'I didn't do my job today': What Mizzou coach Eli Drinkwitz said after losing to Tennessee
It was a lopsided and historic loss for the Tigers on Saturday.
Missouri got pounded 62-24 by Tennessee at Faurot Field, the first time the Tigers have given up 60 or more points in a game since losing to Tennessee 63-38 in 2016.
The defense struggled so much, it entered the record book as just the third time the Tigers have allowed 28 points in the first quarter since 1938.
"To say I'm disappointed is an understatement," Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz said. "It's my responsibility to have this team prepared to represent this university in the right way, and I didn't do my job today."
Here's what Drinkwitz said after the loss to Tennessee:
Opening statement on the game
Missouri gave up 45 first-half points against Tennessee. The last time that happened was Oct. 13, 1990, when the Tigers lost to No. 7 Nebraska 69-21.
Drinkwitz said the work starts Sunday to correct the mistakes, of which there were many.
"We'll go back to work tomorrow to get it corrected," Drinkwitz said. "This was uncharacteristic of this football team. This football team is a team that fights and we didn't. We weren't ready today, and that's on me as a head football coach, and we will work to correct that and to be better. We've got a long way to go.
"But it starts with me, and it starts with me doing everything I can to make sure that we make forward progress. We didn't do that today. We took a step back today, but it doesn't have to define us. We keep moving forward. That's what we're gonna do now."
On modifying the defensive front
Usually, the Tigers' defense operates out of a 4-2-5 alignment. This means there are four down linemen, two linebackers and three defensive backs.
On Saturday, Missouri switched the 4-2 look to a 3-3 look, meaning the defense used three down linemen and three linebackers.
"We're just trying to throw them off balance," Drinkwitz said. "We thought we could fit the gaps and maybe get the runs to bounce a little bit, but weren't able to maintain that gap integrity and gave up some big runs."
Was effort an issue?
A video replay shared on social media appeared to show defensive back Ennis Rakestraw slowing up when he could have at the least dived in an attempt to stop Tyion Evans from scoring a touchdown.
That prompted a question to Drinkwitz about the team's effort.
Drinkwitz didn't question the effort, however, pointing to a goal-line stand in the fourth quarter.
"I don't think so," Drinkwitz said. "You could easily just give them the end zone; we didn't do that. Our offense went 99 yards and scored. So there was still fight. We're still fighting. We weren't executing, but we were still fighting."
On his message to the locker room
Drinkwitz said his players have two options after Saturday's lopsided loss: blame each other or work to fix it.
"You either circle up as teammates and coaches and fight for each other and fight your way out of this, or point fingers and blame. When you walk out of that building, everybody's gonna tell you it's your fault or somebody else's fault, they're gonna point stuff out on social media, whatever. But at the end of the day, the only people who can solve it are in that room. It's coaches and players working together as a team.
"We're not doing that right now, that's on me. If you come back to work tomorrow, come back as a team. We're gonna work as a team. We'll find a way to improve. I don't know what the ceiling is for this team. It's got to be better than it was today."
On considering a switch at defensive coordinator
It was a historically bad day, but Drinkwitz said in his postgame news conference it was too early to think about the consideration of moving on from defensive coordinator Steve Wilks or making any kind of coaching change.
"You know, I just stepped off the football field," Drinkwitz said. "I haven't even considered anything like that. So I have no comment or anything like that."
Read more Mizzou football news
- Final score and recap: Tennessee dismantles Mizzou 62-24
- What we learned in Mizzou football's blowout loss to Tennessee
- GALLERY: Mizzou football trounced 62-24 by Tennessee
- Mizzou's Shawn Robinson finds his groove after switch to defensive back
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