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Everything Eli Drinkwitz said on Tuesday heading into Week 6 at Florida

Missouri (2-3) will look to rebound from a near-upset win over Georgia in week five with its second straight win in as many seasons over Florida (3-2) in week six. Missouri head coach Eli Drinkwitz met with local media on Tuesday afternoon in advance of that game. Here is a full transcript of the press conference.

Opening statement

Good afternoon. Again I want to just say how much I appreciate it the Mizzou fan base for Saturday night. What an awesome atmosphere. You know, everything that I believed and dreamed that this place can and will be as we continue to build our program moving forward. Got a very difficult talent challenge this week obviously, Florida is a very good football team. A lot of very talented players return a lot of guys I think on the defensive side of the ball. You know, Brenton Cox Jr. stands out to me, he's probably the most disruptive defensive player we faced all season. They returned Ventrell Miller, who was injured last year at linebacker, I think he's the best linebacker we've played all year. They've got massive size up front on the defensive line, and their back end is experienced with the two safeties that have played a lot of football and Jason Marshall Jr. at corner is as good a corner as we played. So, defensively they are very good. Their defensive coordinator does an outstanding job of mixing coverages, pressures and formation adjustments, not giving you the same picture.

Offensively, it starts with the quarterback, Anthony Richardson, who is a very talented quarterback that can run and throw. He's got great command of what (Florida head) coach (Billy) Napier is trying to do offensively. Coach Napier is a very good football coach and knows exactly how he's building his team each week and what they're trying to do offensively to win. And they put their quarterback in the right situation. They're very big and physical up front with their offensive line. They've got a tremendously talented running back room. So, it'll be a very difficult challenge.

I think the challenge for us this week is to recreate the process. And not get caught up in the outcomes. You know, don't worry so much about the outcome. We'll worry about the process and what we control which is having a great Tuesday practice, focused on our fundamentals and techniques and the things that we need to correct from the game, and not attach ourselves so much to the outcome that we can't emotionally be ready to go.

We got to travel down there on the road at noon, in a very difficult environment. So, we've got an uphill battle ahead horse, but I believe in our football team, and I believe that they will accept that challenge. And I look forward to getting on the practice field with them today.

What was the key to the fast start against Georgia as opposed to the starts you guys heading into Kansas State and Auburn?

I think defensively we came and stopped them in three plays to create field position for us offensively. In those two games, both drives were 12 to 14-play drives that led to touchdowns. I mean, against Kansas State we scored (a field goal) first, but I think that probably a lot of it comes down to getting a stop early and creating field position, which is what we tried to do in the middle eight. What we tried to do is, is create an opportunity for us to double up possessions. Obviously, I don’t think we ended up having time late this past weekend.

You've mentioned critical penalties a few times there. When you go into training today and for the next few days. At this point in the season, do you have to readjust the way you teach some of those things or keep going with the same process?

Yeah, I mean jumping on a cadence is discipline and you know we've had the conversation is or something inflection-wise that we're doing. But that's got to get corrected and then penalties as far as holding and illegal hands to the face. That's got to be better technique.

There was a lot of optimism about Ty’Ron Hopper over the summer coming into the season but has he exceeded maybe even what expectations you had coming into the year?

Last year, he had 14 tackles against us, four tackles for a loss and a sack against us. So, I think that was the expectation, and again, he's a great young man. I'm so proud of him on our football team. He's really battled and is playing a lot of plays really fast. Does what we asked him to do. So he's displaying what we believe he had in him.

When did you know that the guy who played y'all last year who had a big game with Florida against you (Hopper) was going to be able do that for the team every game this season?

Well, I don't know if I knew he's going to do it every game but I saw him in spring and I thought we got a pretty good player on our hands. Here's the deal, he's a competitor, he prepares the right way. I think he really trusts his teammates. I think the defensive line in front of him is playing really well. He's able to play downhill. I think (linebackers) coach (D.J.) Smith has done a really good job coaching. I think Coach Baker's has put him in a really good scheme fit. So, I think it's a combination of a lot of things and, and it starts with him being a guy who has worked really hard and has been blessed with a lot of talent.

How has Cody Schrader taken what he did at a lower level and brought it up here and kind of improved his game be able to produce here?

He's a young man who is attached to the process and not the outcomes, and every day is a workday for him. He starts over and comes in and gets treatment, watches tape and exercises. I knew the young man was special, whether it was in the spring or throughout the summer. I mean, he was lifting twice a day. He is very appreciative of the opportunity. And he's a tremendous young man.

