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Mizzou goes with two D-line coaches for 2022

Texas A&M beats Missouri 35-14

Missouri Tiger new defensive line coach Al Davis coaches on the sidelines during a football game between the Missouri Tigers and the Texas A&M Aggies on Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021 on Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium in Columbia. Photo by Laurie Skrivan, lskrivan@post-dispatch.com

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Missouri has restructured its defensive staff for 2022, going with two defensive line coaches. Al Davis, who took over the D-line coaching duties midway through this past season, will coach the interior this fall while newly hired Kevin Peoples will coach the defensive ends. 

Davis agreed to a two-year contract paying him $325,000 per years. Terms of Peoples' contract were not immediately available.

Peoples, a 29-year coaching veteran, spent the last two seasons as Indiana's D-line coach. He previously coached at Tulane, Georgia Southern, Alabama-Birmingham, Arkansas, Arkansas State and elsewhere, including a two-year stop at Central Missouri in the 1990s.

Peoples was Davis' position coach his junior and senior seasons at  Arkansas in 2011-12. Davis joined the MU staff last year as an analyst after spending the 2020 season coaching Illinois' defensive tackles. Drinkwitz promoted him when he fired first-year D-line coach Jethro Franklin five games into the season.

“Al Davis and Kevin Peoples are strong coaches and leaders to work with our defensive line,” Tigers coach Eli Drinkwitz said. “They’re experienced individually but also together with their relationship. We made good progress at the line as the season progressed. Our defensive linemen will learn a lot from Al and Kevin." 

A defensive staff position opened this week when safeties coach Charlie Harbison stepped down into another undefined role for next season. Defensive coordinator Steve Wilks and defensive backs coach Aaron Fletcher will handle the secondary, with D.J. Smith returning as linebackers coach. Drinkwitz also has an offensive staff position to fill with last month’s departure of tight ends coach Casey Woods to SMU.

“I’m proud of the progress we made as a defensive line in 2021,” Davis said. “I’m grateful for this opportunity to continue as a member of Coach Drinkwitz’s staff. To work with Coach Peoples, a man I know well and played for myself, brings excitement and experience to our group.” 

Under Peoples, the Hoosiers led the Big Ten in sacks for the first time in program history in 2020. His three decades in coaching also included stops at Northwestern State, the Las Vegas Outlaws, Blinn Community College, Carroll College and Northern Arizona. He wasArkansas’ director of high school relations in 2010, Drinkwitz's first season as a college coach at Auburn. 

“I’m excited to be part of the culture that Coach Drinkwitz is building here at the University of Missouri,” Peoples said. “Being back in the SEC and working with this group of coaches and staff, including one of my former players, is a strong motivation. I look forward to meeting and working with our student-athletes.”

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