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.

    No bye week for your Mizzou beat writer here in this corner of STLtoday. I'll be here for the next couple hours to take your questions. Just a warning: Eli Drinkwitz is talking to reporters via Zoom at noon, so I will be multitasking on Zoom and the chat. Stay in the chat for the most up-to-date news from the head coach.
    Good morning Dave. Thank you for your work. Did Mullen ever acknowledge wrong doing for his role in the altercation? Kudos to Coach Drink for his behavior.
    I haven't watched Mullen's press conference from this week, but here's a statement he released Monday: "I respect the decision from the conference office. As the head coach, it is my responsibility to defuse these types of situations, and I didn’t live up to that standard."
    He certainly didn't acknowledge any wrongdoing after the game. Instead, he claimed he was only trying to get his players off the field. That clearly wasn't true. He went after the officials, Missouri players and Missouri coaches. If anything, he doubled down by wearing the Darth Vader costume to the press conference. 
    Hi Dave, another question from afar. I never played football, but I consider myself a big fan. I have a reasonable understanding of Xs and Os, but your analysis is much more in depth than I can go. Did you get any training in this regard or did you just pick it up over time?
    Thanks for the note. More than anything I just read a lot about the game and made a habit to pick coaches' brains when I was a younger reporter. Unfortunately we don't get that kind of access with Mizzou coaches these days, but I tried to learn as much as I could from the coordinators and assistants back when they were more accessible. Otherwise, I read a lot about the game and try to watch games closely to get a feel for what teams are trying to do on the field. You don't have to be a former player to understand the game. You just need to be curious and willing to put in the work. My goal has always been able to understand the game well enough to be able to write about the game in interesting ways so that readers can understand what they're watching.
    Thanks for the note. More than anything I just read a lot about the game and made a habit to pick coaches' brains when I was a younger reporter. Unfortunately we don't get that kind of access with Mizzou coaches these days, but I tried to learn as much as I could from the coordinators and assistants back when they were more accessible. Otherwise, I read a lot about the game and try to watch games closely to get a feel for what teams are trying to do on the field. You don't have to be a former player to understand the game. You just need to be curious and willing to put in the work. My goal has always been able to understand the game well enough to be able to write about the game in interesting ways so that readers can understand what they're watching.
    What was the concensus in the pressbox about the last play of the first half - was it roughing the passer or not. In my opinion it was. Jeffcoat took 2 steps after Trask released the ball before he hit him. Maybe the refs knew there was no time left and just wanted to end the half. It seems to me refs are reluctant to call roughing the passer and late hits out of bounds. Maybe if a penalty had been called the whole incident that occurred as the teams left the field it would have prevented the incident entirely. Does the SEC review the referee call and sanction refs when they feel it is deserved?
    Well, Saturday was a unique press box setting. I was the only non-student reporter from Missouri in Gainesville. A couple students from the Maneater were there and a KOMU reporter, I believe. Otherwise, it was just the local Florida media - and we's so space apart in the press box that I wasn't near anyone close enough to discuss the play.
    So, here's what I saw: Jeffcoat's hit was definitely late and high. He should have been flagged for roughing the passer. I don't think it would have held up as a targeting penalty, but definitely roughing. I suspect the crew was so focused on the play in the end zone that they just overlooked the contact in the pocket. Maybe a flag there prevents the melee from erupting. Maybe a flag keeps Mullen from blowing a gasket. 
    The conference always evaluates the job every official does in every game. Any measures they take are handled internally and not disclosed to the public. But the league has a very detailed grading system that comes with consequences if an official makes a drastically bad call. 
    I know Trask had 4 TD passes vs the Tigers. Is he a serious Heisman trophy candidate when he is going up against Trevor Lawrence of Clemson and Justin Fields of Ohio St? Lawrence may be at a disadvantage being out for 2 games, The Gators completely outclassed the Tigers, but I don’t see Trask as being in the same class as the other 2.
  • Trask (four games): 18 TDs, 2 INTs, 335 yards per game, 189.2 rating, 75 rushing yards
    Lawrence (six games): 17 TDs, 2 INTs, 305.5 yards per game, 178.6 rating, 71 rushing yards
    Fields (two games): 6 TDs, 0 INTs, 297 yards per game, 214 rating, 50 rushing yards
    Trask's numbers stand up just fine if you ask me. I'd have him on my top 10 ballot right now, along with BYU's Zach Wilson and Alabama's Mac Jones if we're just talking quarterbacks. 
