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.
Yesterday we focused on how back-running has been distributed throughout Drenkewitz’s career. Today we’ll take a look at the quarterback’s trends and history with the battles 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. In this exercise, we’ll also ignore his first two years in college running training classes, so we’ll only look at Boise State 2015 and beyond.
Let’s take a look at how signal callers carried the burden on Drinkwitz’s crime.
In quarterback courses
Right off the bat, it’s clear just how lucky Eli Drinkewitz has been with his quarterback injuries. He has certainly earned his reputation as a creative humiliating mind; I’m not arguing that his rise through the coaching ranks was undeserved. It is noteworthy, and it is also worth noting that he did not have many opportunities to manage a difficult quarterback position.
So far, he’s dodged a scenario like Caleb Williams vs Spencer Rattler in Oklahoma, or depth chart disaster like at the Southern Miss last year, or even had to navigate tricky situations like the 2012 and 2013 Missouri QB Chambers. There were two seasons with quarterback injuries. In 2015 at Boise State, Ryan Finley (who later reunited with Drenkewitz at Rally) lost to the season in week two, and Brett Rebian stepped in and outdid him on the spot. In the 2021 season in Missouri, a restless Conor Basilak sprinted through the ineffective half-season, which was kind of the whole impetus for this article, to pull the curtain back.
Missouri played four games in the regular season after Basilack’s injury against Vanderbilt. They wisely put him away from Georgia’s poor and sloppy defense, but he’s been ineffective and unmoving in the last three competitions. Now, Missouri has won two of those games: an ugly book victory against a Florida Gators who were collapsing in real time, and an all-out tackle with South Carolina where the passing game was unimportant. In fact, two Bazelak objections have kept this game closer than it needs to be.
Despite Bazelak’s visible struggles and a fan base clamoring for something different – to be fair, this fan base will always be raucous, and that’s what we do – the drinker stood by his man. This does not knock him to do so; Loyalty is a virtue. But I wonder if developing more aggressive Brady Cook or Tyler McConne earlier in the season could have paid off by injecting some life into the old November offense. A plan similar to how Gary Pinkel could mitigate freshman signal-callers — a planned drive, once per half, but abandoned if the game situation dictated it — would have left the staff with a better idea of the contributions they could get. of young people.
Doing this mid-season, and due to an injury to the starting player, would require all of Eli’s leadership and communication skills. Conflicting men rarely succeeded, but a situation in which participation and trust is won through teamwork and frank discussion would have been beneficial to the Missouri crime. Unfortunately, Drenkewitz didn’t learn how to navigate a situation like this through his experience as he climbed through the less dangerous levels of college football. He has one pose, and hasn’t been able to switch to another style to reap the benefits of a well-managed midfield turn.
In 2022, Missouri enters the season with a wide-open quarterback battle between moving QP grads Jack Abraham, Brady Cook, Tyler McConne and real four-star student Sam Horn. Cook & Abraham seem to be at the top of the competition, but it’s still wide open and we likely won’t have a starting name until days before the season opens. What can we learn from the three competitions previously open under Drenkowitz?
In 2015, the Boise State Broncos had a fight between Ryan Finley, who had held the program’s purse for the previous two seasons, and early four-star affiliate Brett Rippian. Ryan Finley won the job, had Fun Week 1 and lost the season in Week 2. Rypien stepped in and set the Mountain West Conference on fire for the next four seasons. As a true freshman, he broke numerous school records, finished first-team MWC All-Conference, and won a Poinsettia Bowl MVP. I’m sorry, but Drenkewitz and his buddies definitely picked the wrong guy here.
But don’t cry over Ryan Finley. He moved to North Carolina – where the old playboy joined him – and built himself a nice little career, including drawing NFL paychecks. But before that all unfolded, he had to win the position in 2015 over Jacoby Myers and Jalan McClendon. Myers eventually moved to a wide receiver, and McClendon ended his career at Baylor as a five-year backup. Finley started for three fantastic seasons, increasing his stats each season and finally making it to the All-ACC first team senior year six. Drinkwitz and Dave Doeren made a great choice in handing him the reins in 2016.
In the 2020 COVID season, Drenkewitz halted the transfer of TCU’s Shawn Robinson to lead the attack on Bazelak, who was an undefeated freshman and had limited action in 2019. Robinson was ineffective and was playing safe by the end of the season, with Bazelak to replace him in the week. 2. Even considering the unprecedented eccentricity of the 2020 season, this was, frankly, a poor decision.
In all three of these races, Drinkwitz and the staff chose the veteran option. Finley saw more activity in college on Rypien in 2015 and McClendon in 2016, Robinson had started in TCU before arriving in Columbia. I expect this pattern to be true, and the job will eventually go to Cook or Abraham. (That’s bad news for fans hoping to see Sam Horn in a meaningful move in 2022, a long-range shot.)
So we have three fights on QB, and twice the wrong decision was made, but in both cases the right man was starting in the middle of the season. Hopefully, Drinkwitz pulls his record in this category down to 0.500 this season.