Chat Mizzou sports with Dave Matter at 11 a.m. Thursday

Chat Mizzou sports with Dave Matter at 11 a.m. Thursday

Bring your Tigers football, basketball and recruiting questions, and talk to Mizzou beat writer Dave Matter in a live chat at 11 a.m. Thursday.

    Greetings, chatters. What a wild week it's already been, but the good news (for me) is I'm not flying into a hurricane tomorrow. I'll be here for the next couple hours to take all your questions. Fire away.
    drops, OL, DL struggles - this is much more about talent than coaching isn’t it? If so, gonna be a long season
    I'm not sure I'd lump in the offensive line here. I think that unit has held up pretty well. The pass blocking was more than adequate when MU had a quarterback on the field trying to throw the ball downfield. The holes in the running game have been enough for Rountree to average nearly 5 yards a carry. 
    Mizzou didn't have drop issues against Alabama. The drops were bad at Tennessee. Small sample size, so way too early to draw any big-picture conclusions. But nobody ever said this team was loaded with elite talent, especially along the D-line. They have seniors who have played a lot of snaps but it's not like this team has anyone who's been an All-SEC candidate - aside from maybe Kobie Whiteside, but it appears he was a lot more productive when playing next to a legit NFL defensive lineman. 
    At the same time, at Tennessee the snap counts indicated younger players are starting to take away playing time from younger players: Isaiah McGuire played more than Chris Turner at D-end and Trajan Jeffocat played more than Tre Williams at rush end/outside linebacker. 
    Could Badie replace Knox o at least some plays?
    Sure, Badie can line up in the slot. But it's too early to just throw Knox to the bench. He had a really good game against Alabama. He had two bad drops against Tennessee. He's still a dangerous playmaker in the slot on a team without many proven pieces. At the same time, if I'm calling plays for this team I'm looking for ways to get Badie more involved.
    Saw a comment somewhere that Hea was a WR in HS? Don’t recall that.
    Yes, Niko Hea was a receiver at CBC. He might have been called a tight end in the team's playbook but if anything he was a stand-up slot receiver in those cases - like Mizzou's old offense where Rucker and Coffman were called tight ends but were really taller slot receivers.
    Despite PFF grades, Rakestraw seems to be holding his own, and not scared of the big stage.
    He's given up some receptions, but I've been impressed with his composure and demeanor. He doesn't look overmatched. Teams are going to target him just because of his inexperience. Pro Football Focus says he's been targeted more than any defensive player on the team (13), given up the most receptions (10) and for the most yards (154). Some of those have been tough, contested catches. I wouldn't say he's a weak spot on this team. If anything, the fact that he's had to play so many snaps as a freshman underscores this team's lack of depth and talent at the position. Having Jarvis Ware out has hurt this defense.
    Has Parker regressed? His success at a position he had never played, while most welcome, always seemed surprising to me.
    I think the staff is still trying to figure out what it has with its tight ends. Hea is now playing more snaps than Parker. Christopherson is carving out a role. 
    Parker dropped what would have been a touchdown catch against Alabama. Otherwise they've thrown his some passes in the flat out in space, where I'm not sure he's going to make a lot of dynamic plays. He can get you a few tough yards, but he's no Albert O in terms of speed and athleticism. 
    Parker insisted this week he's not rusty after missing so much time this offseason, but I've got to think he's still working himself into ideal shape after going through so much with his health back in the winter and spring. 
    Hats off to Barry Odom so far. That finale may not be as easy a win as some of us expect(ed).
    He's a very good defensive coordinator. We know he had his struggles trying to build and manage his own program and obviously his recruiting wasn't good enough as a head coach at Missouri. But he knows how to call a defense and how to prepare a game plan. Maybe he's better suited for a coordinator role at this stage of his career. There's no shame in that. He doesn't have much talent on that Arkansas defense, but through two weeks only Georgia is allowing fewer yards per play. I'm not surprised Odom had success against Mississippi State. He was part of those Pinkel's staffs that had Leach's Air Raid figured out.
    Is last week’s result a fair barometer of where Mizzou’s program is at compared to Tennessee? If so,
    I'm always cautious in putting too much stock into one game - especially during an unconventional season like this. But, yes. Tennessee and Missouri have been trending in opposite directions for the last 18 months or so. I'm not completely beholden to recruiting rankings, but they're a fair measuring stick of talent. Compare these Rivals.com class rankings for the last four years:
    2020: Vols 8 ... Mizzou 54
    2019: Vols 13 ... Mizzou 34
    2018: Vols 20 ... Mizzou 39
    2017: Vols 15 ... Mizzou 49
    Another way to measure the team's talent: the NFL draft. Over the last four drafts (2017-20), here's what the two programs have produced:
    Tennessee: 11 picks, five picks from Rds. 1 through 3
    Mizzou: 6 picks, three picks from Rds. 1 through 3
    Tennessee has rarely fulfilled its potential since Mizzou joined the SEC, but Jeremy Pruitt has some staff continuity and is finding traction in recruiting and on the field. I'm still not putting the Vols in the upper class of the SEC East, but they're clearly the top program right now in the middle class - and knocking on the door of Georgia and Florida. 
    With no players losing eligibility this year, will teams still be limited to 85 scholarships?
    The NCAA has discussed extending scholarship limits. Nothing finalized yet.
  • At o-2 HCED is off to a typical first year MU coach start. Only Dan Devine and Warren Powers have winning first year records. At the other end of the spectrum Al Onofrio and Woody Widenhofer had first year records of 1-10. Not saying Eli will go 0-10 (Vanderbilt becomes a must win game), but looking at upcoming games Vanderbilt, South Carolina and Arkansas are the only games I see as winnable. South Carolina is scoring more points and that game is in SC. Arkansas at least has a win. I wish I could be more optimistic, but it looks like a long season in COMO.
