The Missouri Tigers’ 2022 season is fast approaching, and with it the uncertainty around the quarterback is rising and falling back. Connor Bazelak and Tyler Badie both scored the majority of production in those positions in the previous campaign, and are both out to new destinations this season (moving to Indiana and the NFL, respectively). The Missouri faithful have every right to worry about these attitudes heading into the 2022 season, so let’s try to find some order in the chaos by looking at Eli Drinkwitz’s career to see if we can find patterns in how he picks his backfields.
Today we’ll focus on how the running load has been distributed throughout Drenkwitz’s career. Tomorrow, we’ll take a look at the quarterback’s trends and history with fights for the starting position.
Eli Drinkewitz’s coaching career in college
First, let’s take a look at each of our guys’ steps on their way to becoming the big cheeses of an SEC school.
Other than a short layover in the tight end room at Boise, Drenkewitz has spent his entire career coaching running quarterback and quarterback, having spent the past seven seasons as an offensive coordinator. Our first step is to eliminate the season of tight ends. Next, we’ll look at trends in the use of his RB linebacker in the seven seasons coordinators and two seasons fullback coaches at Arkansas State.
run back use
Let’s take a look at how Drinkwitz’s attack distributes the ball to rushing play. Listed below are each season in which the linebacker appeared, and the percentage of running back load available for each of the top ball carriers.
An interesting pattern appears. In his pre-Columbia stops, the average lead in drink offense was just over half of the back rushes (55.3%), and the substitute took a quarter of them (24.2%). In his two seasons at Missouri, the successor had 75.3% of available bags, and the second president’s role dropped to 13.9%.
Has Eli embraced a new model of Pelco that recedes, and will that pattern hold up in 2022? It’s easy to look at the trend and say that Nathaniel Peet’s move to Stanford would be next in line for the backbone role.
The context says otherwise. In 2020, the Tigers only played a full roster of opponents in the conference, which took away the opportunity to give less experienced players easy campaigns to allow them to spell stars in more important competitions. The team had no choice but to rely on veteran Rountree. In 2022, the Tigers will play a game against Louisiana Tech and Abilene Christian for a full rotation of pace.
Depth This season is also a very different story than last year. Badi’s debut in 2021 as a checkered-back was a pleasant surprise, but certainly a surprise, as he had not previously shown the strength and running he would have shown every Saturday. Badi’s tournaments weren’t on purpose, however, as Drenkewitz forced a faltering pass attack and a serious lack of depth quality.
Assuming Nathaniel Pitt is the starter, running after him is better than Buddy’s backups last season. Elijah Young and BJ Harris are back and hopefully they’ll continue to evolve; They are joined by Cody Schrader, who sprinted for 2,074 yards at DII Truman State last season, and 4-star recruit Tavoros Jones outside of Texas. Schrader brings experience and seasoned leadership, while Jones brings explosive sportsmanship and soaring. The drink sang praises for this room as a whole at SEC Media Days, praising the entire unit for setting the tone for off-season workouts.
By not picking a specific player and focusing on the work of the entire squad, Drinkwitz shows that his use of running in 2022 will return to a more balanced attack. This group will be more balanced than Missouri’s hasty attacks lately.