By Patrick Kelly
Now that Mizzou has a new football coach, the team and fan base got the first look at their new leader Eliah Drinkwitz. In a press conference Tuesday morning, Drinkwitz was introduced alongside athletics director Jim Sterk and chancellor Alexander Cartwright.
The event started, shall we say, with a bang! Drinkwitz walked through Faurot Field, up the stairs and into the interview room all while being escorted by Marching Mizzou. After a quick word from the university system higher-ups, it was time for Drinkwitz to make his debut, putting on a visor with a Tiger logo on it as he made his way to the podium. He started by thanking his wife and four daughters, as well as Sterk and others in attendance.
Drinkwitz laid out his vision for Mizzou’s program. He stated that the most urgent thing for him right now is recruiting. With early signing day just over a week away, he will be a very busy man as he hits the recruitment trail. While talking about recruiting, he also stated his intent to recruit in the state of Missouri, saying “we will spend the next 24 hours recruiting in this state” and “we’re going to recruit in the state of Missouri every day.” In addition to Missouri, Drinkwitz made a point of noting that Texas is a place where Mizzou has had success before, having added a lot of great talent including Chicago Bears quarterback Chase Daniel.
In regards to how his offense will be run, Drinkwitz said he will run “a combo of Malzahn no-huddle spread and Harsin’s multiple/pro-style/motion/shift system.” That was in reference to Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn and Boise State head coach Bryan Harsin, two coaches that Drinkwitz learned from. Drinkwitz said his current plan is to call the plays, although he doesn’t know how long that will last after spring ball. He has had great success running offenses. This season, Appalachian State’s offense was ranked ninth, Boise State under him was ranked in the top 15, and at North Carolina State he continuously led top 20-ranked offenses.
Drinkwitz said the defense will “tackle well and create turnovers” while at the same time constantly harassing the quarterback and will be effective at stopping the run. As of now, he isn’t sure who will run the defense, but he said the ideal candidate is “low ego and high output.”
One of the highlights of the press conference was how Drinkwitz answered questions regarding the struggles that will affect the football program this year. He was aware of the penalties levied against the university, but he is confident they can work around it. When asked about the realistic expectations this year given the penalties, he stated, “I don’t think about realistic expectations; I shoot for the moon. We’re going to work on trying to be the very best team we can be today. We will approach each day with a 0-1 mindset. You have to focus on the moment, compete to be better today than you were yesterday.”
Whether or not Drinkwitz is the right guy for the job is of course yet to be seen, but the confidence this man has not only in himself but in the program he is just starting to get to know is evident very quickly. He stated that “this is the opportunity of a lifetime, and an opportunity of a lifetime must be seized within the lifetime of an opportunity.”
Now that Mizzou has their guy for the job, it’s time for the rest of the pieces to fall into place and that starts with early signing day December 18.