COLUMBIA, Mo. — Mizzou Football is replacing more than just a head coach this year.

For the second straight season, the Tigers are also replacing a quarterback.

“That is the question that keeps me up at night,” Head Coach Eli Drinkwitz said Wednesday.

Mizzou has had some obvious talent in the pocket for two straight seasons with Drew Lock, who’s now starting for the Denver Broncos.

He was followed by Clemson transfer Kelly Bryant, who did not find the same level of success.

But for the first time since the Maty Mauk/Drew Lock debate, the question of who will be starting for Mizzou at QB still needs an answer and new Head Coach Eli Drinkwitz has plenty of options.

“Well, there’s five quarterbacks in the quarterback race: Shawn Robinson, we’ve got Taylor Powell, we’ve got Connor Bazelak, we’ve got Brady Cook and we have Jack Samsel. We’re excited about what each one brings to the table.”

But with the pandemic shutting down Spring practices, Drinkwitz hasn’t gotten to see them in action much.

“I’ve not seen Connor do anything full speed or live. He was recovering from his ACL. I’ve been told he’s full, but I’ve got no evidence of that. Shawn, I thought, in his three practices did fine. Taylor Powell in his three practices did fine. Jack was learning the offense too. That to me is probably the biggest question on our offense right now.”

And these days, an offensive style depends greatly on your signal caller’s style.

So for a new head coach, not knowing your starter presents a major road block to building an offensive identity.

“Do you, because of the limited practice, go more to a quarterback run game offense. Extra number in the hat. Maybe Micah Wilson at quarterback some in wildcat or Jalen Knox in wildcat just to try to create an extra number just because that’s the stuff that’s easier to do without excessive practice or execution, or do you try to stick with what you did in the past.”

The good news is, now Drinkwitz knows when he will see them back in full action.

The NCAA announced Wednesday preseason practices can begin August 7th, just a day after the coach’s prediction.

“Not a lot of answers for you there and won’t have any until we get our hands on them and do things which hopefully starts August 6th. Being able to do some live stuff where I can see them actually compete for the job.”

They’ll need to work fast with the Tigers’ opener hosting Central Arkansas currently set for September 5th.