    The over/under for Mizzou wins this season was three. Nothing that's happened in MU's two games should change that outlook. No reasonable person expected MU to beat Alabama or Tennessee. 
    BUT, what could change your outlook is how a couple teams have looked through two weeks, notably Mississippi State (beating LSU) and Arkansas (beating Mississippi State). Those teams have been more competitive in their games and figured out how to win a game. Have they played a two-game schedule harder than Mizzou's? No, but the results for both have been better. You can also make the case that by taking Texas A&M to the brink (on the road), Vandy has looked more competitive than Mizzou - at least in one game. Kentucky was more competitive in its two losses. Same for South Carolina. 
    So, yes, I can understand if some folks look at the small two-game sample size and the rest of the schedule and have a grim outlook. If Missouri's defense doesn't recover from the Tennessee game, then this team will struggle to win one or two games. They need to figure out an identity on offense. They need to stop hurting themselves with drops and negative plays. The defense has to create more good things for itself: sacks, fumbles, interceptions. 
    Some oddsmakers still have LSU as a 20-point favorite ... but a few more have it down to 14, including Bovada and ESPN's lines. 
    Time for a poll ... 
    I remember reading your book on Gary Pinkel where he related to you how bare the cupboard was when he took the job. If you were to speculate, do you think Coach Drink is now recognizing that the challenge might have been more mammoth than he thought? Or is he not surprised and think he’ll find a fix soon?
    I don't think he studied the depth too thoroughly before he took the job. But it doesn't take a lot of research to see where Mizzou's recruiting stacks up in the SEC ... or that the program's development of NFL talent has been eroding in recent years. Not having an established quarterback can put you in a hole immediately. Having issues along the O-line isn't ideal. Having a severe shortage of established playmakers at receiver/tight end is an issue. 
    The defense made major strides last year, and that's why Drinkwitz kept three of Odom's staffers on that side of the ball. There was more NFL talent on that side of the ball when Drinkwitz took over - but not an abundance of NFL talent. 
    I read somewhere that the Tennessee defense was clapping tricking our center to snap the ball. Is that taught by coaches or is that just a bush league player? Did they even get penalized for that?
    Yes, I wrote about that in yesterday's paper.
    Bazelak said a UT defender was clapping before the snap, trying to simulate his snap signal. That led to a couple of the mistimed snaps. Bazelak said he pointed it out to an official but they didn't throw a flag. It's unsure if the Vols got a warning. Here's the penalty in the NCAA rule book:
    No player shall use words or signals that disconcert opponents when they are preparing to put the ball in play. No player may call defensive signals that simulate the sound or cadence of, or otherwise interfere with, offensive starting signals.
    It's a 5-yard penalty. 
    To my unschooled eyes it seemed that Tennessee dominated Mizzou in most ways for the entirety of the game better than Alabama in the previous week. I guess what I am saying that I think Tennessee can give Alabama many headaches to try t.o overcome the Volunteers in a game. Convince me I am very wrong and Alabama is much superior. Thanks
    I'd call it a stretch to say Tennessee dominated in most ways. UT controlled the line of scrimmage offensively. UT ran the ball without much resistance in the trenches. UT didn't have lots of long runs, but Mizzou wasn't getting penetration in the backfield. 
    I wasn't all that impressed with the Vols' defensive front. Rountree ran the ball productively. MU's pass protection was very solid. Bazelak had more than enough time to target deep routes. MU had six drops. Those were self-inflicted. MU had six penalties. Those were self-inflicted. 
    Dave, Greeting from former enemy territory where I still fly my Tiger flag with pride.
    I am curious to know if Robinson understands the reason for switch at QB and if you think he is a team player and not take it personal? I am also curious what actually led to him transferring from TCU?
  • He hasn't done any interviews since the Tennessee game, so I can't speculate on what he's thinking. I'm sure he's disappointed he got the quick hook after throwing the ball pretty well the week before. But Bazelak clearly gave the offense a jolt and a functional passing game. The offense was a mess the first two series - and replacing one player made an instant impact. 
    Robinson had a shoulder injury that sidelined him at TCU and there was obvious tension with him and the coaching staff there. It was reported after he left that he applied for an NCAA waiver because he was mistreated by the TCU staff. TCU denied those charges and the NCAA ruled against the waiver. But he clearly didn't leave on the best terms. 
  • Dave, as a retired newspaper editor, your football analysis aside, I just wanted to compliment you on your light and lively "road trip" article earlier this week. It captured well the sights and "sounds" of a 600-mile rental car slog to Knoxville, and was a pleasant diversion from football only copy. Thanks again.
    Much appreciated. It's something I decided to do this year because road trips are going to be unique. But ... no road trip this weekend thanks to the hurricane. I'm still putting together travel plans for MU's next two road trips to Florida and South Carolina. But I'm glad you enjoyed the piece.
    Was any reason given when Saturday’s game was switched from an 8pm start in Baton Rouge to a 11am start in Columbia? The prime game at LSU isn’t any less exciting than a morning start at Mizzou. On the surface it looks to be a mismatch with the defending national champions playing a pereniel .500 team with a first year coach. Seems like 11am would be a more natural time slot no matter where it is played with a more competitive game shown in prime time.
    Yes, I wrote about the reason for the time change extensively in this story yesterday. 

