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Mizzou football working in the trenches ahead of Drinkwitz’s return to Auburn

COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)

The Mizzou football team will make its first-ever trip to Auburn on Saturday to kick off SEC play at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Ahead of that game, head coach Eli Drinkwitz will be paying special attention to the offensive line.

You can watch extended highlights of Tuesday's practice in the video player below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EKpB7Mydud8

The line came away with five penalties in MU's win against Abilene Christian. Drinkwitz said those are negative-yardage plays you can't give up on first and second down.

"That's not any one person's fault, but it's an alarming trend that needs to be fixed," he said. "It's about creating competition today and tomorrow and seeing who has the best week of practice. Whoever does will run out there on Saturday."

Auburn comes into Saturday's game with what Drinkwitz said is a tremendous front four led by senior edge Derick Hall. But, he added that the strength of Auburn's lines is not adding any extra urgency to figuring things out on the line.

"We got to figure out our offensive line issues because we got to figure out ourself first. It's about us. We're gonna play good opponents every week. Holding penalties don't have anything to do with your opponent, it has to do with having hands inside, being conscious of not grabbing. False starts have nothing to do with going against a good defensive line. It has everything to do with understanding and having discipline."

Drinkwitz also said that he wants to see more from his own defensive line. The group has not been as disruptive as he would like so far this season. In the last two games the d-line only tallied one sack and four tackles for loss.

"Have not seen the chaos that we need to and that's not just focused on the defensive line. Our linebackers have to hit gaps and we've got to create more disruption in our pressures," Drinkwitz said.

It is the first time MU will take the field at Auburn, however, Drinkwitz is familiar with Jordan-Hare Stadium. Before taking a job as the running backs coach at Arkansas State, Coach Drink worked as a quality control assistant at Auburn under Gus Malzahn.

He said that Jordan-Hare is a tough place to play due to the environment that the student section creates, but he is not going to make it bigger than it is: another road game.

He credits current Tiger head coach Bryan Harsin with keeping him in college football. Harsin was the head coach at Arkansas State where Drinkwitz rose to the offensive coordinator role.

"Obviously I know coach Harsin very well, indebted to him and his wife Kes and got three great children," he said. "Coach Harsin gave me an opportunity and believed in me when not very many other people did and really kept me in college football in 2013. I'm very appreciative to him for that."

Mizzou and Auburn will kick off at 11:00 a.m. at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Alabama.

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Nathalie Jones

Nathalie anchors and reports sports for ABC17. She started working at the station in June 2020.

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