    I don't know how many OL are on the verbal commitment list but that is a HUGE need for the next couple years. It's no secret you won't compete in the SEC if you don't have competitive linemen on both sides of the ball.
    Missouri has just one offensive lineman committed for the 2021 class, Jackson's Connor Tollison. Don't forget, Mizzou has only one current senior on the line this year, so as bad as the depth appears right now because of injuries, everyone but Mike Maietti is on pace to return next year. (And if he'd really want to stick around for another year, Maietti would have the chance to return.) On the other hand, Mizzou has six current defensive linemen in the regular playing rotation: Tre Williams, Chris Turner, Kobie Whiteside, Markell Utsey, Akial Byers and Sci Martin.
    Over time, it's fair to say Mizzou has to upgrade the level of play along the O-line, whether that's through recruiting or player development. But in terms of just adding pieces for 2021, there's more urgency in other spots. 
    Trask's Heisman hopes hinge on the Georgia game. No doubt the best defense he'll face. If he does well and they pull off a win then I think he's a legitimate contender.

    It'll also be a good indicator for what Mizzou will be up against the next weekend.
    Big test for Trask on Saturday, but I'm leaning toward the Gators in this game mostly because of the QB situation. I'm impressed with Trask's poise, accuracy and arm strength. He's considered a first-round draft pick. He's got a couple elite weapons around him, but he's one of the most impressive quarterbacks I've seen in the SEC the last couple of years. It's still wild to think he didn't start in high school.
    The Tigers couldn’t stay up with Toney or tackle him when they got close which Florida capitalized on the build a big lead and take MU out of the game early. Is Toney Florida’s number 1 wide receiver? 2 other guys had more yardage than Toney, but he scored the TDs.
    Toney is by far Florida's No. 1 wide receiver - but not necessarily UF's No. 1 target. He and tight end Kyle Pitts both have 22 catches. Pitts has more yards and more touchdowns. It's probably the best receiver tandem in the SEC in terms of how they complement each other - especially now that Jaylen Waddle is out for the season at Alabama. Toney had some Reggie Bush moves in the open field on Saturday. Really impressive athlete.
    Hi Dave. I have enjoyed Coach Drink and his innovative approach. The play call to have Chism take a reverse and look to pass with 4 minutes left in the half near midfield killed us. I do have a question though. I noticed at the FL game that Brady Cook is wearing a headset and signaling in plays. Robinson was nowhere to be found. Is that ship sailing? Thanks
    Robinson was at the game and on the sideline, too. That's common to have the third QB work with the staff on the signals - because it's much less likely he gets in the game. If Bazelak gets hurt or his helmet comes off and he needs to sit out a play, Robinson is right there on the sideline ready to enter the game. That's harder to do if he's wearing a headset and has a specific role with the coaching staff.
    Good morning Dave,
    Hopefully you get to enjoy a wonderful fall day in mid-Missouri.
    While I wasn't fully expecting a win at Florida, a total no show was not what I imagined. They looked ill prepared in all facets of the game. I understand how this year has been odd and injuries, etc., but it looked more like a lack of mental readiness than physical ability. Could it have been the road atmosphere that's always a challenge for college players? Or that Florida was coming off of a pandemic shutdown and everyone was talking about how vulnerable they could be? The first offensive play set the tone for both sides of the ball and they never recovered. Both the offensive and defensive schemes looked off and did not match what Florida threw at them.
    Missouri did not look sharp on either side of the ball. Tackling was really bad. Catching was really bad. The run blocking just wasn't very physical. I don't think it was a question of effort. It just wasn't crisp execution. 
    There's an obvious talent mismatch in certain areas, too. Missouri doesn't have elite defenders to cover a tandem as good as Pitts and Toney. Missouri doesn't have dynamic pass rushers to disrupt a potent Dan Mullen passing game. Missouri has faced two high-level college quarterbacks this year in Trask and Mac Jones. Myles Brennan doesn't have as wide a body of work, but I'd say he could be close to that company. But for now, here's what Jones and Trask did against Missouri's defense: 39 of 59 for 594 yards, six touchdowns and one interception. 
    You’re saying Mizzou will be a decided underdog when UGA comes to COMO a week from Saturday. UGA beat KY at Ky 14-3, whileMizzou beat KY in COMO 20-10. I know you can’t predict an outcome using comparable scores but the game is in COMO. It appears that UGA’s defense is much better than its offense, although Bama scored 40 on them. One of the things I would like the Tigers to be more competitive against ranked foes when it is a home game. If MU can only score 17 against a Florida team that was out 3 weeks, will they be able to stop a UGA offense that only scored 14 at KY. Can the even score 17 against the UGA defense?
