Missouri Changes Boost Sense of Oneness After Week 6 | Mizzou Football



After Missouri football’s 48-35 victory over North Texas on Saturday, the focus was on the changes the team made in the week leading up to the game.

What did the players on the defensive line think of their new coach, Al Davis? How had the absence of an advertised depth map changed the intensity of the practice?

First-year defensive lineman Mekhi Wingo said it was older teammates like Akial Byers and Kobie Whiteside who helped the team adjust to the change of coach while bouncing back from the loss.

“We have a group of a lot of older guys so they kept us all together,” Wingo said. “They’ve been through that, the business part of it, a few times, so they really kept their heads up and some of the other younger guys. We have just had a very difficult week of training. Last week (against Tennessee) wasn’t quite the outcome we wanted, and we just really had to go out and compete. If we train better, we play better.

Davis was already a member of the program before his promotion to defensive line coach, meaning he was already a familiar face to the squad he now leads. Wingo said Davis was “looking after” him.

“He’s a player coach,” Wingo said. “We’re going to work hard, he’s going to give you these reps, and the reps will just put us in a position to win.”

Davis took the defensive line squad to dinner at CJ’s Hot Wings on Thursday night, which he called “the best wing in town” on Twitter. It’s not uncommon for the D-line to enjoy pizzas or block wings during the week, but Wingo said Davis wants them out.

Each position group had a team dinner before Saturday’s game. The running back squad and coach Curtis Luper went to the Buffalo Wild Wings, and tight ends coach Casey Woods hosted his squad for dinner at his home.

“It’s important for us, just to be together, to be away from football and to get to know each other better off the pitch,” said Wingo. “That’s kind of what we were lacking as a defense, and we’re getting there now.”

Running back Tyler Badie also highlighted the team’s connectivity and ability to let go of the past after the game. Badie scored three touchdowns and rushed over 300 yards, but attributed much of his success to the offensive line.

“I mean, we got together, focused on ‘that game mentality’,” he said. “It’s not so much about statistics and accolades and things like that, I feel like it’s better for us to come together as a unit. I have the impression that it shows on the ground.

The other big change in Missouri for the week was about staff as well, but not staff. Coach Eliah Drinkwitz announced in his Tuesday press conference that no depth tables will be released and the players are expected to earn their starting spots like they did at fall camp.

After the North Texas game, Drinkwitz clarified that it was not a one-time thing. There will also be no depth chart for the coming weeks.

“Come train Tuesday and Wednesday, and whoever trains the best will start,” said Drinkwitz.

However, very little changed in the offensive and defensive starting groups when they took the field on Saturday. The drastic changes to the starting lineups will likely be due more to injury than anything else as Missouri enter the second half of their season, with four of their six games remaining against teams currently ranked in the Top 25 of the season. ‘AP.



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