Eli Drinkwitz reflects on his first season with Missouri, coaching in the SEC
One of the two first-year coaches in the SEC to not have any prior experience coaching in the league, Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz has now finished the regular season 5-5. He discussed often this season about how difficult it was to adjust to the changing protocols and shrinking roster numbers.
On the one hand, the Tigers won five of their final eight games, but they also lost their final two games in lopsided fashion to Georgia and Mississippi State.
Drinkwitz was a guest on “SEC This Morning” on the SEC Network with Peter Burns and Chris Doering. Doering asked Drinkwitz if this season exceeded his expectations, and the coach said the third-place finish in the SEC East and .500 record did. It all shifted with the 10-game SEC season, the NCAA penalties and various season-ended injuries and opt outs.
“I knew each game was going to be a fight of its own, just because the matchups in this league,” Drinkwitz said. “There was a lot of naysayers out there who said we wouldn’t win two games. … For us to be 5-5, I’ll take it, am I satisfied, heck no. We let some games get away, we weren’t competitive against the upper echelon teams in the SEC East, we’ve got to prove ourselves. But it showed us where we’re at and where we can be. It shows us that if you fight and show up with the right attitude and mindset in each game, you can be competitive. If you don’t let momentum swings in the games affect you, you can be competitive. I’m not making excuses, I’m going to tell you the truth, we had 52 scholarship players.”
He noted how Shawn Robinson, the team’s starting quarterback in the first two games played the entire game in the secondary. Another player moved from wide receiver to cornerback.
“We’re running out of bodies,” he said. “… What it proved is we’ve got a team of fighters, and if you’ve got a team of fighters, you’ve got a chance in this world.”