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. Thanks for stopping by today. I thought we were going to have to cancel for a family crisis, but we're good to go. (Jake Matter, the family cat, got out of the house this morning, and after a furious search through the neighborhood, he turned up on the front porch. He thought it was hilarious.) 
    I'll be here for the next couple hours. Let's get started.  
    The 1997 Missouri-Nebraska football game is on Big Ten Network right now. Tigers just took an early lead. Should be a good game!
    Any update on the soccer search? I’m hoping for the SLU coach, but in truth, a crash test dummy would be more effective than Blitz.
    Seems harsh. 
    I heard earlier this week Mizzou was closing in on a hire but no word yet on who or when. 
    Hi Dave, just like to say thank you to all the donors that are making the indoor facility possible. It will hopefully make enjoyable fall Saturdays for us average Joes in the future
    If you missed the news yesterday ... 

    UM Board approves Mizzou football practice facility The facility is budgeted at $33.4 million and set to open in December 2022 upon Wednesday's unanimous approval.
    Does the signing of Ronnie Degray signal Cuonzo Martin is looking to have Mizzou transition to more of a small ball program? What degree of confidence is there that Wilmore or Keita can provide minutes when the matchup calls for it? I thought Wilmore actually played Cockburn pretty tough last year but worried we’ll be overmatched against bigger teams.
    All signs point to Mizzou playing with a smaller rotation this year, which should be fine most nights. The college game has been trending that direction for a while. There were games last year when Tilmon gave the Tigers a clear advantage, but even with a true 6-10 post player on the floor, there were still games where more athletic but shorter teams outplayed Mizzou inside when it came to rebounding and paint points. Wilmore could still have a role. Keita, too, for sure. But I don't expect those guys to play 25-plus minutes a game and have the offense flow through their position like it did with Tilmon the last few years.
  • Hi Dave - I think the lack of experience at running back is a big question mark going into the 2021 fall season. I like Tyler Baddie but can we expect the production out of him that is needed from a primary back in the SEC? What does the depth look like? Thank You
    I suspect the rushing attempts will be more of a committee approach, which isn't all that rare in today's game. Rountree was a true workhorse who could handle 20 carries a game and still hold up physically in the fourth quarter. I think Badie is a really unique talent. He runs hard between the tackles for being a smaller back. He's a dynamic receiver out of the backfield or the slot. Great hands. I was surprised he didn't get more touches last year, but the staff really loved Rountree as the primary runner. 
    Elijah Young will be a factor as the No. 2 back. He's got some real speed. 
    If there's going to be a No. 3 back, it should be a wide-open competition. Dawson Downing returns for a 17th year, though he's been more of a short-yardage runner and blocker. Simi Bikare? Walk-on Michael Cox? He's a big dude at 220 pounds. The two freshmen could push for a role, too. Taj Butts and BJ Harris.
    Hi Dave, thanks for the chats. Good story on Vitello earlier in the week. Obviously he’s shown he’s a very capable recruiter and coach and with hindsight passing him over for the Mizzou HC now seems like a mistake. Now that he’s proven, entrenched in a successful program, and the darling of Knoxville, what are chances he would leave to take a rebuild opportunity at Mizzou? Can’t fault Sterk for inability to predict the future, but any sense from talking with him if there’s any nostalgia or loyalty to the tigers?
    I'd say there's zero chance he'd leave Tennessee for Mizzou. He's built Tennessee into a a much better program. From his first year on the job he got the support you need to rebuild a struggling program. At Mizzou non-revenue coaches usually don't get that kind of commitment until they've already proven they can build a winning program that deserves the TLC from the administration and boosters. Steve Bieser has been begging donors for years to help pay for artificial turf for the outfield. Vitello experienced the same at Mizzou when TCU came at him with a much better offer to leave the staff. Tim Jamieson did all he could to get him a better salary at Mizzou but there was only so much money MU was willing to spend on assistant coaches. Vitello already makes more money at Tennessee than any baseball coach at Mizzou has ever made and probably ever will make for years to come. 
    His next job will be at the next major program that has an opening. Texas A&M? LSU?  