    How in 48 hours, Mizzou, LSU moved a football game 700 miles to avoid Hurricane Delta

    STLtoday.com: On a weekend MU was initially slated to play at BYU, the Tigers will instead host LSU for a morning kickoff at Memorial Stadium.
    Hey Dave, with Mizzou’s game Saturday being moved to Columbia they have to play at 11 am for logistical purposes. I haven’t seen any announcement yet, but do you have any insight on what TV channel could be on. There’s games on both the SEC network and all ESPN channels at that time so I’m curious what channel will cover the game.
    It was just announced that the game will be on SEC Network Alternate. There was some thought it would appear on ESPN2 if the Louisiana-Coastal Carolina game is moved because of the hurricane, but apparently not.
    A couple of weeks ago the LSU coach said most of his players had tested positive for the virus and Missouri had a handful of players sitting out. Will all these players be back for Saturday’s game? Are teams reporting who is out or do we just find out when we see who is dressed at gametime?
  • LSU has not disclosed which players, if any, have COVID-19.
    Drinkwitz said this week he wouldn't know who'd be available until later today. MU had two players return to practice last week and another two return this week. 
  • How many years of eligibility does Bazelak have with MU? Considering Covid and his Redshirt. I think he will be really good with a few years with this new staff.
    He's a redshirt freshman this year because he played less than four games in 2019 ... but this year doesn't count against eligibility. So, he'll be a redshirt freshman again in 2021, meaning he'll have eligibility for 2022 (redshirt sophomore), 2023 (redshirt junior) and 2024 (redshirt senior). That puts him on campus for six years. I'm not sure every scholarship player in that situation will hang around for that long.
    Hi Dave. I am disappointed In Coach Drink not pounding the rock. Rountree, Badie, Downing are proven backs. I don’t care if it’s an SEC defense or a pro team if you run the ball at them for 3 quarters by the final quarter they will have lost their will to tackle anyone. Also why would an offensive minded HC kick the ball away to start the game? Your thoughts. Thanks
    When you're down 21-0 in the first quarter to Alabama and 14-0 after a few minutes at Tennessee, you can't just slug your way back into the game with only the running game. Game circumstances have neutered the running game to some degree. Rountree has been productive, but when you fall behind so quickly, it's natural to push the ball downfield to try to get chunk plays through the air. 
    If you step back and look at the entire league, Mizzou is averaging 35.5 rushing attempts per game. That's in the top half of the SEC, tied for sixth. So, relatively speaking, this isn't a team that's given up on the running game.
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