Join Mizzou beat writer Dave Matter for his live chat at 11 a.m. Thursday

Join Mizzou beat writer Dave Matter for his live chat at 11 a.m. Thursday

Bring your Tigers football, basketball and recruiting questions, and talk to Dave Matter in a live chat at 11 a.m. Thursday.

    Greetings, Mizzou chatters. Let's have a good one today. I'm here for the next couple hours. I imagine there's plenty we can discuss.
    My comment on the Missouri-Boston College game. I know our defense was weak, but what cost the Tigers was penalties on the last drive for Boston College in regulation. First, we gift them 15 yards on the kickoff after we take the lead. Set up on their 40, BC gets an offsides from Missouri when it was 2nd-&-6. We stop them on second and one, but a QB sneak gave the Eagles a first down with 4 minutes left in the game. BC ended up scoring with 25 seconds left on a third down run from the 5. No one really knows what would have happened had Missouri not gave them 20 free yards to start the drive. We were in position to win, in spite of the defense.
    Yeah, the personal foul on a touchback was inexcusable. It's one thing to get into some pushing and shoving after a hard tackle or block, but not on a touchback. That was just terrible discipline in a pivotal moment.
    Compared to other SEC schools, how does our men's basketball recruiting class look so far for next year?
    Mizzou's two-man 2022 class ranks fifth in the SEC - behind Arkansas, Kentucky, Vandy and Florida - and ranks No. 39 nationally, according to 247Sports national composite, which calculates several recruiting outlets 
    Keep in mind, Mizzou has only two commitments currently because it doesn't have room for more additions as the roster stands now.
    When we hired our new AD, Dr. Choi said the university was aiming for championships. What coach would be in the hottest seat right now? Does the non-revenue sports coaches feel any pressure, such as volleyball and baseball?
    The volleyball staff is still fairly new. It's been a rough season, but it's a major transition year with all the roster turnover.
    Baseball coach Steve Bieser is going into his sixth season. I'd think MU wants to see better results there soon.
    Keep in mind, though, Mizzou isn't in a great position financially to be be paying buyouts to coaches in sports that don't generate revenue. When it comes to sports like track, swimming, golf, tennis, etc., as long as those programs aren't complete disasters on and/or off the field, those coaches usually don't face much scrutiny or pressure to produce championships.
    Of Mizzou’s football recruiting class coming in next year, how many of them are on the defensive side of the ball?
    Only five of the current 14 commitments are defensive players: two D-tackles, a linebacker, a safety and a cornerback.
    But freshmen aren't going to rescue this defense in 2022. Mizzou signed 12 high school defensive players in the 2021 class. Those players will be in better position to contribute next year. Right now, only one of those rookies are in the current rotation: D-tackle Mekhi Wingo.
  • Mizzou last in SEC (BY FAR) and near the bottom of the entire NCAA. Is Wilks really that bad? I think I could coach (I have zero experience) as bad as Wilks is.
    The rush defense is near the bottom of the NCAA rankings. 
    It's hard for me to say how much is the coordinator ... how much is the position coaches ... how much is the talent ... how much is the lack of depth. It's easy to criticize the results, but what about the coordinator or his scheme or his tendencies do people not like? I haven't heard or read any substantive complaints other than just not liking the results. I think it's fair to wonder how well or poorly the staff is teaching angles and tackling, but a lot of what I see is just an inability to beat blocks and win the 1-on-1 matchups. 
    Wilks has an underachieving, undersized crop of interior linemen. There's nobody close to Nick Bolton at linebacker. The tackling has been suspect at all three levels. The outside force players - usually a cornerback - tend to lose leverage at times and lead to explosive plays. The edge players sometimes struggle to set the edge. 
    I thought last week BC's play-action game caught the secondary a step slow in coverage, which is what it's designed to do. 
    In your opinion, which sport is set to have the best season - Missouri wrestling or Missouri softball?
    Both should be in position to have top 10 teams. I'll go with wrestling ... by an ear.
    Being retired I get to watch a lot of SEC Network and watch many of the memorable games of the past from all the schools. Missouri has played some wild games over the years, knocking off #1 OU, beating KU in KC, knocking off LSU last year, the original Kick Six with Nebraska, Fifth down Colorado, TJ Moe's improbable score against San Diego St. My question, in the time you've covered Missouri football, what is your most exciting game you have covered?
    There will never be a build-up or national stakes at play in a rivalry game like the 2007 Kansas game in KC. It won't be topped. I could do this job for another 50 years and I'll  never cover an MU game where No. 1 in the rankings is on the line in the final game of the regular season between two arch-rivals on a neutral field. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I love covering games, but that day was something else because of the enormous stakes at play, no matter how the game unfolded.
