Cut back to the moment the SEC Football schedule is being released, and you saw Alabama, LSU, Georgia, Florida. There was a first year coach taking over a struggling program, plugging holes all offseason. What was the best case scenario?
Thrown into the middle of a program reset, during a pandemic, Eli Drinkwitz always does his best Ted Lasso impression and just keeps moving forward. Faced with destruction after his first two games, Drinkwitz inspired the program to keep moving forward. Next play, new mindset. Focus on what you can control. Something about a goldfish. Eventually things change, you keep moving forward and you find yourself, 8 weeks later, winners of five of your last six games with a couple postponements along the way. But now two games over .500 and guaranteed at worst a .500 finish.
How did we get here?
Drinkwitz finds his success with a relentlessly positive outlook, and a laser-like focus on taking care of the small things, so the big things take care of themselves.
In a game where Missouri was dealt several tough blows, Drinkwitz’s Tigers rolled with each one. Each time they were punched in the mouth and Arkansas landed several blows, Mizzou had a way to be ready for the next play. Even as the most impossible of plays happened allowing Arkansas to retake the lead with less than a minute of game clock left in the game, Mizzou recovered.
The joke — or lament is probably a better term — among the fanbase to refer any bad thing happening within the context of a sporting event as ‘pulling a Mizzou’ or simply using Missouri as a verb for when said bad thing happens is a real and deep-seeded thing. So much so, it set up everyone’s favorite SI.com writer to get dunked on by his alma mater a few minutes later.
If by 'Missouri a game' you mean 'beat your rival' then you nailed it. https://t.co/es7FVeXA4o— Mizzou Athletics (@MizzouAthletics) December 5, 2020
But while Mizzou’s fanbase was flinching, Mizzou’s football team was not. Facing a one point loss after a sure-fire interception bounced off the hands of Jamal Brooks and into the arms of Mike Woods, they watched the Arkansas sideline in jubilation and sent out a freshman quarterback to methodically squeeze the joy from their faces, then a freshman kicker to rip it from their souls. All while Eli Drinkwitz grinned and watched Sam Pittman sink his head watching the ball through the uprights securing a Missouri win.
The little things.
Whether it’s just taking a moment to watch your opponent react to the play, or whether it’s being the team with fewer penalties, a higher third down conversion rate, and no turnovers. Making the right read under pressure. A kicker using two timeouts meant to ice him, to do the opposite.
The program is in good shape right now, because the mind set of the man in charge is to keep his team moving forward at all costs. And now Mizzou is 5-3 with two winnable games remaining (if they’re played at all). Those games are winnable because anything is possible if you keep moving forward and focus on the little things.
Up next is Georgia, or should be, anyway. Here’s to keeping this train on the tracks and getting another win!
Here are your other SEC scores:
- 1. Alabama 51, LSU 17
- 5. Texas A&M 31, Auburn 20
- 6. Florida 31, Tennessee 19
- Kentucky 41, South Carolina 18
Yesterday at Rock M
- Missouri vs Arkansas football GameDay: info, where to watch, predictions
- In the Huddle: Welcome back, Barry
- Gamethread: Mizzou beats Arkansas
- Shootout ends in Victory! Mizzou 50, Arkansas 48
- Five takeaways from Mizzou’s unbelievable comeback victory against Arkansas
- Mevis kicks the Tigers to victory over Arkansas