Sunday marked the beginning of the last week of Missouri’s preseason camp, before regular practice starts ahead of the Tigers’ first game. After Sunday’s session, head coach Eli Drinkwitz and players fielded questions from local media.
Here's what to know from Sunday’s availability.
'We’ve got to respond’
Preseason camp is starting to come to a close. With just over two weeks until the season-opening contest against Louisiana Tech on Sept. 1, the team is coming together and position battles are being settled.
Drinkwitz was happy with certain parts of how the team has come together, but was looking for an increase in effort as the season draws near.
“I like the chemistry of our team, I like the togetherness of our team,” Drinkwitz said. “I think we’ve got to continue to build the toughness and resiliency.”
He said that for the last three periods of Sunday’s practice, the Tigers seemed as if they were “going through the motions.” He said that will need to get better for MU to have a successful 2022.
“That’s not good enough for us if we want to take a step as a program,” Drinkwitz said. “If we were content with being average and that’s fine, we can pat them on the back and give away popsicles, but we need to continue to be tougher and more physical. We’ve got to respond to every period in practice.”
‘I’ve got to be 100% this year’
Harrison Mevis was one of the top kickers in the SEC last season. He finished the year having made 23 of his 25 field goal tries, including all three attempts from over 50 yards.
He earned SEC player of the week twice in 2021, and voters at SEC Media Days gave him third-team All-SEC honors for the 2022 season. For Mevis, it’s still not enough.
"It doesn’t matter what I did the last two years,” Mevis said. “It does not matter to me. I’m just as hungry as I was my freshman year. I want to make all the kicks this year; 92% for me is unacceptable. I’ve got to be 100% this year.”
Mevis was ranked as a first-team preseason all-American by Athlon Sports and Lindy’s and second-team by Phil Steele. He was ranked as the top kicker in the SEC by a vote of USA Today’s beat writers.
He said he was pleased with the attention, but generally blocks out talk from outside the program.
“I try not to really think about it,” Mevis said. “It’s nice to be recognized obviously, but if I’m going to be recognized, I want to be an all-American but I want to be an all-American for this team. I want to be there for this team.”
As for the battle for the starting punter position that Drinkwitz has mentioned throughout camp, it remains unsettled. He said he’d like to have the spot more settled by the end of the week.
Drinkwitz did note that two of the three punters, Sean Koetting, Jack Stonehouse and Luke Bauer, have stood out so far, but said the third could have a big week and catch back up.
“Both of those guys have really been battling,” Drinkwitz said, without specifying which two.
The ‘star’ of the show
Redshirt freshman Daylan Carnell has been all over the defensive backfield. Last season he was switched to nickel corner when he arrived on campus, then moved over to safety during fall camp.
He preserved his redshirt during the season, and is now working at the “star” safety position instituted by new defensive coordinator Blake Baker, who added that spot and removed the nickel from the Missouri scheme.
“I really like it,” Carnell said of his new spot, where he will likely play behind senior Martez Manuel. “(I’m) really involved in the run and also very involved in the pass, so I really like it. ... It’s a lot of fun.”
Carnell said the lessons he learned playing elsewhere in the defensive backfield have helped him in his new role, which he said Baker has termed “the quarterback of the defense.”
For example, his time at free safety helped him with his ball skills.
“Cornerback helped me a lot, being with the corners, learning a lot of man coverage,” Carnell said. “At star sometimes we’ll drop back and be in the middle of the field sometimes. Nickel helped me in the slot because at star we guard slot sometimes.”
Ty’Ron Hopper was wearing a green non-contact jersey during practice on Sunday, with Drinkwitz noting he is not seriously injured.
"He’s a contact player,” Drinkwitz said. “And he’s kind of a contact player even when he’s not supposed to be, so we’re trying to get him into a green jersey, try to slow him down a bit, but he’ll be back, ready to roll tomorrow.”
Running backs Nathaniel Peat and Tavorus Jones are still recovering from what Drinkwitz termed “soft-tissue injuries."
Drinkwitz also said safety Marcus Scott is still limited in practice after undergoing summer surgery to clean up an existing injury, but will hopefully return to normal for the start of the school year.
Matt Stahl is the Missouri athletics beat reporter for the Columbia Daily Tribune. Follow him on Twitter @mattstahl97.
This article originally appeared on Columbia Daily Tribune: Where Mizzou football is heading into the third week of preseason camp