New defensive coordinator Steve Wilks is getting settled in his new job as Missouri’s defensive coordinator. The former long-time NFL coach shared his interest in the job with Mizzou, and his philosophy on defense at a press conference on Monday.

Wilks explained that he took the 2020 season off from coaching to reassess where he wanted to be, and find a program like Mizzou that aligned with his core values. After a couple of one-year jobs with the Arizona Cardinals and Cleveland Browns, Wilks said he wanted to find a place with longevity, and he said that’s the case with Eli Drinkwitz and the Tigers.

Wilks revealed that Drinkwitz texted him about returning to college to have an impact on young men. Wilks previously coached in college most recently at places like Washington, Notre Dame. But for the last 14 years, he’s been in the NFL. Wilks replaces Ryan Walters, who left the Tigers for the same job at Illinois.

“I think this is a part of my journey, where I’m supposed to be right now,” Wilks said. “Looking forward to the challenge each and every day coming in here. … The biggest thing to me, football and football, and it’s all about making relationships when you start talking about recruiting. To me, that’s where it starts. I have no problem recruiting, I love the challenge, I love to be able to compete, go into these high schools, go into these homes, and really try to get the best players in the country to come to Mizzou.”

Wilks shared that Drinkwitz did a great job recruiting him, and Wilks likes Mizzou’s culture. He said it’s harder to install a culture than it is a defense.

“I hope Coach Drink is as good in the home as he is with me for his closing,” Wilks said. “Because he was, I tried to keep him off for a while, because again, I was looking at some other things, but the more and more I prayed about it. The more and more my wife had discussions about it, I just knew after he came down to Charlotte and we had time with the interview and out to eat dinner, I just felt a connection. I felt that everything that I stood for, I knew he stood for. I knew it was going to be the right fit.”

Wilks shared that he’ll run a base 4-3 defense but in college, that’s more of a 4-2-5. Wilks also added that Mizzou would build the defense around DE Trajan Jeffcoat.

“Everything we do starts up front,” Wilks said. “… We’re going to be aggressive. … Everywhere I’ve been, it’s been about taking the ball away.”