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, Mizzou chatters. I'll be headed to Gainesville this weekend for Saturday's game, but first let's talk all things Mizzou for the next couple hours.
    When Missouri offense was having extended offenses drives against LSU the commentators would remark the LSU defense was gassed. Is it considered more exhausting to play defense vs offense and if so why. Both sides of the ball are exerting maximum physical activity. Go Tigers.
    I'm not really sure. On defense you're constantly reacting to what the offense is doing.  Both sides are exerting energy, but it's the offense that controls the pace. There's some mental fatigue involved, too, when you're a defense that can't get off the field and left standing around on a long possession that's dictated by the offense.
    If it chose to do so, would Mizzou have the ability to request the SEC to look into the UK "injuries" that so conveniently delayed the game at potentially crucial times? Could the SEC direct a UK team physician or athletic trainer to certify that the player was indeed injured? The one where the player went down just before the play started seemed awfully fishy from up in the (socially distanced) stands, especially because it took so long for them to get him off the field for an apparent cramp.
    I don't think there's any way for Missouri to investigate or launch an investigation. Let's not pretend that Mizzou is above doing something similar if the moment calls for it. Teams do that all the time. I suspect the Kentucky injuries probably weren't legitimate on each occasion, but that defense was on the field for nearly 44 minutes. Some cramping wouldn't be abnormal. 
    The best way to approach is it call out the other team publicly, like Dave Christensen did at Wyoming when he suspected Air Force was faking injuries several years ago. That's how you bring about attention to the issue.
    Still savoring the dominance of that victory. I cannot recall a conference game where MU so dominated time of possession and number of plays, much less had a drive (scoring or not) as long as the one to begin the 3d quarter.
    I've gone through all the box scores that are available, dating back to the early 1990s, and I haven't found a game where MU possessed the ball longer than the Tigers had the ball against Kentucky. Unfortunately Mizzou doesn't track the single-game record historically. If 43 minutes and 10 seconds isn't MU's all-time record I would think it's in the top 10. 
    I don't know what if any advanced analytics are used to measure a QB's "poise" - maybe completions from a "messy" pocket, or sacks evaded, etc. - but CB sure seems to have it. OK, I'll say it, he reminds me of a young Chase Daniel in that respect.
    He's shown a lot of poise, but I'm not ready to make any Chase Daniel comparisons. Daniel is the smartest quarterback I've ever covered. He knew what the defense was going to do long before he caught the snap and could was always a step or two ahead. 
    I get the temptation to make the comparisons, but let's not forget Daniel was a Heisman finalist and the Big 12 male athlete of the year (in all sports). I'd rate Daniel as a better athlete than Bazelak. People forget that Daniel rushed for nearly 400 yards his first year as Missouri's starter. 
  • Your interview with Zack Abron was published just as I was beginning to wonder: Is Rountree MU's GOAT TB? With all due respect to Zack, Olivo, Josey, Wilder and the rest, I am thinking that we are watching the climax to a largely under-appreciated career that has flown mostly under our radar.
    I'm not sure Rountree is the best. I might lean toward Devin West as far as my lifetime. He didn't receive the lion's share of the carries until his senior year. Otherwise, if he was the team's lead back as a sophomore and junior, I'm fairly certain he'd be the program's career rushing leader. He was phenomenal as a senior - and did it without the luxury of a potent complimentary passing game.
    Henry Josey probably would have broken the rushing record had he stayed for another year. He was electric and came up big in big games.
    Johnny Roland, before he moved to defensive back, and James Wilder were before my time, so I can't speak for their dominance first-hand. 
    Rountree has been overlooked to some degree. Probably because he began his career playing behind Damarea Crockett and alongside Drew Lock. Abron was also overlooked considerably. People still can't even spell his first name correctly. There's a plaque at Mizzou commemorating the top rushers in team history that has it misspelled also. 
    Hi, Dave: Thanks for doing this...best part of the week. Can you give a little color to the "Opt Out"? When a player opts out, are they basically saying they'll transfer, that they are not a fit with the team/coaches/scheme? There is no eligibility to save and seems like an opportunity to get lost in non-football things (see Massey). I really don't understand what they are trying to accomplish with this. Thanks.
    It's a COVID-19 decision. Or, that's the intent of the rule allowing them to opt out for 2020. The rule was put in place for players who don't want to risk exposure to themselves or a family member by being in a team setting or traveling to road games but still want to maintain their place on the team. Their scholarship remains intact. They can use the team resources for academics and injury rehab, but they're not allowed to practice or play in games. Now, are some players choosing to opt out because they don't believe the coaching staff plans to use them this year? Perhaps. Will the opt outs all plan to transfer? Perhaps, but we don't know that for certain.
    Ryan Walters will get an offer after this season to be a head coach if he keeps up the good work so far, right? My only other question is whether he'll be offered a "Power 5" job.
