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

    Greetings, chatters. Welcome to the first Mizzou Chat of 2021. Happy New Year and all that stuff. Let's get to it. I'll be here for the next few hours.
    Good morning Dave,
    Well, the only conclusion we can draw about this MUBB team is that they are consistently in-consistent. In my opinion, an option to deliver more stability and utilize individual defensive skills, is on the defensive end. Meaning, why does Coach not opt into press situations on inbounds and mix-up his half court defense with a 1-3-1 zone trap. This would allow more use of Buggs and Watson. We are a below-average distance shooting team, so why not explore ways to create more turnovers and lead to easier baskets? Talk to me.
    Cuonzo has never been a zone guy. He played in a zone defensive system at East St. Louis, but Gene Keady was all about man-to-man at Purdue. Martin toyed with playing a zone defense when he thought he was going to have Michael Porter Jr. three years ago and a ton of length on the floor but he scrapped those plans when Porter went on the shelf. Could he press more? Maybe, but again, that's never really been his style. I'll be interested to hear what he says tomorrow when he meets with the media about the defensive breakdowns from the Mississippi State game. He hadn't really processed everything that unfolded when he talked to us right after the game Tuesday. A few things stood out ... 
    1. MU let Molinar get deep into the paint too many times in the second half to initiate MSU's offense. The Tigers can't allow penetration like that.
    2. Second-chance points killed the Tigers. On the rare occasion MSU missed a shot, its bigs were there to clean up the miss on the glass. That's always been MSU's strength - and the Tigers have historically struggled against teams with multiple, physical bigs on the floor at once. Martin talked about that on Monday - and sure enough, outside of Tilmon, MU's bigs struggled to match that physicality inside.
    3. Mississippi State hit some damn tough 2-point mid-range pull-ups, most of them contested. Like Martin said after the game, that's the least efficient shot in basketball. Coaches have figured out that the most efficient way to play offensive basketball is 3-point shots, layups and free throws. Coaches will take their chances if the opponent's strategy is tough, 2-point pull-up jumpers. But Mississippi State couldn't miss. 
    Now that the team is searching for a new defensive coordinator, have any names surfaced as a possible replacement (Gibbs I believe is an in-house candidate)? Also, do we expect any assistants to follow Walters to Illinois?
    I would be very surprised if we see any defensive assistants leave with Walters. This is already a fairly unconventional move - it would be more unconventional for multiple coaches to leave for the same position at another Power Five school. 
    From what I've gathered in the last 24 hours, David Gibbs wants the job and he's made that clear to his boss. We'll see if there's any traction there. I've also heard there's some thoughts internally that linebackers coach DJ Smith could be in line. I'd be somewhat surprised by that. He's the youngest, least experienced coach on the staff. 
    I don't have a list of verifiable candidates at this point and I'm not going to toss out a bunch of names, though one interesting coordinator with connections to this staff is UAB's David Reeves. He's done an impressive job in Birmingham, where he coached with Mizzou tight ends coach Casey Woods. 
    I'm sorry, but I cannot help to question the move by Walters. Am I wrong or is the move a lateral move or did the position have a assistant head coach next to it?
    I've touched base with a few people close to this situation here, including Walters. I hope to talk to him more at length and on the record. Stay tuned. 
    Here's what I've learned from Mizzou's perspective: This did not come as a surprise that he looked for another job. And while Walters was interviewing for the job at Illinois, MU was not worried about losing him - from the top down. Drinkwitz was happy to keep him on board a year ago to have some continuity on that side of the ball, but he was clearly not thrilled with how the defense played down the stretch. That's not to say he planned to fire Walters. I don't believe it reached that point - because if he wanted to fire him, he would have just fired him. Instead, the way it worked out, he can hand the job to someone else, maybe adjust the scheme or philosophy - and doesn't have to pay Walters a buyout. 
    I don't want to speak for Walters, but I get the sense he wanted a fresh start at a program where he gets a clean slate. His re-hire at Mizzou always had the feel of an arranged marriage. An arranged marriage can still be a happy marriage - and I never sensed a shred of animosity between Drinkwitz and Walters -  but when you're the holdover surrounded by new coaches, their new systems, their new vision AND your side of the ball struggles some, things can get awkward. 
    Moves like these aren't always filled with malice or resentment, and I never detected that this year between the two. Sometimes coaches are just ready to move on to a new challenge - and their team is ready for the same. 
    I agree that sports is a game of momentum, but have you seen it swing as much as we did at Mississippi State? Maybe we should have a dance class at one of the practices, because we had zero rhythm in the second half.
