WATCH: Eli Drinkwitz speaks on day one of Mizzou football camp
Eli Drinkwitz opened the training camp of Mizzou football on Monday and spoke about what he said from day one.
Chris Kwiecinski, Columbia Daily Tribune
Sunday marked the start of the final week of preseason camp in Missouri before regular practice ahead of the Tigers’ first game. After Sunday’s training session, head coach Eli Drinkwitz and the players answered questions from the local media.
Here’s what you should know about Sunday availability.
“We must react”
The pre-season camp is slowly coming to an end. With a little over two weeks until the season-opening contest against Louisiana Tech on September 1, the team is coming together and position battles settled.
Drinkwitz was happy with certain parts of the team’s working together, but looked to step up the effort as the season neared.
“I like the chemistry in our team, I like the cohesion of our team,” said Drinkwitz. “I think we need to keep building toughness and resilience.”
He said the Tigers looked like they were “going through the motions” in the final three periods of Sunday practice. He said that this needs to get better for MU to have a prosperous 2022.
“That’s not enough for us if we want to take a step as a program,” said Drinkwitz. “If we’re content with being average, and that’s fine, we can pat them on the back and give away popsicles, but we have to continue to be tougher and more physical. In practice, we have to react to every period.”
“I have to be 100% this year”
Harrison Mevis was one of the SEC’s top kickers last season. He finished the year with 23 of his 25 field goal attempts, including all three attempts from 50+ yards.
He was named SEC Player of the Week twice in 2021, and voters at the SEC Media Days gave him third-team All-SEC honors for the 2022 season. It’s still not enough for Mevis.
“It doesn’t matter what I’ve been doing for the past two years,” Mevis said. “I do not care. I’m just as hungry as I was in my first year. I want to do all the kicks this year, 92% is unacceptable for me, I have to be 100% this year.”
Mevis was ranked as a preseason first-team All-American by Athlon Sports and Lindy’s and a second-team by Phil Steele. He was ranked the SEC’s top kicker by USA Today’s beat writers.
He said he’s pleased with the attention but generally blocks conversations from outside the program.
“I try not to really think about it,” Mevis said. “It’s obviously nice to be recognized, but if I want to be recognized, I want to be an all-American, but I want to be an all-American for this team. I want to be there for this team.”
As for the battle for the starting spot that Drinkwitz mentioned at camp, it remains unexplained. He said he would like to have the spot cleared by the end of the week.
Drinkwitz noted that two of the three punters, Sean Koetting, Jack Stonehouse and Luke Bauer, have excelled so far but said the third could have a big week and catch up.
“These two guys really fought,” Drinkwitz said, without specifying which two.
The “star” of the show
Redshirt newcomer Daylan Carnell was all over the defensive backfield. Last season, he was transferred to Nickel Corner upon arrival on campus and then taken to safety during fall camp.
He retained his red shirt throughout the season and now operates on the “Star” safety position established by new defensive coordinator Blake Baker, who added that spot and removed the nickel from the Missouri program.
“I really like it,” Carnell said of his new spot, where he’ll likely play behind senior Martez Manuel. “(I) am very involved in the run and also very involved in the pass, so I really like it. … It makes a lot of fun.”
Carnell said the lessons he learned elsewhere in the defensive backfield have helped him in his new role, which Baker has described as “defending quarterback.”
For example, his time at Free Safety helped him with his ball skills.
“Cornerback really helped me to be in the corners and learn a lot of man coverage,” said Carnell. “At Star we sometimes fall behind and sometimes we are in midfield. Nickel helped me with the slot because at Star we sometimes guard the slot.”
Ty’Ron Hopper wore a green non-contact jersey during Sunday’s practice session, with Drinkwitz noting he is not seriously injured.
“He’s a contact player,” Drinkwitz said. “And he’s kind of a contact player, even if he’s not supposed to be, so we’re trying to put him in a green jersey, trying to slow him down a little bit, but he’ll be back, ready to roll tomorrow.”
Running backs Nathaniel Peat and Tavorus Jones are still recovering from what Drinkwitz described as “soft-tissue injuries.”
Drinkwitz also said Marcus Scott’s safety is still limited in practice after summer surgery to repair an existing injury but will hopefully return to normal by the start of the school year.
Matt Stahl is the Missouri Athletics Beat Reporter for the Columbia Daily Tribune. Follow him on Twitter @mattstahl97.