Eli Drinkwitz hilariously recalls how he was horribly wrong about how to stop Alabama's offense
He can laugh about it now but Eli Drinkwitz had a bad read on how to stop Alabama’s offense in the 2020 season opener.
In fairness to Drinkwitz, Alabama was a late addition to Missouri’s schedule as the Crimson Tide were only added after the Southeastern Conference transitioned from a 12-game schedule, featuring four non-conference opponents, to a 10-game, all-SEC slate for the 2020 season.
During a recent appearance on SiriusXM radio, Drinkwitz looked back at just how incredible of an opponent Missouri faced to open the season.
“Going into that game, we didn’t really think that they were going to have potentially the best player at their position, on offense, on every side of the ball,” Drinkwitz said on the show. “Like you could argue Mac Jones was the best quarterback in college football.
“You could argue Najee Harris with the best running back in college football. You could argue that Landon Dickerson and (Alex) Leatherwood are the best tackle-center in college football.”
Heading into his first game as Mizzou’s coach, Drinkwitz thought he came up with a good plan to slow down Alabama’s offense — keep the ball out of Jaylen Waddle’s hands and force DeVonta Smith to beat them.
“So, I was like, ‘Hey look guys, Jalen Waddle is what makes them go, alright? So we got to double Jalen, and let DeVonta Smith beat us,’ “Drinkwitz continued. ‘Okay? He’s kind of a nice piece out there, but man, we got to take Jaylen Waddle away.’
“Let me just tell you we were ineffective at doing both of those. But at the end of the year, I’m sitting there watching DeVonta Smith win the Heisman Trophy thinking, you know in my mind, we were gonna force the ball to that guy. That’s how much I thought of Jalen Waddle, and both of them were tremendous players. So that’s the outstanding defensive contribution I had for the season.”
That didn’t work out very well.
Alabama won the game 38-19 — Mizzou scored 13 points in the fourth quarter to make the game look more respectable — while Waddle finished the game with eight catches for 134 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
To Mizzou’s credit, they did hold the eventual Heisman Trophy winner to eight catches for 89 yards. There were only two games last season in which Smith failed to score a touchdown and the opener against Missouri was one of them.
Here is a clip of Drinkwitz sharing his recollection of preparing for Alabama heading into the 2020 opener.