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.

    Hey there, Mizzou fans. Busy morning already. Breaking news on the defensive coordinator hire, which means that's one question I don't have to answer over the next couple hours. I will be multitasking today as I continue to report on the Steve Wilks story. But feel free to fire away with your questions.

    Mizzou set to hire Steve Wilks as defensive coordinator

    Veteran NFL coach will take over Tigers' defense, sources confirm.
    One name I saw mentioned for Tennessee was Gus Malzahn. I’d hate to see that because I think he is a good coach. His former DC is already there as well. Your thoughts?
    There is no way Malzahn takes that job as long as Kevin Steele is still in place as the defensive coordinator. Remember, Auburn boosters rallied around Steele to take over the program BEFORE Malzahn had been fired. I just don't see that situation making sense, unless of course Tennessee fires Steele first. That doesn't seem likely right now. Otherwise, yes, Malzahnn would be a great choice in Knoxville. He's a proven winner and one of the very few coaches in the SEC who has beaten Nick Saban multiple times. He'd have Tennessee back in the mix for the SEC East perhaps sooner than any other available candidate.
    Mizzou football already has 4 2022 commits. Any idea who might sign next month, for 2021? Are Harris and Pearl still possibilities? Thanks Dave.
    From what I've been told, running back B.J. Harris will indeed be part of the 2021 signing class. Back on the December date, the staff had not given up on Shemar Pearl and continued to pursue him, but he needs to qualify academically before he can sign with Mizzou.
    I wouldn't count on Mizzou adding too many players on the February signing date. Drinkwitz is going to shop the transfer market, as we've already seen with the Blaze Alldredge commitment.
    Thanks for the chat! What couple of areas do the Tigers need to improve the most in, compared to their earlier meeting with Tennessee, to win this weekend?
    Mizzou has to get off to a much better start, clearly. The Tigers buried themselves in a deep hole in the opening minutes of the last matchup. They didn't play with much toughness or physicality. That can't happen again, especially given that Tennessee will come out motivated after its no-show against Florida and the ensuing azz-chewing Rick Barnes gave his team in his postgame comments. In the first game, Mizzou gave up 10 offensive rebounds. That can't happen again. The Tigers turned it over 21 times. Again, can't happen. Yves Pons seemed to intimidate everyone on the floor with some early defensive stops and blocks. MU has to come out the aggressor. Getting Pons in early foul trouble wouldn't be bad idea either.
    Dave, what’s your thoughts on the Rice transfer LB? Who do you see starting at the LB position next season? Do you think Jalani Williams can be a difference maker in the secondary eventually?
    I'm going to have a story on Blaze Alldredge here soon. I got a chance to talk to him for a while the other day. Interesting cat. He admits he's not an elite athlete but he's a smart, instinctive player. Incredibly productive tackler. He had a lot of disruptive plays at Rice, most of those coming against the run. Assuming Steve Wilks doesn't change the base defense too much - a 4-3/4-2-5 scheme - I think Alldredge will have a chance to compete for that weakside position inside, alongside Devin Nicholson, who put together a really promising year as the middle linebacker. Alldredge won't be at Mizzou until the summer, so some other candidates will get to compete for Nick Bolton's position. Chad Bailey will have a shot. Jamal Brooks, too. Maybe Jamie Pettway, who was active on special teams this year. I'm not sure what's up with Cam Wilkins. Drinkwitz said early in the season he was injured but he wasn't around after that on game days from what I could tell. 
    As for Jalani Williams, he'll get a great chance to push for a starting role along with Martez Manuel. Again, it's going to depend on the scheme. But Williams has played the second-most snaps of any safety on the team. Based on what we saw at Mississippi State, Shawn Robinson can be a factor in the secondary. If he can make impact plays after spending about a week at the position, then I imagine he'll make strides with a full offseason. Don't count out Mason Pack either. In a small sample size last year I thought he held his own back there. 
  • Good Morning Dave - Why do you think Brick Haley was let go and why now? Thank You
    I don't have an answer for that yet. I reached out to Brick and didn't hear back. I'd like to hear directly from someone involved in the decision before speculating publicly. I do know he's told some people that he doesn't have another job lined up, so it doesn't sound like he's leaving for another job necessarily. He had two years left on a contract paying him $625,000 a year.
