The Honeymoon is Over For Drink, and That’s a Good Thing

Missouri football is a scorned lover. We’ve been emotionally manipulated, heartbroken, led astray, made fools of, we have been put through the ringer. When things are good, things are great. When they’re bad, everyone becomes completely emotionally checked out because they’ve seen this ending so many times before.

Then, there’s hope. A nerdy, well-spoken, enthusiastic suitor comes along. They are successful. They are talented. They say all the right things…and then they get 11 a.m. 60-burger’d by a mediocre Tennessee and suddenly, she ain’t your ho no mo’.

Reality hit hard this weekend. Mizzou just isn’t that good. Turns out Nick Bolton was literally the entire defense. Turns out Steve Wilks and his band of NFL washouts and overcomplicated/ineffective pro-style defensive scheme is a huge problem when you combine it with a massive dearth of talent on the defensive side of the ball. It’s not just the lack of talent, it is the complete absence of effort on that side of the ball, which ultimately led to the firing of the defensive line coordinator. A start, I guess. We’ll see if Drink has a full measure in him should the defense continue to be an embarrassment.

The offensive line is leaky and inexperienced. The wideouts are a young, exciting group with huge upside, but they are clearly raw and unpolished. Conor Bazelak seems to have an issue moving the ball down the field. Tyler Badie can’t do everything. I am very concerned about what this offense looks like next year without him.

But it’s okay. The dreams of 8-4 and white picket fences have vanished for the time being. We are seeing how thin the tail end of Barry Odom’s recruiting classes really were. Badie, Bazelak and Harrison Mevis seem to be the only ones carrying any sort of water at the moment. The rest have either transferred out or have been buried on the bench. Eli purged the roster for the most part and this is what he has to work with.

However, all the fingers cannot be pointed at the ex-husband. This, right here, is unacceptable.

Business decision. In the second quarter. Against Tennessee. In week four. This looks like the effort of someone who will likely be in the transfer portal come December. That’s also a guy who turned down offers from Texas and Alabama to come play at Mizzou. This concerns me enormously.

The honeymoon is over for Drink. It is obvious that there was never going to be a quick fix to the program. We’re in it for another long haul. 

Mizzou is still reeling from the disastrous end to the Gary Pinkel era, that compounded with the disastrous Barry Odom era, that compounded with a disastrous coaching search that ended up working out great with Mizzou landing one of the best young coaches in the country thanks to an 11th hour hail mary. It wasn’t going to be easy.

I am an idiot to think that it was going to be cake. It’s never cake with Mizzou. Sometimes it looks like a big, beautiful, black and gold cake, but it’s actually stale multigrain bread covered in horseradish and dog shit. Such is life.

Things could be worse. The future has never been brighter for Mizzou. Drink is slated to bring in Mizzou’s best recruiting class in decades.

As for the present, there is a boatload of work to be done, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Steve Wilks isn’t the answer and his hiring was easily the worst personnel decision that could have been made this early on in the Drink era. 

I get why Drink was attempting to sober expectations during the offseason. At the very least, it seems he knew what was coming. So, he hired a former NFL coach to run his defense and potentially get some of his seniors ready for the next level. You never know. The gamble has turned out to be a disaster.

The honeymoon is over. Things aren’t as great as they seemed. It was dumb to think that it was going to be easy for Mizzou. Things are never easy for Mizzou.

Back to reality. We’ve been here before. It sucks.