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.

    I know our pass defense hasn’t been great either, and I’m not sure replacing Carlies with Chad Bailey is the answer. But, does it make sense to bring in another linebacker at least on run downs and keep Manuel and Shawn Robinson closer to the line on tight ends and slot receivers.
    I don't think you take Carlies off the field. He's been one of the defense's best players. Manuel and Robinson are fairly versatile. Robinson is essentially the same size as the other backup linebackers, so playing him as a third safety can work unless you're facing four- and five-receiver sets. 
    They'll be spread wide on Saturday, so getting a third linebacker on the field wouldn't make much sense. 
    Given how close Mizzou is to being 3-1 or 4-0, do you view Saturday’s Vols game as a “must win” for Coach Drinkwitz and his staff to claim a “successful” season?
    If you lose to Tennessee, you're 2-3 with expected wins against North Texas and Vanderbilt putting. That means you have to win two of the following games to reach bowl eligibility:
    vs. Texas A&M
    vs. Florida
    vs. South Carolina
    at Georgia
    at Arkansas
    Missouri would be favored against South Carolina, but underdogs against the rest. So, those are the stakes if you lose Saturday: You're going to have to upset a currently ranked team, either A&M, Florida, Georgia or Arkansas. And to win seven games, you have to beat two of them. 
    If you beat Tennessee, you can get to six wins by only beating underdogs.
    Now, Mizzou should never be satisfied with six regular-season wins. But given the current circumstances, that's where things stand.
    In the poll below, the first option should be Mizzou wins by more than 3 but less than 10
  • In your opinion, how hot is Robin Pingeton’s seat? It seems to me that a coach entering her 12th season, has lost 33 games the last 2 campaigns , has never seriously competed for a conference championship, and has never made even a sweet 16 should be directly in the crosshairs of the new AD.
    It's an important year. I don't think Reed-Francois is coming in and setting a win quota or anything like that. Mizzou WBB has been a very popular program locally. But the further they get from the Cunningham years, the buzz is wearing off. The wins, too. 
    I think this could be a bounce-back year for Pingeton's program. The two best players are now upperclassmen. She's recruiting fairly well - not at an elite level but landing some talented players and transfers. Nobody gets a complete free pass for the COVID year but last year's team was a mess from the start because of all the practice time and nonconference games missed with a completely remade roster. There should be more continuity this year. 
    Is Missouri the Not Ready for Prime Time PLayers of the SEC. this week is the third week in a row with an 11am kickoff. I can understand the SEMO game starting at 11am although that game wasn’t even on the SEC network channels. Next week’s game vs North Texas ia at 3pm. Maybe the SEC schedulemaker is telling Mizzou something.
    Tennessee is playing at 11 am CT/noon ET for the third time in four weeks. Arkansas at Georgia is a matchup of two top 10 teams and the site for College GameDay. Guess what? Also an 11 am CT/noon ET start. 
    The networks value the 11 am/noon starts much more than the fans. It's the No. 1 TV window for the Big Ten and Fox. 
    I know you're getting a lot of questions about Mookie Cooper that I have just sort of skimmed over w/out reading them in full at the moment, so my apologies if the following questions about him are redundant to you:
    What's the point of playing Mookie Cooper at all if he's playing hurt and not able to be very productive yet on the field? Wouldn't they be better off resting him no matter how many weeks it takes until he's completely healed? Furthermore, you said Cooper posted on Instagram: "would love to play some WR." Uh-oh!  Do Mizzou fans have to worry about him eventually going through the transfer portal again based on that sullen statement by him?
    If he goes through the portal again, he'd have to sit out a full year. He's already gotten his one-time freebie. I wouldn't read into one Instagram post too much, but he was clearly frustrated in the moment. To me, he doesn't look very explosive. If he looks the same way in practice, I think you have to consider resting him. He didn't practice Tuesday when reporters were allowed to watch the first 30 minutes or so. MU will release its injury report later this evening. I imagine he'll be on there, maybe as questionable. His assets are speed and quickness. If those are compromised, then I'm not sure he's any more valuable than Banister and Luper.
    Ditto to what Mark C. said. Congratulations! Your knowledge of the intricacies of the games and your writing skills are a fantastic combination.
    What’s your take on defensive end play? As a group there’s no ability to pressure the QB or make stops on runs in the backfield or even at the line of scrimmage. Jeffcoat was projected to have a breakout year. Why hasn’t he produced more? Any chance 4 star recruit Ford will have an impact this year?
    Isaiah McGuire has been decent and by far the line's most productive player. 
    Chris Turner just doesn't produce much in terms of disruptive plays. Jeffcoat gets some extra attention, but someone else should benefit from that. 
    I say it's unlikely that Ford does much this year. He got in against SEMO in the second half and made a play or two, but he's clearly working his way back form his offseason injury. MU had never disclosed the severity of it, but Steve Wilks described it recently as an Achilles' injury. I'm somewhat surprised he's been out there at all if we're talking about a full rupture of the tendon. 
    What are you memories of dealing with Josh Heupel when he was here from a media standpoint?
  • I touched on that in this week's podcast with Blake Toppmeyer. Josh is friendly and likable but he he's very guarded. He's not one for small talk or personal conversations. He was all about ball. Nothing else. Now, maybe he's different as a head coach where it's in his best interest to cultivate a relationship with some people in the media, but when he was at Mizzou, his goals were pretty clear: Put up enough points and yards until someone gives him a head-coaching job. That plan certainly worked. 
    He's the kind of coach I want to like personally because by all accounts he's a good dude and works really hard. He's just more introverted personality-wise.

