COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
With Mizzou headed to the Gasparilla Bowl to take on Wake Forest, Eli Drinwkitz says there's three big positives that the team is focused on.
Watch the full press conference below.
"When you think about a bowl game, you think first about the location. I think it was was 81 degrees yesterday in Tampa," Drinkwitz said. "The second thing you think about is your matchup. I have a ton of respect for Dave Clawson and Wake Forest and the job that he's done there. They've got one of the best quarterbacks in college football in Sam Hartman."
The third part of this is the date. "It's an awesome opportunity for our guys to play in the bowl game before Christmas and be able to get home and spend the holidays with their family," Drinkwitz said.
The Tigers have had seven players enter the transfer portal since the final regular season game against Arkansas. Drinkwitz said Mizzou projected losing 12 to 14 players to the portal, but says a few more could leave after the bowl game.
"We've had seven guys enter the transfer portal not including walk ons, two of them were seniors. Obviously, the rest are guys who fulfilled roles on our team, but the biggest concern for me right now is probably our guys who are going to not play because of their potential future in the NFL," Drinkwitz said.
Two defensive captains, defensive lineman Isaiah McGuire and safety Martez Manuel, have already announced their decisions to sit out the bowl and declare for the NFL Draft. With Manuel out, the safety position is one of coach Drink's biggest concerns.
"Another thing you got to battle in these games is the four game red-shirt rule," Drinkwitz said. "Ja'Marion Wayne has played in four games and so has DJ Wesolak so those guys would be unavailable for the bowl game."
Drinkwitz said Mizzou is going to submit a waiver to the NCAA about player safety in regards to seeing if they can get the bowl not to count towards the four game red-shirt rule, but he said he's not hopeful that will happen.
Drinkwitz also took time Monday to address rumors that have been on Twitter about Mizzou not wanting to play Kansas in the bowl game.
He started by saying the university submits preferences to the SEC based on a lot of different factors including: what's best for the university, what's best for the fan base and what's best for the student-athletes.
"All the Twitter hate calling us out and fans getting up in an uproar, we'll figure that out when a game is scheduled at Faurot Field and I believe that's Sept. 6, 2025," Drinkwitz said. "We'll see then, but until then, I can keep getting all the Twitter hate the people from Kansas want to put on there, but it don't faze me and we'll see on Faurot Field, buy your tickets early."
The Gasparilla Bowl against Wake Forest is set for 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 23 at Raymond James Stadium.