    Mookie Cooper: overhyped and undersized? Or injured and still getting used to the college game. He seems to be a running back/receiver hybrid…but kinda lost in the offense. Will we see him get it going Saturday? Can he find a role in the offense?
  • I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and say the injury is still a factor. He hasn't shown anything close to the burst I saw back in the spring, even when he was running routes on air in practice. 
    He's small. I tried warning everyone since seeing him in pads last spring. He's not going to break many tackles in the SEC. He's got to make plays with speed and elusiveness. Right now, though, Banister is a better football player. He's not as fast but he knows who he is on the field, knows how to get open and catches every pass and how to get to the marker. It seems like Cooper is still trying to figure out the speed of the game, figure out how to use space on the field and, more than anything, how to play when his body isn't 100 percent. I thought Drinkwitz's comments to my question this week about Cooper was pretty candid. Bottom line, he doesn't want him just serving a small, gimmicky role. He wants him out there able to do everything asked of that position in the offense. Physically, I'm not sure he's there yet. 
  • Thank you for taking the time to put this chat on. Congratulations on your recent award. It was richly deserved. I understand how people are in the sports coverage business not for the awards, but for the love of covering the events, but it is always nice to get recognized by your peers.
    Thank you, Mark. It was a tremendous honor. I'm not comfortable accepting praise, but to be recognized by my peers was a thrill, especially knowing the caliber of the past winners. I was so happy for my friend Ross Dellenger when he won the award last year - and then to follow him a year later was really special.
    Hello Dave. Everyone mentions 'rebuilding' but ALL teams rebuild, restock and reload. So why is Mizzou different? Arkansas did it just fine and they are in the top 10.
  • Arkansas still has games against Georgia, Alabama, Ole Miss, Auburn and LSU. Nobody is crowning the Hogs just yet. They've been really impressive - and I'm not shocked. Pittman did what smart coaches do. He's not a play-caller. He's not a scheme guy. So he went out and hired two proven coordinators in Kendal Briles and Barry Odom. They're a team with very clear identities on both sides of the ball - and that starts with coaching. From there, it's pretty obvious there was talent on that roster left over from the Chad Morris years. The Hogs were three plays away from being 6-4 last year with Morris' players instead of 3-7. Unlike Mizzou last year, Arkansas lost close games. MU was blown out in its losses - and was a lot closer to 3-7 than 7-3. So, if you look at the full body of work from the past two seasons and the talent both head coaches inherited, I'm not all that surprised by Arkansas' success. 
    But ... and this is a big but ... the SEC West is a gauntlet. Nobody should be surprised if Arkansas finishes with five or six losses. 
  • Should it be considered a surprise that Pittman has Arkansas rolling? The guy was never even a coordinator, correct? But they seem to be way ahead of where Mizzou is, when last year the consensus seemed to be Mizzou was way ahead in the quest to build a consistent SEC winner. What happened?
    Again, I don't think it's true that Missouri was way ahead of Arkansas after last season. Mizzou was 5-5. Arkansas 3-7. And MU needed a last-minute drive and last-second field goal to beat the Hogs. If Mevis misses that field goal both teams are 4-6 and nobody is convinced Mizzou is way ahead of Arkansas as a program. I think some folks forget, or never realized, that Mizzou was outscored by 56 points last year for the season.
    Did the coaching staff miss out in the spring/summer on not adding another running back? The backs behind Badie aren’t getting much work…..Michael Cox has looked good to me in his limited playing time.
    They chased a few transfer portal running backs but I never sensed there was a great urgency to sign one. They like Elijah Young. They like BJ Harris. Cox is creating a role for himself. 
    If anything, after 14 games under Drinkwitz, we're learning one of his tendencies: In close games, he sticks with his No. 1 running back and rarely goes to the backup. He did the same thing last year. Rountree rarely left the field in MU's most competitive games. Now, it's Badie who rarely comes out. 
    Seems to me NFL coaches never work out in college don’t know what they were doing In the Wilkes hire, thoughts?
  • Once a coach is good enough to earn a steady living in the NFL they rarely go back to college, so I don't know if there are a lot of great examples to prove the point. I don't know for certain that the issue with Mizzou's defense is Wilks' NFL background. This wasn't a good defense last year and the coordinator was a college lifer. 
    Good morning Dave and hope your day is off to a good start. First off, want to congratulate you again on the award you just recently received. That's quite an honor and Mizzou fans should be very proud to know they've truly got one of the best beatwriters in the country with you. I know I sure am.

