Missouri football mailbag: Wilks, walk-out songs and more

Emily Leiker

The Missourian asked Missouri football fans on Twitter what they wanted to know, as spring practice has come to a close. Here’s a mix of serious and fun questions and answers.

Does the growing prominence of the transfer portal help/hurt schools like Mizzou? – Marty R. 

The transfer portal boom across college football has definitely been an interesting storyline over the past few years. MU picked up a number of transfer players this offseason — Mookie Cooper, Realus George Jr. and Daniel Robledo — who have already made an impact this spring, so I would say it definitely benefits the Tigers. Missouri had one of its highest-ranked recruiting classes with its 2021 class. 

While it may benefit some schools, there’s debate over whether the transfer portal is still benefitting student-athletes. The oversaturation is displacing a lot of players who opt to leave their original schools for whatever reason, and due to scholarship caps there’s not always room for a junior or senior transfer over a freshman four- or five-star prospect. 

What do you expect to translate from how Steve Wilks coached in the NFL to how he coaches a college defense and what do you expect to be different? – Nick K. 

Wilks seems to be pretty set on running Missouri’s defense like he’s run his NFL units, with a few switch ups due to differences between collegiate and professional offenses. He’s primarily run a 4-3 base defense. 

The learning process has been a slow but steady one for the Tigers this spring from what we’ve heard, and Wilks said he knows he might have to re-teach some concepts come fall. The biggest switch is from man coverage, which previous defensive coordinator Ryan Walters ran, to zone coverage in the hopes of earning more turnovers. 

“They played a lot of man last year, which you saw really the limited amount of takeaways because our back was to the ball all the time,” Wilks said March 9. “Now, zone eyes, being able to see to the one, going through the route progression, getting the jump on the quarterback. I’ve been very impressed with how quickly we picked those things up.”

If Eli Drinkwitz had a walk-up song, what would it be? Follow up, what would be Emily Leiker’s? – McClain B. 

I actually did some digging into Drinkwitz’s Twitter to see if I could find any hints about what type of music he’s into, but couldn’t find any. The closest I found was a Reddit CFB tweet from 2019, back when Drinkwitz was at Appalachian State, that said the team spent a lightning delay listening to rap music.

Having grown up in Arkansas and spending most of his career in states with affinities for country music, however, I feel fairly confident guessing it might be his favorite genre. I’m thinking old-school country — John Denver, Hank Williams, George Strait. That being said, I went back-and-forth on a few songs before settling on “Thank God I’m a Country Boy.” 

As for mine, my current pick would probably be “…Ready for It?” by Taylor Swift. I’ve been listening to Reputation a lot lately. 

Rank Mizzou’s uniforms from best to worst. – Aria G. 

1. White pants/white jersey/white “Block M” helmet

2. Black pants/black jersey/black “Block M” helmet

3. White pants/black jersey/white MU logo helmet

4. White pants/white jersey/white MU logo helmet

5. Gold pants/black jersey/black MU logo helmet

6. Black pants/gold jersey/black “Block M” helmet

7. Black pants/white jersey/black MU logo helmet

8. Gold pants/white jersey/gold “Block M” helmet

If you could create three doughnuts and design them after personalities or playing styles of players on the football team, what doughnuts would you make and why? – David C. 

Case Cook (OL): Yeast doughnut with a maple bourbon frosting, bacon, and a chocolate drizzle. Although he doesn’t have his mullet anymore, I reckon Cook’s still a “business in the front, party in the back” type of guy, and I think a bit of a twist on a more classic maple-bacon doughnut fits that. 

Ben Key (DL): Yeast bismark filled with raspberry jam, topped with a pink buttercream and coconut flakes. Key is the first-ever Australian to be rostered by the Tigers, so I felt like I needed to pay homage to his home country. These are inspired by a popular snack biscuit called Iced VoVos. 

Tyler Badie (RB): Buttermilk cake doughnut with chocolate frosting and black and gold sprinkles. Not the most creative, I know, but Badie has a fun personality and has been a fan favorite during his time at MU. His doughnut had to be a nod to the Tigers.  

How will Mizzou hurt me this year? – Jordan W. 

Great question, Jordan, though without knowing how Missouri has hurt you specifically in the past, I’m worried I won’t be able to give you the most personalized answer. 

If it’s usually the offense that causes you pain, one thing that could be an issue is a lack of depth on the O-line. There’s a fairly strong starting group anchored by Cook and Michael Maietti, but the second and third stringers were routinely collapsing in on the QB. If the defense is causing you pain, you might shed some tears watching it take the field without Nick Bolton this season.