    It all depends on how many jobs and what jobs become open. I don't think it'll be a very vibrant coaching market this offseason. This is such an unusual year as far as schedules and finances that I'm not sure many schools will cut loose a head coach unless their programs are in crisis mode. We could see some retirements or some openings becuase college coaches leave for the NFL, and that could lead to some trickled-down effect that create a potential opening for Walters. But the ideal job for him was at Colorado, his alma mater. He interviewed for that position in February when Mel Tucker left for Michigan State, but the job went to Karl Dorrell. I wouldn't be surprised if Walters becomes a more appealing candidate at some Group of Five schools in the future. But without head-coaching experience I'm not sure we're going to see a Power Five school come after him this soon.
    Hi Dave, Thanks for the chats. Having watched both extensively (Mizzou grad doing post doc work at UF), I see a lot of similarities in Kyle Pitts (6’6”/246) and Albert O (6’5”/258). Albert is already having a quietly good rookie season for the Broncos. Kyle will certainly be the top tight end taken in next years draft. I would guess that accounting for Pitts will be a large part of the defensive scheme. I would love to see a game plan similar to Kentucky that keeps the Gators high powered offense off of the field. I don’t see the Tigers winning a shoot out.
  • Why can't Mizzou win a shootout? They did just that against LSU? Trask and Pitts might be the best pitch and catch tandem in the SEC, but Mizzou's proven to me the last two games that it can play multiple styles and keep pace with a high-powered offense.
    I'd rate Pitts way ahead of Okwuegbunam, who had some great moments at Mizzou but just wasn't a reliable No. 1 receiving threat. Too many drops and penalties. In his three-year career, Pitts has had six drops and three penalties; none of either this year. In his three years at Mizzou, Okwuegbunam had 12 drops and 15 penalties, plus three fumbles.
    Pitts occaisonally lines up as a slot receiver or a wideout but he's down on the line of scrimmage as an inline tight end most of the time. Martez Manuel typically covers tight ends as the strong safety, but my hunch is you'll see free safety Joshuah Bledsoe cover him at times, too. 
  • Who does Mizzou have coming up at running back that you expect to take over next year? Do you think Badie could be a full time RB or is more of a change of pace/pass catcher?
    I'm not sure Badie is a back who can carry it 20 times every week, but he certainly can handle a bigger workload than what he's getting right now. Drinkwitz all but said that this week, that this offense is better, that Rountree is better, when Badie is getting more touches. 
    The staff really likes Elijah Young, the freshman, but they just don't have carries for him right now with the way Rountree and Badie are playing. 
    Missouri has two running backs committed for 2021: Taj Butts from De Smet and BJ Harris from Chattanooga, but MU has also offered a junior college tailback, Tyion Evans from Hutchinson CC.
    Mizzou May be a 13 pt underdog, but I don’t think Florida wants to play them right now. They are really hard to game plan for and full of confidence.
    It might not be a great matchup for Florida, but the Gators haven't played in two weeks. They'd be happy to play anyone, especially coming off a loss.
    Hi Dave. Jalen Knox continues to impress. My opinion is that he is the most improved offensive player. My question is he responsible for reading the coverage or is Coach Drink’s game plan that detailed? Thanks
    Receivers have to read coverages to make decisions on option routes, but the reason he's being productive is because this staff is smart enough to play him at his ideal position in the slot. He played on the outside his first two years in the program, where he was essentially asked to fight off cornerbacks and get by them for downfield throws. He rarely touched the ball in the middle of the field. They never gave him the ball on designed running plays. Now he's a core player in the run game, in the short passing game and they're using him all over the field, before and after the snap. 
    Just like I suspected two months ago:

    New offense, new role could remake Mizzou's Jalen Knox

    STLtoday.com: After a disappointing 2019 season, the junior receiver should see more chances to touch the ball in Drinkwitz's system.
    Hey Dave, I understand that the answer could lie somewhere in the middle but which previous game plan (LSU, Kentucky) to expect to be closer to what we will see this Saturday against Florida for attacking their defense?
    If you can keep Florida's offense off the field with a grind-it-out ball-control offense, then that's always an ideal way to play. But Florida's offense is so good that you have to count on the Gators scoring more than 10 points. I don't think 20 points cuts it for Mizzou this week. You're going to have to give yourself enough series to score multiple touchdowns. You're not going to have the same margin for error to afford drives that come up empty in the red zone. Florida has given up A LOT  of passing yards through three games. Most of that has come in the second half - UF got up big early against Ole Miss and South Carolina - but the pass defense has struggled in the first quarter of games, too. Opponents have a passer rating of 190 against Florida in the first quarter and have completed 75 percent of their passes in the first quarter. Mizzou should be able to throw the ball around in The Swamp.
    I believe Coach Drink said last week that with the number of players Mizzou has available, with opt outs, transfers, scholarship restrictions etc...theyre basically down a whole class? How would you say that plays out long term? Would he look to fill basically all spots in the incoming class or is that not possible?
  • He said the team is down to 64 scholarship players this week. That's 17 short of this year's limit. Now, some of those shortages are injuries. You'll get those players back. They could get a couple of the opt-outs back, too. But that's not a given. The transfers give them some room to add more players in 2021. Remember, they could also get some seniors back for a second senior year in 2021.
