The Tigers and the Volunteers both come into this game at 2-2, and the main story is how Mizzou’s subpar defense will hold up against former Mizzou Offensive Coordinator Josh Heupel’s up-tempo offense.
“I think it’s totally different than anything we have seen this year,” Mizzou Head Coach Eli Drinkwitz said in reference to the Volunteer offense. “When somebody is snapping the ball three times every sixty seconds, there’s a lot of opportunities for error.”
The only question mark regarding the Volunteer offense is who will be under center come 11 am on Saturday. Both Hendon Hooker and Joe Milton have played extended at quarterback for Heupel, but Drinkwitz isn’t too concerned with who it will be.
“The benefit for us is that they play a similar offense regardless. I think Joe and Hendon play a similar style,” Drinkwitz explained. He also added that when he was the offensive coordinator at North Carolina State he remembers recruiting Hooker to play for him.
If the Tigers are going to slow down Tennessee’s explosive offense, there’s going to need to be a serious improvement from the Tiger defense. “The biggest thing in this game for us is we need to improve defensively,” Drinkwitz said. “We need to make sure we are comfortable with our scheme.”
However, despite all the Tigers’ struggle on that side of the ball, Drinkwitz is confident that his team is going to figure it out.
“My challenge to our staff is for all 11 guys to act as one on defense so that we can play fast.” He continued, “We are four weeks into a new defensive scheme, it’s going to get better, so I’m not going to hit the panic button.”
While many in Tiger Nation might be hitting that panic button, Drinkwitz doubled down. “I believe in our staff, I believe in our plays, I believe in our scheme, and I believe in our defense.”