    With that said I got a lot of questions/comments I wrote out for you today so hopefully you won't be too annoyed by me today and I can get them all in lol.

    Let me start with this one: I say the 1960 Missouri Tigers should make a claim on the National Championship that year and hang a banner in Faurot declaring as such. I mean, why not? I did some research and saw there is a ridiculous history of schools claiming National Championships that didn't really win it or at the very least it's heavily disputed whether they won it. And a lot of those teams I would bet were NOT better than the 1960 10-0 Tigers!
    Thank you for the kind note.
    I'm not big on claiming titles that nobody else recognizes. The whole point of winning a championship is because the rest of the sport looks at you as a champion, right? 
    I noticed the MU Volleyball team is doing surprisingly bad this season.
    I suppose this is a rebuilding year for the team?
    Complete roster overhaul. Transfer portal giveth and taketh away for that program.
    Has Badie's off-season  weight gain made a difference for him at all in terms of pounding he can take over a whole game similar to Larry Rountree?
    It clearly hasn't hurt his speed or quickness. At this point he's proven he's durable to handle the load.
    Not only is the Mizzou defense last in the SEC, but the new defensive coach Wilks is apparently having a problem getting the defense to gel, but HCED is falling behind the new coaches at our neighboring states. Illinois gave up a total of 33 points th its last 2 Big 10 opponents. What is Ryan Walters doing that Wilks isn’t? Meanwhile Arkansas knocked of Texas and TexasA&M holding them to a total of 31 points. Even SEMO got 28 points in the 2nd half with the 2nd and 3rd string. Now Tennessee is here averaging 28 points per game with Heupel’s no huddle offense. I am hoping for a defensive turnaround, but not optimistic based on the first 4 games. Tennessee is the most important game of the season. It will show if Mizzou can play against a team they appear to be equal to. I thoughtMU would have beaten Kentucky if the game had been played in COMO. It’s time to beat Tennessee Saturday.
    Illinois is giving up only 6 fewer yards per game than Missouri, but the Illini did a decent job holding Maryland and Purdue to only 33 points combined. The Tennessee game is enormous - for both teams. The team that loses Saturday will have to spring some upsets to hit six wins. I think it's a fairly even matchup. The Vols don't do anything particularly well. They spread you out but they're not a highly functional offense. I'm  not impressed with either Vols quarterback. It's a huge tackling game for the Mizzou defense. UT playmakers will get the ball in space. Explosive plays happen when you miss tackles in the open field. There's a chance for a lot of that in this game.
    Has the defense made any adjustments at all this year?
  • Every team makes adjustments from series to series, half to half, week to week. Mizzou has clearly adjusted its base package, going more with Shawn Robinson as a third linebacker in traditional running situations. Martez Manuel's role on the field changes all the time. The blitzes are hard to predict, which is exactly the point.
  • Dave, thank you for in a recent article touching on the 2 costly penalties by Mizzou on BC's last drive because I had been wondering about that. Of course, not that it likely would've mattered against our atrocious defense even if we had started them on their own 25 and didn't get any penalties on the drive. But still, I at least wonder about the first one they called--the one where you said MU was inexplicably called for a personal foul, unnecessary roughness on linebacker Jamie Pettway. Was it inexplicable because it was a bad call? Or inexplicable because it was a dumb mistake by Pettway?
    Of course, they didn't show the replay of it on TV for MU fans to see exactly what the penalty commited was. Did you catch it at the time, and if so, was it indeed a legit call by the refs?
    It's inexcusable to get a personal foul on a touchback. The ball went into the end zone. There's no reason for a cheap shot hit or any hit after the whistle on a play when there's no play, no run, no tackle, etc.
    What do you make of Arkansas? Over-rated or are they really that improved this year. Where is Odom next season?
    I touched on Arkansas a couple questions ago. Their body of work is as impressive as any team in the SEC. Nothing flukish about their two big wins. But still a long, hard road ahead. 
    As for Odom, if the Hogs stay on this trend, he will have plenty of offers, either Group of 5  head-coaching offers or better Power 5 coordinator offers. Is there a Power 5 school out there that will try to hire him? Maybe. A few decent programs could be making moves if their seasons don't improve. Arizona State? Pittsburgh? Texas Tech? Purdue? Syracuse? What about Houston? At the Group of 5 level, few ADs know him better than North Texas' Wren Baker. 
    Odom wants to be a head coach again. He expects it to happen. But he can afford to be picky. He won't settle for the first crummy HC job that comes his way. I know he really likes his situation at Arkansas, but don't forget, he's still a Jimmy Sexton client. If there's a better coordinator situation with more money at LSU or Alabama or Florida, he'll be a top candidate at those places, too.  
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