It’s the most vital place in sports activities. Yes, generally cliches could be true.
Even the most informal of soccer followers can acknowledge the distinction that having a great-to-elite quarterback can have on a crew. Rams followers noticed it when Kurt Warner took over for Trent Green. Chiefs followers noticed it in the transition from Alex Smith to Pat Mahomes. Hell, we have seen it at Mizzou. When did the program elevate beneath Gary Pinkel? When Brad Smith began an extended line of elite — or at the very least nicely above common — abilities behind middle.
No different place in soccer can match the buoyancy that having an ideal QB can deliver to your program. Eli Drinkwitz must be nicely conscious of this, as he is efficiently been in a position to inject high-end expertise into virtually each different place on the roster and nonetheless cannot get out of the .500 zone.
For a coach who got here with a “QB whisperer” status, Drinkwitz’s monitor file at the most vital place has been lackluster. His first starter at Mizzou was taking part in a unique place by 12 months’s finish. His second starter is about to fulfill his future as the finest QB in the MAC. And his third starter had to white knuckle by way of a bum shoulder as a result of the depth behind him wasn’t adequate.
Things must be totally different now. No one would mistake the expertise in Mizzou’s QB room as the finest in the nation, however there’s sufficient to make the Tigers a aggressive entity in the SEC.
The new man ought to inject some critical life into the room. There are causes to assume Jake Garcia will not stay up to his blue-chip pedigree. On the different hand, it is simple to see how he might. After all, Kirby Moore has some familiarity with elite QBs and could also be the coach to deliver it out of him. In Drinkwitz’s time as Mizzou’s coach, not one sign caller has boasted Garcia’s pure expertise and his expertise at a Power Five faculty. Press the right buttons, and the offense abruptly will get fairly scary.
No one must be writing Brady Cook out of the equation, both. While you may have to be trustworthy about Cook’s struggles in 2022, you even have to reckon with two nuance components. First, he improved all through the season, placing in his finest video games as Mizzou scraped their method to bowl rivalry. Second, he did all of it with a shoulder that wanted surgical restore. Given a clear invoice of well being, might Cook be a greater model of the man he was this season? If so, that could be adequate to bridge the hole for Horn or Johnson in 2024.
Speaking of these two, let’s not neglect that Drinkwitz has two younger extremely touted prospects of his personal in the room. Horn failed to meaningfully push for snaps as a freshman, however reportedly impressed the workers together with his work ethic down the stretch of the season. Is he due for a sophomore leap like his former teammate Dominic Lovett? And whereas it is unfair to anticipate Gabarri Johnson to take the world by storm in summer time ball, stranger issues have occurred. We’ve seen younger twin menace QBs get significant reserve snaps in black-and-gold. Apologies to Tyler Macon.
In the Drinkwitz period, Mizzou’s QB room has by no means appeared this promising. There’s motive to imagine that each scholarship passer might take the reins of the program and make them his personal. And with loads of expertise and expertise in the room, the cream ought to rise to the high. You’d be daring to guess on any considered one of them outright, however is not that the level of accumulating expertise? That considered one of them will inevitably pan out?
Eli Drinkwitz is coming into his make-or-break season as Mizzou’s coach. He’s buffed the roster in virtually each space aside from the one which counts the most.
In order to make it, he has to get the QB choice right.