  • I can't think of a game where not just one team but both teams completely flipped the switch like what we saw in Starkville. It wasn't even a halftime deal. Mizzou came out pretty strong to open the second half. It was about the 17-minute mark when things started to implode. So, this wasn't necessarily about Mizzou not making halftime adjustments. What's there to adjust when everything you're doing is working out perfectly? I was less surprised by Mizzou's meltdown than I was Mississippi State's sudden surge. The Bulldogs looked beaten down and completely uninterested in playing the game in the first half. That all changed early in the second half. To Ben Howland's credit, he didn't have any magical answers for what changed. He said his players just started hitting shots and making some stops on the defensive end. Sometimes that's all it takes.
    Do the Antlers have any presence at games during this Covid season? Even just a few of them, socially distanced of course? I would love to see them direct their unique skills toward the corrupt Will Wade and his complicit university on Saturday.
    I can't say I've noticed them this year.
    Mookie Cooper continues to open the doors of the STL and KC Metro Markets for recruiting. This is what is needed for the kind of success that Football can and will succeed against other Top SEC programs. Drink will get the kind of DC that understands how the game is played today and that fits his philosophy. So the loss of Walters is a non issue to me


    THE FOURTH ESTATE IS DEAD
    Good morning Dave. As a subscriber I look forward to your chats. My question is related to the commit from Colorado seemingly due primarily to Ryan Walters being at Mizzou. Does he now have an out to get out of his commitment or does it hold firm?
    Arden Walker, the defensive end from Colorado, essentially chose Mizzou based on his relationship with Walters. Walters' father and Walker's father played together at Colorado. I've reached out to Walker and haven't heard back. I'll pass along any thoughts he has about the situation. 
    I'd be surprised if we see many/any recruits back out of their letters of intent based on this move. This is much different from a head coach leaving for another job after signing day.
    What did you think of a division one coach stating he didn’t know what happened after the collapse st Mississippi State?
  • I wouldn't interpret Martin asking his staff "what happened?" to Martin not knowing what happened. He answered plenty of questions about the breakdowns on both sides of the ball. He clearly knew what happened and how it happened. But explaining why it happened is the mystery. That's what he didn't understand. Why did his team go from executing at a high level on both ends to completely imploding for a 14-minute stretch.
  • Why do you think Walters is leaving to take the same position at Illinois?
  • Any word on who HC Drinkwitz may looking at for defensive coordinator?
    I'm going to assume we'll get a lot of the same questions today. I'll point everyone to the answers I gave earlier in the chat.
    Will Ryan Walter jumping ship. Are there any Def players that may be leaving?
    There are going to be countless transfers around the country this year once the NCAA passes the one-time transfer rule, and it would  be naive to think Missouri will be immune from the coming exodus. But as of today, I don't know of any Missouri players who will transfer specifically because of the Walters move. Just remember, the transfer door swings both ways. Mizzou has already landed two Power Five transfers in the last two months.
    Good Morning Dave,
    Any more feedback from HC CM about he loss? After the game he said something like he didn't know what happened to them in the second half and he'd have to look at tape to figure it out.
    He could start with the defense. Not enough moving of the feet or proper blocking out by putting a body on everyone when the shot went up. Too much hand defending which was apparent with the number of second half fouls.
    On the offense everyone stood around only passing around the perimeter. Yes, Pinson had to sit the bench in foul trouble, rarely did they push inside, pick and roll anymore or get good cuts through the lane. Pickett was great in the first half then totally disappeared.
    I know CM said Mitchell Smith needed to shoot from outside, but holy cow that looked horrible.
    Martin will talk to the media tomorrow. There are plenty of questions to ask. He's usually very candid in breaking down what went wrong in games. I expect the same tomorrow.
    The Mitchell Smith question is a big one. The way this offense is designed, the four position/power forward gets open 3-point looks at the top of the key and in the corners, especially on those pick-and-rolls with Tilmon at the foul line. If the defender rolls with Tilmon, the next option is almost always a skip pass to the corner or a pass to the wing that leads to a skip pass to the corner for an open 3. Kobe Brown and Mitchell Smith are supposed to take those open 3s when they're open. If they're consistently missing, then you either plug someone else into that role - Parker Braun? - or you change the offense. Smith is just 3 of 18 from 3 this year. Not good. But last year he was a 30-percent shooter from 3 last year. Not great - but not bad for a 6-10 stretch forward. But look closer to last year: Mizzou reinvented its offense late last season, the Barcelona offense - dribble drive by Pinson/Dru Smith that created lots of plays at the rim/free throws and corner 3s. In Mizzou's last 12 games of last season, Mitchell Smith shot 44 percent from 3. That's damn good. He was a 42-percent shooter from the arc two years ago. Damn good. So, that's why the offense was designed the way it's designed, to free him up for those shots. Now, if you have to adjust, you adjust.
    GA 49 Mizzou 14 in COMO/ GA 24 CIncinnati 21 in Atlanta virtually a home game for GA. How does a non power 5 team almost upset a top ten ream in a bowl game while an SEC loses a home game by 4 TDs? Covid is is not the whole answer. I’m all in favor of HCED and hope he succeeds but this team has a long way to go.
