’ve transcribed a bunch as well:

“I view that as an unacceptable response,” BK said. “Becuase the only things that he’s taking into account in that scenario is if they fail. He’s not thinking about what it adds to your estimated winning percentage if you get it.... Eventually it’s going to get you beat. It didn’t this time, but it will eventually.”

...

“It can’t happen and it happens every single time with this coach, dude. The game decision-making for Eli Drinkwitz puts his team at a disadvantage, and I’m so sick of watching it, man.... His actions continue to be misaligned with 21st century football and it’s embarassing to me. It’s an affront to the intelligent football fans that ware watching this team.

OOF.

Nate, meanwhile, equated the conservative play-calling to why he lost interest in the NFL.

“Sometimes the NFL is so dang conservative, so afraid of losing rather than winning. I grew disillusioned with it because it was such a conservative style of play with literally the greatest football players in the world. I couldn’t deal with it...”

He continued.

“ It’s such an outdated, antiquated way of viewing football. When you have a mobile quarterback and you have pretty decent skilled position players, and you’re going up against a team that has less talent than you.”

BK reminded us about Boise State (a team Eli coached in 2014-15) pulled out everything against Oklahoma in 2007.

“They got super aggressive. They pulled out trick plays and fourth down conversions... Like everything you can do to be able to that that margin of error. To take that margin of talent ( between Boise and OU) and slim it down a little bit. That’s what they did. And with Eli Drinkwitz, it’s almost the opposite, where he is now allowing the other team to do that. Or he’s saying no, we’re only going to play by the book.”

“If you have such a small margin of error, then you have to do everything perfectly. So if you go out there and you have some horribly timed pre-snap penalties, it feels like the end of the world.”

Gabe DeArmond of PowerMizzou had a similar reaction in his subscriber-only postgame thoughts:

When Missouri hired Eli Drinkwitz in December of 2019 the general consensus was that the Tigers were bringing in an aggressive offensive-minded whiz kid. He was 36 years old, had rocketed through the coaching ranks despite never having played college football. He was an outside the box hire, not traditional and certainly willing to take a risk.

He then talks about the LSU game 10 months later, when Mizzou tried to pull out all the stops.

That guy went on to go 5-5 against an all-SEC schedule and spent most of the offseason ridiculing all of us—rightfully so—who had picked him to go 3-7 or 2-8.

Where did that guy go? Because he’s not coaching Missouri anymore.

WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO-WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE, boys & girls... this episode (and Gabe’s column) was the fire.

(SIDE NOTE: Kevin Spacey has since been found out to be a real POS, but man, he was so good - as was the entire cast - in this movie, and I love this gif)


Yesterday at Rock M

We know the guy on this call!


More Links:

Football

  • #Memories:
  • Eyes emoji
  • KOMU8: Helmet preview? It IS a gold rush weekend, I think?
  • PFF wide receiver grades:
  • ABC17: Welcome back soon, Chad Bailey? And more social content from Nathalie Jones:
  • Looks like The Prez and maybe some future members of his Cabinet will be in attendance on Saturday:
  • A new mini-movie drops today:

Hoops

  • A slight conundrum I noticed:

Other Mizzou Sports

  • WRESTLING: Brian Smith — bless his heart for putting a year in the tweet — put out a #TigerStyleSignal on Tuesday. And it’s a big one.
  • A look back at HOF weekend:
  • Looks like Mizzou Club Hockey held a great alumni & charity event over the weekend:
  • In case you’ve forgotten... DENNIS! GIVE US THE DEETS! Women’s Golf is currently at the Sam Golden Invitational in Denton, TX (North Texas) while Volleyball travels to Eastern Illinois for a two-game series on Thursday & Friday (6pm & 4pm, respectively). Soccer, meanwhile, travels to The Swamp to kick off SEC play on Friday at 6pm (SEC+).

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