    I enjoyed reading your columns yesterday and today about Jordan Clarkson, Quin Snyder and Michael Porter. I don’t remember much about Jordan at Mizzou, but was surprised that he was in the NBA at all when I first noticed it a several years ago. I certainly didn’t think he would last 9 years averaging 15 points a game. I remember Doug Smith as a much better college player at Mizzou and he only lasted 5 years and averaged 8 points per game. Nor was I impressed by Quin Snyder’s tour as Mizzou head coach. Until I looked it up, I would have been hard pressed to guess Snyder has coached NBA teams to 323 wins. I would assume he is the leading candidate to be this year’s NBA coach of the year. Hope you have more columns like these to write about now that there is no basketball or football activity.
    Thanks for reading. There is more to come. Stay tuned.
    Quin was probably the leading candidate for coach of the year around midseason, but I think Monty Williams in Phoenix, Steve Nash in Brooklyn and Tom Thibodeau in New York all have a better shot at the award. 
    Clarkson has carved out an impressive NFL career. He has five of the nine highest-scoring NBA season averages among all players who played at Mizzou. 
    Going out on a limb a bit here, but I’m predicting the women’s softball team wins its regional this weekend. I’d even suggest they look good for the super regional, assuming they make it that far and being it’s at home. Beyond that, OU is lurking, but hey, that’s why they play the games. Thoughts? Thanks for the chats. Glad the cat is safe.
    I'd be shocked if they don't win the regional this weekend. Iowa State split two one-run games with Mizzou earlier in the year but finished just 6-12 in the Big 12. Northern Iowa and Illinois-Chicago are mid-majors that had to win their conference tournaments to make the field.
    Then if Mizzou should host Tennessee, the Tigers will have to figure out UT ace Ashley Rogers, but MU just took two of three from the Vols in Knoxville earlier this month.

    Mizzou has a new women's soccer coach: Minnesota coach Stefanie Golan, who is a native of St. Charles.

  • Dave, what's going on in Columbia? It seems pretty quiet down there. The softball team looks good. Please bring me up to date on Mizzou sports. Thanks.
    What do you mean quiet? Graduations are going on at all the schools. Restaurants are packed. Downtown has been busy. True/False Film Festival was last week. 
    In terms of Mizzou sports, it's springtime. Softball is hosting an NCAA regional. Baseball has one SEC series left. Track is in the postseason. We've had coverage of all those teams here on this website. 
    It’s nice to see Mizzou and Kansas are finally playing against each other even if KU won the baseball game. As we slowly get back to normality will the basketball and football teams be renewing this rivalry soon?
    Mizzou and Kansas have been scheduled to play in football and basketball for a while now. 
    Six-year series in men's hoops starts next year.
    Four-year football series in 2025-2026, 2031-32.
    Hey DM: So, as we come to the close of school, how would you assess the overall state of Mizzou athletics? It seems like there is some pretty good success in a lot of sports, but you would know best. Fund-raising seems strong. It feels like there is some coaching stability for the most part.
    It's hard for me to package together one sweeping assessment of everything when we're talking about an athletics program with so many moving parts. Football is on the upswing under Drinkwitz. Men's hoops had a nice season but lots of questions moving forward. Women's hoops is coming off two rough years. Baseball is searching for answers. Softball and wrestling are in great shape and competing on a national stage. Mizzou is doing a fine job raising money, but that's an endless task. When it comes to making and spending money, this program will always be chasing the established powers in the SEC, which for nearly a decade now have become MU's peers.
    But all in all, I think Mizzou athletics are in a good place. You're never going to be raising banners in every sport, but the school sure could use an SEC championship other than women's volleyball to show some tangible results. 
    Any restrictions in the stadium in the fall? Reduced capacity? Any GA tickets allowed? Masks required? Tailgating? -- Thanks!
    Mizzou is counting on having a full stadium this fall. For now. Considering how rapidly things have been moving in that direction with MLB and NCAA spring sports, I'd say there's a good chance Memorial Stadium will be back to full for 2021. As for game-day policies (masks, distancing, tailgating) we've still got more than three months for all of that to be decided. Things are certainly trending toward a return to pre-COVID game days. Just keep getting those vaccines. 
    A number of former MU Tigers are in the NFL. Do NCAA rules allow those guys to participate in recruiting? Not for in-person visits, but something like appearing in a recruiting video. If yes, do any MU alums do this?
  • I'm not sure where the current rules stand, but bottom line, any recruits can't gain any kind of illegal benefits from a former player.