    One, a bunch of Georgia players sat out the the Peach Bowl. Two, Cincinnati is a really good team, very strong program - and was a better team than Missouri by every measure this season. That's not really up for debate.
    No one is disputing that Drinkwitz has a lot of building to do for Missouri to compete with Georgia, including Drinkwitz. 
    Apologies, I'm guessing this was already covered, but I was looking something up on the Missouri roster and realized there are zero walk ons listed. Did Missouri go with zero walk ons this year to reduce risk of corona virus? Did other teams do that too?
  • From what I understand last year's two walk-ons decided not to play this year. I'm not sure if it was COVID related. I believe both Ford and Yerkes are enrolled at MU. In some ways it does work out better to have fewer players on the team this year in terms of contact tracing and travel when it comes to the COVID protocols.
  • I know Bazelak was fresfman of the year in the SEC this year. He was 5th in passing yards with 2300, but only 10th in passing TDs with 7. With all the new 4 star wide receivers coming in is Bazelak the number 1 QB going into next year or will there be a real competition in spring practice (if there is one) with Brady Cook or Tyler Macon as better passing options than Bazelak showed this year.?
    Bazelak is clearly the incumbent and No. 1 on the depth chart. It's in everyone's best interest to give the job to the player who deserves it, so I expect it'll be framed as a competition. I'll touch on the quarterback position review later today. Yes, the lack of TD passes was alarming. But I believe it had more to do with Mizzou's lack of big-play playmakers at receiver and the offensive philosophy and less to do with Bazelak's arm. I posted this stat a few weeks ago and the exact numbers escape me right now, but Mizzou had a lot of offensive series this year that included completed passes that were stopped inside the 10-yard line this year that led to rushing touchdowns. More dynamic receivers turn some of those series into passing TDs instead of rushing touchdowns. 
    All of that being said, Bazelak will have a big head start on Macon when it comes to knowing the playbook, working with MU's receivers, understanding the head coach and his approach. I'd be surprised if he's not the starting QB on Sept. 4 against Central Michigan, but I'll be there every day to write about it either way.
    Not knowing the specifics concerning Walters' move I can't hold it against him moving to another Power 5 program if he has serious HC asperations. We see it as lateral move but it gives him breadth of experience for future considerations. I don't think he wanted to follow in Steckel's footsteps to HC of a struggling FCS program. After all he's only 34 or 5 years old.
    Walters turns 35 later this month. He's very young but old enough to start getting looks for head-coaching jobs if his unit makes strides. He could very well have more security for that to become possible with a fresh start at Illinois.
    What is the feeling of teammates when a player opps out of a bowl game
    I think it probably depends on the player and how he's viewed by his teammates - and what kind of bowl game we're talking about. Players aren't opting out of bowl games. If it's a fairly meaningless December afternoon bowl game, teammates aren't going to be upset with a player of Nick Bolton's caliber protecting his assets - after he just put his body on the line for 10 games and clearly played hurt down the stretch.
    I'm curious about Dru Smith's shooting form. To me it doesn't look like the traditional shot that comes from above the shoulder with a lot of elbow/wrist. His appears to come from the chest then a smooth motion up. He does it both on the floor and at the free throw line.
  • Yeah, that's how he's always shot the ball. I remember talking to him about it last year and he just said that's the way his form has developed. He's been a 37 percent shooter from 3 for his college career and that's right where he is this year - 37.5 percent. Not elite but good enough for a player who does other things, getting assists, getting to the foul line, getting steals, etc.
  • Your prediction for alabama ohio state game please.
    Alabama in a close game, maybe by a touchdown. I'll break it down more on the site Monday. I was thoroughly impressed by the Buckeyes against Clemson, but that Justin Fields injury should be a concern.
  • Does Walters have a connection with Bielima that he finds Illinois a better job than with Missouri? A defense that gave up 148 points in the final 3 games is not a real resume booster.
    I've been consistent in pointing out the roster issues Walters was dealing with late in the year. It's only fair to point out that he was starting two true freshman corners and was playing three converted offensive players in the final couple weeks. He was missing his best safety for the final six quarters of the year. The defense missed 18 games by D-linemen who played in the rotation this year. Those aren't excuses, just facts. This was never an elite defense. But for the season, it was mostly average. Good in some games, bad in others, mediocre in most - but bad down the stretch. 
    Walters has coached against Bielema and most of these coaches know each other from crossing paths on the recruiting trail. Is Illinois a better program than Missouri? No, it hasn't been for a long time and isn't right now. But a fresh start can make it a better situation for Walters at this stage of his career in 2021.
    I get the IDEA of positionless basketball but at some point doesn’t it make more sense to utilize your player’s strengths rather than force the issue. I cant help but roll my eyes when I see anybody other than a couple of MU players take a 3 pointer.
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