Missouri athletic director Desiree Reed-Francois didn’t feel the Tigers were the odd team in the Southeastern Conference during the bowl selection process.
Yes, MU was the only team in the league not to have been selected for the college football playoffs or a previous league-affiliated bowl, but she and Missouri head football coach Eli Drinkwitz are enjoying the opportunity. of the Armed Forces Bowl.
“We weren’t shocked at all,” Reed-Francois said. “We knew this was going to be a potential football game for us. We had researched several different bowl scenarios throughout the week. And the league did a great job of communicating with us throughout the weekend. -end saying, “Hey, it can happen or it can happen depending on this. ‘ And there are all these different variables. “
Following:Mizzou football heads to Armed Forces vs Army game in Fort Worth
The Missouri playoff competition kicks off on Dec. 22 at 7 p.m. at Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth, Texas, where the TCU football team plays their home games.
The game takes place 639 miles from the Enterprise Center in St. Louis, where the MU men’s basketball team will compete in the annual Braggin ‘Rights game against Illinois, with a notice scheduled an hour after the kick off. sending.
Reed-Francois said there was an official pre-game party at The Wheelhouse in downtown St. Louis ahead of Braggin ‘Rights with plans to show the first part of the bowl game before going to watch. basketball.
“We certainly shared with the conference that the Braggin ‘Rights game was in an hour’s delay. But we’re going to make the most of it,” she said. “… We are delighted to be able to go bowling, regardless of the date and time.”
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MU football has had a few practices already since the late-season regular-season loss to Arkansas on Nov. 26, with Drinkwitz saying there was open competition for playing time, including quarterback.
“I think that’s a great question, something everyone wants to know. I’ve had conversations with the whole group, and these last two practices have been 100% open competition,” said Drinkwitz. “Everyone has had opportunities with (starters).
“And whoever we think gives us the best chance to win and to develop our football team is going to play in the ball game. And so we have a little time for this competition to develop and take place.”
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Drinkwitz confirmed the departure of tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator Casey Woods on Sunday and said a deal to promote interim defensive line coach Al Davis to the full-time position had been accepted pending the “legalities” of the contract.
Also in Colombia, Doak Walker Award finalist and running back Tyler Badie, who trained with the team over the past week and is still expected to make the bowl game.
Drinkwitz himself has been on the road to recruit most of the time since the loss to the Razorbacks, including taking a flight for a home visit on Sunday night directly after a Zoom call to talk about his selection at the Armed Forces Bowl.
This gave him time to spot potential bowl opponents at a minimum until Monday morning. The Army could be a step behind that, with a game against the Navy on Saturday.
Black Knights head coach Jeff Monken has admitted he won’t start preparing for the Tigers until after he faces the contenders.
The biggest challenge facing the military is obvious, but difficult: to stop its offensive triple option program.
“We haven’t broken that down yet,” Drinkwitz said. “We have already championed the triple option. Obviously it’s a unique challenge, especially in such a short time frame. So we’ll have to reframe the way we organize the next two weeks, especially around the finals, to prepare. for this game. “
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Missouri linebacker Blaze Alldredge, who played against Army while at Rice, recognized the challenge of containing what the Black Knights can accomplish offensively.
“We have to make sure we’re going there with the right frame of mind, that it’s going to be air combat,” Alldredge said. “I think the biggest difference, and I noticed the biggest difference when we played them, is that you have the triple option. And it’s hard to defend because even if it’s so little, everything comes together. looks. And that’s where they sneak up on you, right on the dives.
“It’s hard enough to stop those back dives, with all these cut blocks, crushing you. But you can’t get locked into the monotony of these practices, because what hurt us, during my time where we We played them at Rice, did we end up falling victim to one of their only passing games of the game. It ended up being a big blow, it was the touchdown that made the difference. “
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Of Missouri’s last five bowl games, including the next game against Army, three have been in Texas, including the 2013 Cotton Bowl and the 2017 Texas Bowl.
MU currently has 17 Texas soccer players, and two of its assistant coaches, running back coach Curtis Luper and secondary coach Aaron Fletcher, are also from Lone Star State.
Luper came to Columbia from TCU and is a veteran of the United States Army. Missouri defensive back Shawn Robinson started as the Horned Frogs quarterback before moving to MU.
While no online screening has seen Missouri heading for Fort Worth until Sunday, the showdown with the military is where the cards fall.
Contact Eric Blum at email@example.com. Follow @ByEricBlum on Twitter.
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