    Hey, Dave: I'm a little surprised by the DC hire primarily because of the lack of experience in college. I heard your podcast with BenFred and your point about his rise to becoming an HC in the NFL says something given the limited opportunities for Black coaches. Still, I tend to worry that NFL coaches in college tend to either be great or terrible, I think in large part they have to be better teachers, adapt to much more limited practice time, etc. For some, like Pete Carroll, it was a perfect fit for his personality. For others, not so much. I think Eli has earned some cred in that season 1 showed that he knows what he's doing, but were surprised by this hire?
    I think the Wilks hire is really intriguing. Nobody knows if it'll work. Not Drinkwitz,  not Willks and certainly not me. Here are some reasons why it could work:
    * When you spend 14 years on NFL staffs it's impossible NOT to learn a lot about the Xs and Os. He's called his own defense at multiple stops. He's worked under successful defensive-oriented head coaches in Ron Rivera and Lovie Smith. Drinkwitz clearly values coaching experience with this hire. Wilks has experience working with Charlie Harbison, who clearly would have signed off on the hire after coaching under Wilks just two years ago. And Drinkwitz greatly values Harbison's counsel. 
    * He hasn't recruited high school players in 15 years, but he's got something to sell them: NFL experience. They all want to play in the NFL. Drinkwitz can now sell that vision to defensive players: Learn from the guy who has coached Brian Urlacher, Julius Peppers, Luke Kuechly, Patrick Peterson, etc.
    Here's an email I just received from Ron Rivera, head coach of the Washington Football Team. Wilks coached under Rivera in 12 of his first 14 seasons in the NFL in Chicago, San Diego and Carolina: 
    “Steve is one of the best teachers and communicators that I have ever worked with. He is a tremendous leader of men and a genuinely good man. Missouri got an excellent coach.” 
    Sticking with the Tennessee theme. Since Pruitt and the coaching staff went after our players when our sanctions came down, should we go after theirs?
    A little different situation. If Mizzou contacts current Tennessee players it would be illegal. When MU was sanctioned with its postseason ban, all seniors were allowed to transfer anywhere they wanted without having to sit out a year - and schools could contact MU if they wanted to contact those senior players. Tennessee was among the schools that did that. Since then, though, the NCAA has created the transfer portal for any player who wants to talk to another school.
    Good morning Dave. After a BB game recently I saw and heard the SEC Network interview Jeremiah Tillman. I was tremendously impressed with his personality, poise and how he answered the questions. In your writings over time it has been obvious that he is a young man with a clear mind of who he is and how he approaches life. My comment is if that is a testament of the type of student athletes Coach Martin recruits we can all be proud. Hopefully winning people breeds winning teams. Obviously must have the talent too but I am encouraged.
  • Tilmon has matured on and off the court as much as any athlete I can recall at Mizzou in a long time. Now, I'm not going to pretend to know him personally like a teamamte or a coach knows Jeremiah, but I've been around him a lot and talked to him many times over the last four years. And it's easy to notice that kind of maturity. He was a kid when he got to Mizzou. Silly, funloving, care-free and on the floor prone to wild emotional swings. You don't see those swings any more. He's a man. He's confident. He's assertive. He doesn't hang his head after a foul or turnover. Every time he steps to the free throw line he's poised and under control. Lots of credit should go to Martin and his staff for working with Tilmon over the years, but the player deserves the bulk of the credit.
    Just got off the phone with former Mizzou star Markus Golden, who played for Steve Wilks in 2018 when he was the Arizona Cardinals head coach. He's thrilled to hear he's taking over the MU defense. I'll have more from Golden at STLtoday.com later today and tomorrow.
    As someone who spent five years at UTK as a grad student and watched the Greg Schiano student protest fiasco unfold first hand, I think the biggest news from the Pruitt fallout is that Fulmer is being pushed out as AD. He's been a toxic presence in that program ever since he was fired as the head coach thanks to his connections with the Haslems, who wield a LOT of power there, and if they can limit the voices that were pro-Fulmer and helped make bad hires, especially with ADs, Tennessee might finally bounce back. I don't want to see that as a Mizzou alum, but I worry about it. I realize that UT is not your beat, but do you think that this purge will result in a more functional program?
    Just as you posted this question news broke that Tennessee is hiring Danny White as AD. He's the AD at Central Florida, son of Duke AD Kevin White and a close family friend of Mizzou AD Jim Sterk. (Danny's brother Brian was MU's deputy AD and now runs the show at Florida Atlantic. Their brother Mike is the head hoops coach at Florida.) 