    I don't have a lot of faith in Missouri's ability to move the ball up and down the field against this Georgia defense, home or away. The Florida game was pretty uninspiring. Missouri controlled the clock and sustained long drives against Kentucky, but it wasn't exactly an awe-inspiring offensive performance by today's standards. Georgia's offense does not have much of a vertical threat, but UGA didn't have wide receiver George Pickens against Kentucky. He's arguably the Bulldogs' best player, especially on offense. If Missouri would have been more successful offensively at Florida - against a Gators defense missing three starters in the first half and four starters after the brawl - I would give MU a better shot against UGA's defense.
    Drinkwitz is about to start his press conference. I'll post anything of substance. May take me a few minutes to get to your questions, but keep them coming.
    Drinkwitz: LG Xavier Delgado had a tightrope procedure on his ankle, will be out several weeks but not the whole season.
    Drinkwitz on the Florida fight, says he shared conversations with SEC commissioner Greg Sankey. "We're moving on from the incident. Actions have consequences. We're dealing with those consequences."
    Drinkwitz: It's an open competition for the left guard job for the Georgia game. 
    He's not sure if DT Kobie Whiteside will be back for Georgia game. Target is the South Carolina game on Nov. 21. 
    Drinkwitz: Because the year doesn't count toward eligibility, DE/OLB Jatorian Hansford returned early this year from a shoulder injury. He's on a snap count, can provide some quality depth as a backup.
    Drinkwitz: Drops are a lack of focus. He notes that the drops have come on the road at Tennessee and Florida. 
  • Drinkwitz says the team has no new covid cases.
    He also notes that there's a 14-day latency period, so future tests could reveal cases. 
    Drinkwitz says he always scripts the first 10 days of the game to get a read on what the defense is trying to do
    Drinkwitz asked what he's learned about himself this season, says he's knows he can keep his poise in situations, doesn't have over-emotional reactions in certain situations. Sounds to me like an obvious reference to Dan Mullen.
    Drinkwitz on why so few touches for Tyler Badie at Florida, says, "That' was a screw-up by me." Says the offense never got into a rhythm and as a result he didn't get him involved as much as he wanted to.
    OK, folks. That's the end of the press conference.
    Dave - Now that we are about half way through the season, it appears that Mizzou has made strides on both sides of the ball. What areas do you believe the offense and defense need to improve on going in to the second half of the seaon? Thank You.
    I thought the Florida game was a bit of a step backward for both sides of the ball. The defense needs to be more disruptive, more takeaways. Only one interception in five games while on the field for 153 pass attempts. The defense is back to giving up too many big plays. Only Ole Miss and LSU have given up more 30-yard plays from scrimmage than MU's 13 - and Ole Miss has played one more game. 
    Offensively, MU has to be more efficient in the running game. In the last two games, Rountree has averaged just 3.3 yards per carry. Badie is worse at 3.2. Those numbers have to be closer to 5. 
    Then this team has to clean up the drops. They go on the road and the drops come in bunches. This offense isn't dynamic enough to survive those kind of self-inflicted mistakes.  
    Did you fly or drive to the game? Either way, The Post’s commitment to provide the best possible coverage gave you a leg up on your colleagues (especially re: the view of the fight) and is reason alone for us to subscribe.
    I flew to the Florida game. That's a 16-hour drive from Columbia. I was able to get a flight into Gainesville from St. Louis Saturday morning. Not ideal to have a connection during a pandemic, but I made it work. 
    Thank you for your subscription. The P-D has been incredibly supportive about travel plans during the pandemic. As long as I'm comfortable with the risks of traveling I have the green light to cover road games this year. 
  • Aren’t you surprised that Mullen wasn’t suspended for coming back onto the field and clearly inciting the crowd? Is this a case of the SEC wanting him on the field for the UGA game?
  • I did not expect Mullen to get suspended. Not with the de-factor SEC East championship game this week. I thought the league could have and should have fined him for more money than Lane Kiffin was fined for a retweet.
  • Were you surprised at the WR snap counts given the drops?
    No. Which receiver should have played more? I guess Boo Smith was the one who didn't see the field very much, but Hazelton's snaps decreased after his early drops. I know Knox had one bad drop, but he's still arguably Mizzou's best playmaker. I don't think you bench him for a mistake like that. He does things nobody else on this team can do in the slot both running and receiving.
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