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Drinkwitz on win over SEMO: 'We treated this week like it was the Super Bowl'

Drinkwitz on win over SEMO: 'We treated this week like it was the Super Bowl'

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COLUMBIA, Mo. — Here's everything Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz had to say after the Tigers' 59-28 victory over Southeast Missouri.

Opening statement:

“I thought the offense did a nice job converting third downs. I think we had two third and shorts on the first drive and converted both. The defense really did a nice job in the first half controlling the game. Obviously in the second half we had a lot of different people with the opportunity to play, which is good but it’s also a reality for some of these guys that they got to put in a lot more work and attention to detail and to continue to develop. Really proud of Tyler Macon and Brady Cook for leading touchdown drives. That’s not easy to do no matter who it’s against. So, really proud of those guys.”

On getting the production out of Connor Bazelak and Tyler Badie while also getting them out at halftime to let the backups play:

“I think both of them got some good work in. Connor I think is trying to get an acting deal for his NIL with as much as he sits there and wallows after he gets hurt. Everybody is nervous about it, and I say ‘Are you OK?’ He’s like, ‘Yeah, I’m just putting on.’ I’m like, ‘Cut that crap out.’ Yeah, I thought both of them played pretty well.”

On the run defense in the first half:

“I thought we were much better at destroying blocks. I thought we were much better at tackling. We still had a couple of contain issues. Really the rushing yards in the first half were on passes that we weren’t keeping contain, which is a nemesis that’s going to have to get fixed and continue to focus on details with that. But for the most part in the first half, we shut them out. I think they had less than 100 yards. But obviously in the second half, not good enough.” 

On the depth of the wide receiver room:

“I tease Bush (Hamdan) all the time, it’s like he’s subbing in a hockey line with the wide receivers. They just come in and out all the time. It’s good to get a lot of people in there. Really proud of the way JJ Hester looked. He took that slant route and exploded through there. He played with some confidence which is what we’re really wanting to see out of him. That was really good to see, really good to see."

On Chance Luper scoring his first touchdown with his dad Curtis Luper on the sideline:

“I think it’s pretty cool, I actually said something to Lupe the other day in warmups. Like, ‘How cool is this? You’re coaching your son and for me to get to be a part of it.’ Getting to know them in 2010 and knowing him when he was a youngster and now he’s a really good player for us. It’s pretty special. It’s pretty special. It’s the people based business, man. To get to mix people and relationships while you’re trying to be successful is pretty cool.”

On what stood out to him about wideout JJ Hester today:

“I thought the way he attacked the ball in the air on that slant route. He knew exactly what to do with it. He left people on that 50-yard pass, so that was really good.  I thought he did a nice job blocking on the perimeter. He had that holding call late, but I thought he did a nice job getting lined up and knowing what to do.”

On the importance of throwing the ball downfield and 30 times with Bazelak against SEMO:

“It doesn’t matter who our opponent is. We treated this week like it was the Super Bowl. We tried to call our best stuff, put the best plan possible, attack the defense with their weakness, use our strengths against their weaknesses, invest in who we are. The opponent is irrelevant to us.”

On if he thinks Mookie Cooper and Dominic Lovett are finding their place in the offense:

“I thought Mookie had a really nice (catch). Backed up we felt, it was something they had showed on film that we could potentially get a deep ball there. Offensive line did a nice job in protection and he did a nice job making a contested catch there. Domo had a couple opportunities, both of them had a couple opportunities in space which was nice. Wish both of them would’ve had a chance to get in the end zone, but we’ll get them there."

On Michael Cox running the ball late:

“I just saw him running the ball down the middle of the field. They said on the headset he was going to score so that was pretty good.”

On the transition for defensive coordinator Steve Wilks moving to the booth and if it improved their play:

“I think so in the first half. I thought we matched personnels good. We were in and out of calls, making good adjustments, talking through things. He was able to see things and make little tips. So yeah, that was good.”

How much of a concern is it that Missouri was outscored by SEMO in the second half:

“Not concerned about it in the least. Wouldn’t even have known it if you hadn’t told me. It was 38-0 at halftime.” 

On the atmosphere:

“First off, I’d like to say thank you to the Hickman High School band for showing up and being here for us and holding down the fort until Marching Mizzou could get back from the bicentennial parade. Man, really appreciate the investment that the fans made. There’s a lot of things that you can invest your things in and for them to invest their money in us and stay out on a hot Saturday and watch us play and perform, man it was awesome. I appreciate every one of them. I was looking up when it first started and it kept getting bigger and bigger. People were here and people were here at Tiger Walk cheering us on. That’s special and something we’ll remember those people that were invested in the early years.”

On if there’s an update on Darius Robinson’s injury:

“Don’t have an update, no.”

On what he can take away from this game:

“It’s one game at a time. You got to play to a standard and I thought we did a nice job of playing to a standard that we wanted to do. In the way that we wanted to play, you got to convert third downs, you got to stop the run, you got to get off the field. We were able to do all those things very effectively in the first half. In the second half, I knew that we were going on the road and also know that crazy things can happen like targeting where you would miss guys in the first half. Injuries play a factor because you have games moving forward. We were playing true freshmen who literally have not been over on the defensive side of the ball all week because they’ve been running scout team. We would’ve had a better chance to run SEMO’s defense against SEMO’s offense right there because they hadn't been on the defensive side of the ball except for fall camp. It is what it is. You try to survive on talent, pretty vanilla. I take a lot of confidence away from what we were able to do and the improvements that we made and won the game.”

On the value of getting some true freshmen on the field:

“I think you take off the shock factor of playing in a college football game. A lot of these guys this is the first time they’ve ever done that and experienced it, the nerves that they’re going to have. And then there’s a reality check to it too. There’s a ‘Oh OK. So, I got to improve. I got to do this. Maybe there is a huge difference between what I think I am and what I got to be in order to play.’ I think that’s going to show up on tape tomorrow when they watch tape. ‘Alright, I’ve got to do this, this and this in order to get to where I want to be.’”

On the timetable for injuries to Ennis Rakestraw Jr. and Case Cook:

I think both of them probably could have gone if we really wanted to push it. I think it really hurt Case not to be able to play. We have to sometimes protect players from themselves. I think we’ll know more Tuesday where they’re at. Can they go through Tuesday’s practice? And then we’ll go from then. But I thought Woody did a nice job for us on the offensive line.”

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