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Eli Drinkwitz presser notes: Zou to the Lou edition

Words from the head coach on the status of Brady Cook and the team’s excitement to play in St. Louis.

NCAA Football: Middle Tennessee at Missouri Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Missouri travels to take on Memphis at The Dome at America’s Center in St. Louis on Saturday. But first, Eli Drinkwitz gave his weekly update at his Tuesday press conference.

Eli Drinkwitz

Injury Updates

On Brady Cook: “Brady Cook is still healing from his hyperextended knee that occurred in the game. We did an MRI, and there is no ligament damage or anything but he will be out today. He will not be at practice.”

On Marcellus Johnson: “Marcellus Johnson also was injured in the game, and really similar to Brady, there is no structural damage in his ankle. He will be out today from practice, and we’ll be reevaluated Thursday to see what his status will be for the game.”

On Chad Bailey after playing 16 snaps: “We anticipate hopefully getting that up a little bit more, but we can’t run him out there for 60 plays yet, not from a conditioning standpoint or functional ability standpoint.”

What Drinkwitz saw positively from Cook on film: “I thought the deep ball accuracy was really good, I think he was efficient with his reads and I think he didn’t force the ball too many times. Obviously, the anticipation windows in the two-minute drive that he threw the in cuts were really good. There are a couple of third-down conversions that he had late. Really good throws to Mookie (Cooper) so I thought that was all positive.

On where Luther Burden has taken steps forward: “I think it’s his route running ability. That’s really improved too. I mean you’re seeing the full complement of a wide receiver. I think obviously his moving into the slot was beneficial for him too because he’s so big, fast, and powerful and it's really hard to press a slot wide receiver. I think his combination of being able to catch the ball or create in a screen game or horizontal game, but then you got to realize that he can run past you too...He’s continuing to improve and I think it’s based on his growth as a full wide receiver instead of being just a bigger guy who needs touches.”

On Brett Norfleet’s upward trajectory: “I think he’s continuing to progress both physically. He plays a physical brand of football and obviously, does a really nice job catching the football down the field. I think the biggest thing for Brett and really everybody on the team is consistency of performance...He’s very physical. You saw it when he played at Francis Howell because he was playing both ways on offense and defense so you know he had it in him but you didn’t know how quickly it would translate. But, 6-foot-7, 250 (pounds) translates pretty good.”

On 18 players going back to play for their hometown in St. Louis: “There’s an excitement, obviously from the 18 student-athletes that are on our team from St. Louis, just to get back and play and obviously they’re getting hit up about tickets and, trying to beg, borrow and steal from their teammates to get their tickets if they’re not using them so that’s always fun and unique. But I think when you’re a player that goes off to college, whenever that university comes home to play, it’s just something to be proud of.”

The impact of the hometown kids being able to play in a large market: “It’s our largest alumni base, I believe, outside of Columbia. So I think its a really good opportunity for our student-athletes to put themselves on a showcase and again, it’s in one of the premiere cities, I think possibly when you think about being from St. Louis, you think about the championships that have been won there. You identify with the great Cardinals players in the past, and the great Rams players of the past, and the great Blues players and for you to have that opportunity in that stage to be talked about in the local media. I think it’s probably a childhood dream.”

On generating the first turnover: “I mean, one out of three games isn’t exactly breaking the ice, so it’s something that we have to continue to do. It was the difference in the game in the game ultimately, because we were plus three turnovers, but we got to be even better and I think that attributes to you know, I think last year 45% of our turnovers occurred on third downs. We were a lot more productive in getting off the field on third downs which we haven’t been in the first three games, therefore, our turnover numbers haven’t been there so we got to do a better job of executing on third down and giving ourselves an opportunity to create those havoc plays and turnovers.”

On the lack of rushing attack against K-State: “Honestly, we kind of went into the game with a mindset of a throw-first mentality in this game. We weren’t really anticipating like we gotta establish the run, and I think that was kind of more of a byproduct of that.”

On the possibility of letting Harrison Mevis continue to kick from even longer distances: “We’re gonna stay away from the 50’s and focus on the 60’s. It’s been a lot better in the 60’s than the 50’s,” said Drinkwitz jokingly. “No, I mean, I think it’s just belief in your players. We’ve always known that he has a really strong leg. If it wasn’t the last play of the game I’m not sure I would have done that just because the spot would have been where the spot was for the opponent to take over the ball.”

Are there any advantages of playing in a dome: “I don’t know, I really don’t know. It used to be the Greatest Show on Turf right? So, hopefully it's good scoring opportunities for the offense. But, hopefully not as quite good of scoring opportunities for (Memphis) offense, but we’ll see.”