As Missouri (0-2) gets set to take on #17 LSU this Saturday in Columbia, it’s clear that the mission statement for 2020 is keep improving and establish an identity. A big part of accomplishing the latter could be developing freshman Connor Bazelak as the face of the current rebuild.
After the first two drives of Mizzou’s 35-12 loss last Saturday to Tennessee went awry behind transfer QB Shawn Robinson, head coach Eli Drinkwitz decided to go with the freshman. The results were solid, 13 of 21 for 218 yards and you could see a difference in the way the offense operated.
“I was cool calm and collected.” Bazelak said after the loss. “I don’t get very nervous. I think the offense kind of rallies around that.”
Bazelak, a former 3-star prospect from Dayton, Ohio had an impressive offer list coming out of high school. Schools like Georgia, Kentucky, Iowa and many more offered the 6’4, 205 LB pro-style QB. He committed to Mizzou back in 2019 to then offensive coordinator Derek Dooley.
Bazelak Takes Over
After sustaining an ACL tear during his lone start in 2019 and enduring a coaching change, Bazelak found himself in a battle with TCU transfer Shawn Robinson. Robinson did not play poorly during Mizzou’s first game against Alabama by any means, yet he seemed to struggle with Drinkwitz’s option attack. The QB change during the Tennessee game seemed to be a clear message from Drinkwitz. With the team struggling out of the gate, it was time to turn over the reigns.
Gauging from the first two games, this Missouri team is not likely to find itself in the win column often. What coach Drinkwitz needs to do with these remaining eight games is establish a culture.
Mizzou is devoid of talent at many key positions including receiver, offensive line and defensive line. It will be of the utmost importance that he establishes a quarterback to run his “pro-tempo” system. Highly touted quarterback recruit Tylor Macon will be coming in next year as a freshman, but the present belongs to Bazelak.
As Drinkwitz continues to recruit at a high level, he needs to establish a plan of action for 2021 and beyond. A known quarterback commodity goes a long way towards accomplishing this.