    Hi Mr. Dave. USC fan here. I was in Columbia (west) when we played there in 2019. Really liked the town, the campus and the Missouri fans. What I didn't like was the field. I saw a tweet mentioned a week or so ago that showed them ripping up that awful turf. Any possibility that they are going to lay down some sod, or plant grass, or are they going back with fake stuff. For some reason, the stuff they had looked worse on TV, it shined and looked plastic. Didn't look much better in person. I noticed it was pretty slick too, with a lot of slip and falls. Enjoy your articles when I can read them and this chat when I can. Thank you.
    Faurot Field is getting a new layer of artificial turf. I reported on this topic years ago, but the climate in Missouri makes it essentially impossible to grow a sustainable natural grass field that can hold up over the course of a season. Mizzou has tried in the past, but it's incredibly costly.
    What's your evaluation of the incoming transfers for basketball? Is your impression that Coach Martin has put together a roster that will be competitive in the SEC with them and the freshmen? Or do you expect that we will struggle to finish out of the basement in the conference? Lots of unknowns. Looking for some reason to be optimistic.
    I think Mizzou can again be a middle of the pack team in the SEC that's capable of beating anyone in the league and losing to anyone in the league, which is essentially what this team was this past season. I think Martin upgraded in pure athleticism with some of the additions and there's some offensive versatility when you look specifically at the three transfers, who are all proven double-digit scorers at the college level. You have to wonder about 3-point shooting and point guard play. Those are major questions going into the season.
    Do you or MIZZOU expect the softball games to sell out this weekend, especially if MIZZOU is in the final Sunday? Thinking of driving over from STL
    It might depend on the weather forecast. When the stadium was at 50 percent capacity they sold out of tickets pretty quickly. Considering the stadium only seats 2,500, I wouldn't be surprised if it sells out for the entire weekend.
    With the BOC’s formal announcement of the indoor facility project, does that mean that funding is complete? Or just close enough to get started?
    Mizzou was close to the budget total more than a month ago, so from what I understand they've secured all the pledges they need to finance the project without any help from the university. At least one curator said back in February that he wouldn't support the project unless it was fully funded by athletics - and the measure passed unanimously yesterday. (Full disclosure, but the BOC meeting Zoom took place at the same time that MU softball was holding its pre-regionals Zoom, so I couldn't be on both at the same time yesterday.)
    So does Scott Linehan get to participate in position group meetings? Would HCED bounce ideas off him formations or plays to run based on Linehan’s film review? Or is he mostly hanging out with his son and available for consultation on an as-needed basis?
  • The analysts watch a lot of film, help with opponent scouting reports - a lot of advance scouting during the season for future opponents - and help with self-scouting. They can meet with players in the building in team meetings, film sessions, etc., but they technically can't be hands-on as a coach during practices or games. 
    Ben Frederickson has a Drinkwitz column coming out in tomorrow's paper - tonight online for subscribers - and he discusses Linehan's hire and role. 
  • How did Mizzou's offensive line look after Soring football? Any surprises? Expected starters??
    I don't put too much stock in what we can see in the spring, which isn't much in terms of full-speed, live-scrimmage drills, but after a promising 2020 I wouldn't expect any drop-off in 2021. Four of five starters are back, though expect some competition for a few of those guys. Mike Maietti is the center and Case Cook is the right guard. From there, guys are going to have to earn their jobs. Hyrin White missed all of last year with a shoulder injury, but he should be first in line to replace Larry Borom at right tackle. Xavier Delgado was in and out of the lineup last year but returns at left guard. He'll get a run for his money by Luke Griffin, who I thought played pretty well in spot starts last year. Then at left tackle, Mizzou went with newly arrived transfer Zeke Powell last year. He had some ups and downs as a first-year SEC player and could get some competition from Javon Foster.
    Two questions: Your thoughts on Bieser as a manager, recruiter, ability to elevate the program to be more competitive in the SEC? Probably a naive question but can Nike not replicate the "old gold" color for uniforms or has caution-stripe yellow become an official replacement?
    I don't cover the baseball program enough on a daily basis to have a great read on Bieser's acumen. He clearly knows the game. He's heavy on modern technology. Mizzou is one of the nation's most cutting edge programs when it comes to the tools he's implemented within the program. He just doesn't have enough pieces on the roster to be consistently competitive in this league, at least not this year. Last weekend was obviously a step in the right direction taking two of three from the No. 3 team in the country.
    As for the Nike colors, I'm not really sure how all of that works. I don't get too caught up in the outfits. The equipment staff works closely with Nike on all of that.
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