COLUMBIA- If Mizzou fans are expecting an automatic blow-out victory on Saturday when Southeast Missouri State from the FCS arrives at Faurot Field on Saturday, Mizzou head coach Eliah Drinkwitz had another message at his weekly press conference on Tuesday.
"In my mindset we've got to go play really well," said Drinkwitz, who described several areas of concern when game-planning for SEMO. "They're a very good special teams operation. They've blocked 12 kicks in the last three seasons. They've got multiple coverages which gave us lots of issues last week against Kentucky and against Central Michigan."
Mizzou is coming off a road loss at Kentucky that left the Tigers looking for answers on defense following a 340 yard rushing performance by the Wildcats. Among the changes coming: Defensive Coordinator Steve Wilks will move from the sideline to the press box for the SEMO game. Wilks took personal responsibility for Saturday's breakdowns against UK.
"It wasn't to our standard, not even close," said Wilks. "And I've got to do a much better job of putting our guys in position to be successful."
"They run the football and we haven't stopped the run consistently in the first two games," said Drinkwitz of Southeast Missouri. "So in my mindset, we've got to go play really well."
Drinkwitz also won't let his team forget about the success several FCS (formally known as Division 1-AA) have had early in the season. Eight FCS teams have upset FBS programs over the past two weeks, including East Tennessee State shutting down Vanderbilt 20-3 on September 4th. Drinkwitz said Mizzou players have the results of each of those upsets hanging in their lockers this week so they don't forget what can happen if they don't play up to par against SEMO.
"Our team has that list printed off in their lockers this week," said Drinkwitz. "We're very aware that any team can lose on any given Saturday."
Drinkwitz added that there is no focus on getting players who don't normally play some snaps on Saturday, assuming a lop-sided Tiger win.
"If anybody thinks that they're just gonna get to play this week because we're playing SEMO, they're absolutely insane," said Drinkwitz. "If anybody else plays that's going to be based on the fact that they have earned the opportunity to play. It's not based on, well this is a 1-AA (FCS) school and we're a SEC school so that means 'so and so' should get to play and Johnny gets to go ahead and get in the game this week, I don't ever think that way."
The Tigers and Redhawks kick off at 11 am on Saturday at Faurot Field.