Mizzou’s Football Notebook: Why the Spring Game Was Canceled and Player Evolution

The school announced in a press release Wednesday that the Black and Gold Missouri spring football game scheduled for Saturday has been closed to the public due to “space restrictions.”

However, there are a number of other things as to why the team dumped the game and will instead hold a normal indoor practice at Devine Pavillion which will see a brawl still open to parents, former players and the media.

“When you look at the calendar and the weather in March, Friday and Saturday are obviously going to be very cold,” says Mizzou’s coach. Eli Drinkowitz He said. “I don’t think anyone wants to practice on a Saturday. So, that was off. You can bring it back in for a week but we have spring break next Saturday and I didn’t think the fans’ attendance would be that good. And I don’t think our players’ attendance would be that good. (Also,) being so close to the game and the parents actually showed up I didn’t feel it was fair to them (not being able to come)”.

For last year’s spring game, players were drafted into teams but with some minor injuries on the roster, unwillingness to push the veterans too hard for spring game and a lack of depth in some positions, the team decided it wouldn’t. Be the way the team wanted it to be done.

“We’ve only had four attacking tackles that we’ve been training all spring and I don’t think that’s the situation we want Javon Foster Drinkowitz said he took a lot of snaps in the spring game. “We have sort of the same thing in a lot of other positions – the safety position at the moment has injuries that aren’t long term or serious but we’re going to keep them out this week. We weren’t going to be able to split teams the way we wanted them to in order to create a game-like atmosphere for the fans. “.

The big concerns remain center and tight end

All spring, the coaching staff said every position was up for grabs. For positions like quarterback, tight end, quarterback, and left guard that may be truer than other positions.

When it comes to tight end and center, especially, they seem to have more questions than other positions up for grabs.

“Yeah, we have to get better, honestly,” said Drinkowitz, referring to the quarterback. We weren’t consistent enough in catching the football (and) we weren’t consistent enough to play physically behind our pads at the right cushion level.”

Not only are some fundamentals an issue for the position, but Drinkowitz mentioned players vying for the spot (Connor TollisonAnd Pines Polgar And Drake HismeyerYou need to get bigger to handle the demands of the position. This was something Drinkowitz said about Tollison early last season.

Tollison is currently listed at 6-foot-4, 286 pounds, Polgar is listed at 6-foot-2, 326 pounds while Heismeyer comes in at 6-foot-3, 302 pounds.

“We have to lift weight, play more physically, and match the intensity of what it takes to play in the SEC, and we just don’t have that right now,” Drinkowitz said.

If Drinkowitz doesn’t see the improvement he likes, he said it’s possible the team could move someone from somewhere else to play center.

“So, that’s a situation where we have to be open to moving other players around to see who they can catch because there’s an old adage in baseball that I think applies to football, ‘You’re only as good as you are a quarterback,'” Drinkowitz said, “and you have to Be strong in the middle to be effective.” “On offense, that would be your center and linebacker and on defense, that would be your defensive tackles, middle linebacker and free safety.”

However, Drinkowitz didn’t mince much words when it came to tight ends.

“I think they’re trying,” said Drinkowitz, “but we have to be more physical on the point of attack.” “We have to be more consistent in catching the ball.”

The team has a four-star signing Brett Norfleet It comes later in the year, but it won’t be an option this spring because he’s still finishing high school. If the Tigers aren’t content at center or tight end after Spring Ball, they’ll likely see what they can get in the transfer gate when it opens May 1-15.

Players who like

The spring game was a great indicator of who could translate his game in practice into live action in front of an audience. Still, Drinkowitz is still excited about the spring performance of a number of players, starting with one of his better defensive players.

Ennis Rackestraw “He’s done a good job in terms of focus,” said Drinkowitz, “and you can tell he’s determined to get what he wants to achieve. He’s got a lot of attention to detail whether it’s singles, singles or circumference training.”

Rakestraw is looking to build on his 2022 season that ranked him third in the conference in pass deflections with 12 tackles with 36 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, three fumbles and a fumble recovery.

Jaden Jernigan On the defensive line, he continued to change his body positively and be an influential player from within and with him Darius (Robinson) “He was sliding into defensive end most of the spring, and (Jernigan) took advantage of his representatives and his opportunity to influence the game,” said Drinkowitz.

Jernigan rejoins the top five defensive tackle room starting quarterbacks in 2023.

Jaylon Carliss It does a really great job being intentional in our practices, particularly in our tackle drills and duplication handling circuits,” Drinkowitz said. I think he does a really good job of taking the right angles while also taking advantage of things that he knew he should be aware of.”

Carliss was second on the team for lost tackles in 2021 with 11 and third last year with 11, so tackles have been a major focus for him the past two seasons.

All-American fullback transfer from JUCO’s first team Triston Newson He had “a great spring and was player of the day several times” for both special teams and defense.

Finally on the defensive side, a three-star signing Jackie Lang He’s come a long way in his short time at the college level.

“(The alumnus) came in early and got some rep with the first-team defensive end,” Drinkowitz said. “So, I really admire Jahkay and Triston and they obviously have to keep getting better.”

Offensively, Drinkowitz said that wide receiver Mookie Cooper The offensive player of the day was on multiple occasions while running back Nathaniel Pitt It looks most comfortable in outline and captures details well. quarterback Jake Garcia He got his best on Tuesday after he threw a few passes in a one-and-two-minute drill while carrying an Oklahoma wide receiver Theo Weisz Continue to impress.

On special teams, Towson transferred the punter, Drinkowitz said Riley Williams He was doing as well as he was competing with Luke Bauer to the starting point.

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