    But back to your question, yes, handing the athletic department over to someone with zero administrative experience was a mistake from the start. Tennessee has recovered quickly with the White hiring, so now we'll see whom they hire as head coach. Josh Heupel coming back to the SEC?
    Ive heard the knock on Wilks is lack of recruiting experience. I dont think its an issue. Lupe and position coaches seem to have that covered. Plus he is an NFL guy which appeals to kids that qualify for that ceiling.
    Yes, agreed. Just because he hasn't recruited in a while doesn't mean he can't recruit. Recruiting is building relationships. It's about having a vision and being able to communicate that vision.
    Dave, what's the deal with Dan Mullen? I mean, clearly, he's jackass, but is he long for Florida? That seemed like the perfect landing spot, but is he wearing out his welcome? Is he looking to move on?
    Obviously I don't cover Florida on a daily basis, but Mullen sure put his foot in his mouth a bunch this past year. There were reports out of UF that his antics caused some tension with him and his bosses. It wouldn't shock me to see him interview for NFL jobs in the future. It wouldn't shock me if we see a lot of college coaches want to move on to the NFL. The new Name, Image, Likeness rules and the one-time transfer rule are going to cause some headaches for coaches who just want to coach ball and not get bogged down with so much off-field activity.
    Are they going to keep Ennis in press man? He began growing into those shoes but I would to see him in different schemes. Disguises.
  • Impossible to know what the plan will be going forward.
  • I thought I heard Tennessee was missing a key player vs Florida. Will he be out vs Mizzou still?
    Freshman Jaden Springer had an ankle injury and didn't play on Tuesday for the Vols. Not sure if it'll keep him out Saturday yet.
    I'm happy that Shawn Rob is happy. How much eligibility does he have left? All this covid & redshirt & transfer rules is bizarre
    Shawn Robinson was a redshirt junior in 2020, which means he'll be the same in 2021, leaving him two years of eligibility.
    Hi Dave, how do you figure out SEC basketball. Inconsistent teams or parity given the ups and downs of the top teams in the league
    I think we're seeing some separation from the teams at the top and the teams at the bottom. Alabama is blowing people off the floor. LSU and Tennessee are capable of beating any team in the league by 15 points any night. I'd say they're the top tier right now, followed close behind by Missouri, Florida and probably Mississippi State. Then you've got a bunch of interchangeable teams in the middle. Arkansas, Auburn, Georgia, Ole Miss, Kentucky, South Carolina. They all have multiple flaws but capable of beating you on the right night.
    I know you're not Miss Cleo and I dont know whether or not you stayed in a Holiday Inn last not but what is the final football score going to be against the Gators?
    31-28 Missouri.
    No, wait. 31-27.
  • Dave,
    The class of high school kids that were dubbed “The Super 10” or something like that a few years ago should be seniors this year. I know Mizzou got Daniel Parker and OU got Ronnie Perkins but can’t remember any of the others. Perkins made an impact at OU but I was wondering if any of the other kids in that class made an impact at the schools they picked over MU.
    Here are the rest.
    Trevor Trout, D-lineman at USC. A back injury held him out of this season. Tough break. I've enjoyed talking to Trevor the last few years.
    Mario Goodrich, safety, Clemson: He was part of Clemson's defense this year, played quite a bit. Had two picks.
    Kamryn Babb, WR, Ohio State: Has had multiple knee injuries.
    Cam Brown, DB, Ohio State: Started for a while at cornerback but now a backup.
    Michael Thompson, DL/OL, Oklahoma. He switched to offense after a serious knee injury and then left OU. I'm not sure where he's playing now, either, but I believe it's at a lower level.
    Dallas Craddieth, safety, Iowa: Career backup
    Daniel Carson, DL, Texas: Entered the transfer portal
    Ayodele Adeoye, LB, Texas: Has had several major injuries, also in the portal
    Perkins has had the best career, by far, followed by Parker and Goodrich.
    Isn’t it a safe guess that brick was likely fired so that the new DC can get his people in
    I'm not going to speculate on that for now. Haley and Wilks worked together for two years on the same Bears staff. That's all I know about the situation for now. Mizzou won't even confirm the Haley departure yet. So, we'll see.
    Baze & Blaze. Looking forward to the season. Interesting to see Macon push for the job. If Baze remains QB 1 does Macon see the field on special teams or in another role? He needs SEC experience IMO.
    You don't really see backup quarterbacks playing special teams. He's coming to Mizzou to play quarterback. If he doesn't beat out the incumbent for the starting job, then he'll be the backup.
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