    You can over the 25-man class limit in recruiting if you backlog some recruits to a different class. I'd expect them to be at 85 scholarship next year some way or another. 
  • Without considering anybody specifically, I just wonder how many seniors - at Mizzou or anywhere - would want to stick around for another year? A few (or more) will be anxious to try for the next level, backups will not want to come back as backups. Given scholarship and budgetary limits, I wonder if schools might say "sure you can come back, but we don't have a scholarship for you."?
    Yes, that will be the message some schools give to some seniors. Not necessarily at Mizzou, but schools are already facing budget shortfalls because of the limited stadium capacities this year and the the revenue drop-offs. Schools aren't going to magically have millions of dollars lying around to pay for some backup offensive guards to be backup offensive guards for another year. The seniors who double down and return for 2021 most likely won't count against 2021 scholarship limits, but you still have to pay for the scholarship somehow.
    Professor Dave, could you shed a little light on PFF analytics? Are there cameras on every player? How many people are involved in rating one player? Do the ratings include pluses for good plays and minuses for poor plays. How much do coaches use the ratings? Thanks. I appreciate your hard work for us displaced Mizzou fans.
    I really don't think coaches pay too much mind to the PFF scores. They have their own grading systems.
    PFF hires analysts to watch games to grade every player on every offensive and defensive snap. Here's how the company explains the grading: "Each player is given a grade of -2 to +2 in 0.5 increments on a given play with 0 generally being the average or expected grade. There are a few exceptions as each position group has different rules, but those are the basics." Then they add up the points and come up with a grade for each game for multiple categories. It's hardly a foolproof system. Players are graded on how they do their specific job on each play - without the grader knowing exactly what the play called for - and not measure by stats alone. If a quarterback makes a perfect pass and it bounces off the target's hands and turns into an interception, the quarterback's grade isn't penalized. 
    I think the grades provide a decent snapshot of how a player and his unit are playing from week to week, but keep in mind it's not a perfectly objective system. 
    A sportscaster on TV said that HCED’s 2 wins this year over the favored LSU and Kentucky teams were more wins for Eli over favored opponents than HCBO had in his 4 years at MU. I was surprised to hear that, but I hope Eli has many more.
    Hmmm, sounds like someone on TV is reading the Post-Dispatch. I think everyone should do that. 
    From Tuesday's paper:
    With back-to-back wins over Louisiana State and Kentucky, Drinkwitz’s Tigers have won more games against favored teams this month than Mizzou accomplished the prior four years under Barry Odom, when the Tigers were 2-13 as underdogs, with the wins coming against Arkansas in 2016 and Florida in 2018, MU’s last visit to Gainesville.

    Gators ready to resume season, host surging Mizzou

    STLtoday.com: Florida returned to practice Monday after COVID-19 outbreak forced team to postpone two games.
    I really don’t see too many similarities between Bazelak and Daniel. Other than Bazelak has the potential to be great. You cited Chases many attributes , but in addition was a flare and emotion, not seen in Bazelak. Nevertheless, Bazelak will be great with his Own virtues, which are many. He Is calm, accurate and a leader, but different from DANIEL.
    Agreed. Daniel was far more demonstrative on the field - maybe to a fault a couple times during his career. I'm not convinced Bazelak has a pulse. That's a quality closer to Brad Smith or James Franklin.
    Watching Mizzou's offense during the third quarter of the Kentucky game was like watching Army or one of the other service academies play football. I love Coach Drinkwitz's willingness to adjust his offense as game conditions dictate. What kind of game do you think we will see Saturday? Also, thanks for doing these weekly chats. The sports coverage the Post Dispatch provides is one of the main reasons I subscribe to it.
  • Thanks for the note. 
    I touched on this earlier, but you've got to score more than 20 points to beat Florida. I just don't think you can count on a Dan Mullen team scoring only a couple TDs. They're just too skilled offensively. Mizzou should be able to move the ball on this defense. You can probably go up-tempo at times and get the Gators on their heels. 
    With another hurricane going thru the South this week, I was wondering if the Mizzou-Florida matchup will be played on a sloppy field Saturday night? With all the Covid issues both teams have had so far, I’m hoping for normal field conditions just to see if the Tigers can stay with the number 10 ranked team and have a better road game than they did against Tennessee.
    The forecast calls for no rain in Gainesville on Friday and only 10 percent chance on Saturday with a high temp of 79. Doesn't look like the storm will impact the game.
    Should MIZZOU beat FL do you see a top 25 spot open for them?
    Most likely, but it always depends on who else wins and loses. Polls aren't made in a vacuum. Mizzou is getting votes in the coaches poll but not the AP poll. There are two two-loss teams in the AP rankings right now, Oklahoma and Iowa State. So, if voters are putting those teams on their ballot there's no good reason they couldn't include a 3-2 Missouri team with wins over LSU, Kentucky and Florida. 
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