Do guys like Ty’Ron Hopper in the portal change how you evaluate film? Like if you see a guy do something special against you, do you think ‘Well, this guy could be a fit for us if something happens?’”

Well, that gets into a tough question about college football. I think. Yeah, you’ve got to be ready for anybody. To get in the portal at anytime I guess. That's an interesting question.

Do you have to talk to him this week about the emotion and just treating this like another game?

Well, he's not going to treat it like another game. Definitely have to talk to him about keeping his composure. I mean, those are his former teammates. And I know he's got a mutual respect. I think he was roommates with Brenton Cox. And I know he knows a lot of those guys, and I don't think there was any bad blood or any ill will towards any of them at all. So, I think it'd be fun to compete against them. But we got to make sure we keep our emotions in check.

Do you think he's had this game circled on the calendar now for a little bit?

No, in the SEC you better bring your A-game every game. I don’t know if you should circle one and not the other. They all got good players, so I doubt it.


Eli can you pinpoint some areas where Brady Cook is better going into week six than he was week one? Where are you seeing growth?

Yeah, I mean, you look at the game. I think he was 20 of 32 with a touchdown and no interceptions. He didn’t put the ball in jeopardy and connected on a couple of deep balls. I mean, that's a pretty good defense we were going against and he gave us an opportunity. Are there plays out there that are still to be made? Absolutely. I mean, there are better calls to be made by me. I think every game you go back and watch the film, there's going to be things that you have to do better. But he's given us an opportunity to win the game and we got to go finish it. I mean he's given us the opportunity in the last few games to win and we've got to finish.

A couple of weeks ago before the Auburn game, you mentioned you want the defensive line to be more disruptive, more chaotic. How did you see them kind of adjust and kind of see what they did against Georgia as well?

Yeah, I think they control the line of scrimmage. They were able to, for the most part, keep them in check in running the football and creating havoc plays they got pressure on the quarterback. They created turnovers. So, all the things that are really a hallmark of coach Baker in the style of defense we want to play, and again, last week really doesn't matter. It's about what we can do this week. And that's one of the things that Florida does not allow. They don't allow a lot of negative yardage plays, they don't get behind the chains, they grind out four yards at a time. They take vertical shots, they get into third and three or four where they can move or let the quarterback run the football. So, we have got to control the line of scrimmage at the defensive point of attack or it's going to be a really long day for us.

Do you have an injury update on Dominic Lovett? What was he dealing with and what you expect if he's available?

It’s a lower leg injury. He is day-to-day. We’ll see what he looks like today. Kind of go forward but yes, kind of day-to-day. I think right now it's probably 50-50.

Did you expect this kind of output from Dominic? Six catches for 84 yards in just the first half.

It was really a tough blow for us offensively because he was playing so well and so fast out there and really was a mismatch in the game and for him to go down it was tough.It's tough when you lose one of your better players offensively if not your best player on offense. You got to find a way to recreate that offensive gameplan so yeah, we know he's a really good player. And again, it goes back to what our belief was in the spring, which was we need to let him grow and develop. We knew instead of trying to move him around all the time, let's let him become the best H (slot wide receiver) possible and funnel the gameplan through those specific things that he does well and that's kind of what we've done.

Is there a concern about Kris Abrams-Draine's injury and is there a chance you get Chad Bailey back this week?

There is concern about Kris Abrams-Draine, again, he's day-to-day. I'd say he's 50-50. Chad Bailey will be out there in a green jersey today. We'll see how that progresses. I say it’s more doubtful (that Bailey plays on Saturday). But what we'll see as the week goes on.

Who does Richardson compare to athletically? Have you seen guys that you would put in a similar vein?

Yeah,I think Robby Ashford from speed, quickness and ability. I think he's just three inches taller and 40 pounds heavier. I mean, he's very similar to KJ Jefferson, probably. As far as speed, athleticism, ability to grow, learn and make good decisions. If you don't hit him, in the mid-sternum to the thighs, you're not going to get him down. Very big, physical player, whether that's a free runner on a sack or in the run game. You've really got to run your feet through the tackle. If you leave your feet before the tackle. You're gonna bounce off like a ping pong ball.

Eli, what's the conversation like with your team about playing better on the road? What they've got to do to play well?

Yeah, we just have got to start fast. The way we play against Auburn 一 believe me there's plenty of things from that game that we've got to improve on, but I'm not necessarily worried about that. We got to recreate our process. Without some magic on the road, we have to do something a whole lot different. To start to recreate our process focus on us. Don't worry about the environment. Or about the opponent. It's about our energy, our execution, our determination to play the way that we want to play, what's our standard of performance? That means what it's all about.


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