    Eye on the Tigers: With Vols up next, Mizzou can't afford a Boston hangover

    The Post-Dispatch's Dave Matter and Ben Frederickson revisit Mizzou's overtime loss at Boston College, preview Saturday's visit from Tennessee and old friend Josh Heupel and take a closer look at

  • Hi, Dave. Thanks for all you do!!
    $207 million for MPJ. Did that surprise you?
    Somewhat. He's become a very efficient scorer in the NBA, but he's not an All-Star. He's got clear weak spots in his game. And he could be putting his team at a competitive disadvantage by refusing to get vaccinated.
    Dave, I've always wondered, does that annual game in Jerry Jones' palace in Dallas between A&M and Arkansas give the Hogs a big recruiting advantage in Texas?For what it's worth, I despise the man with all my heart(as you well know, many St. Louis football fans do), so nothing sleazy the man does would surprise me in his attempts to build up his Alma Mater's football program.
    I have never understood the notion that the location of a road football game will help or hurt a team's recruiting. It's a theory that coaches seem conditioned to support, but I've never understood why. How does it help? The team spends no more than 48 hours in a road location. They can't have recruits on the sideline for a road game or neutral-site setting. Recruits aren't picking a school because they play a road game near their hometown once a year or every other year. I'd wager just as many kids are excited to play in faraway unique settings, like Boston or San Diego - using a couple Mizzou noncon games for example.
    Dave - Congratulations on your award this week - very well deserved. I have been following MIzzou football since I was in college at UMKC in the 70s, but I never experienced the high level of journalism that you provide. Hats off to you!!

    I'm not sold this is a soley a Steve Wilkes problem. We are pointing too many fingers at him. Okay he probably could do better. But clearly we are not performing at the line of scrimmage and at linebacker - for what ever reason. We are asking him to "pull a rabbit out of his hat" and fix the problem. Just putting aside Mizzou's contract obligations to him, do we need to make a change at the end of the season. Thank You
    Drinkwitz will evaluate every part of his program inside and out at the end of the year. He's shown he's willing to make staff changes. But keep in mind, Wilks was his hand-picked choice just eight months ago after he didn't want to keep the last coordinator. If the hand-picked choice is such a bust, who's to say the next choice will be better? 
    Odom cut DeMontie Cross loose two games into the 2017 season, but there was clearly a personality clash there and a difference in coaching philosophy. I don't sense that's the case here. Guys just aren't playing up the level that was expected. Also, internally, I know this staff expected there to be some growing pains with this defense regardless of the scheme. It was a below average defense last year, lost two starters on the D-line - Tre Williams is an All-SEC player right  now for Arkansas - plus an NFL starter at linebacker and two NFL picks at safety. 
    Just a comment. Somebody needs to feed Elijah Young a couple more sandwiches before he takes over in the lead role next year. Hopefully he can take some Badie diet tips and bulk up without losing the speed and elusiveness. I like his potential.
    He can definitely afford to add some bulk.
  • I missed last week’s chat. This question has to do with the Memphis-Miss St game and the controversial Memphis punt return that was the difference is the game. Memphis apparently had 3 number 4s on the field on that play which seems to me to be illegal. I looked at th Mizzou roster and saw duplicate numbers from 1 to 9 with one exception. I thought that on the road teams can only bring so many players so that would not be a problem on the road. How many players dress for home games and is everybody eligible to play if the game gets out of hand like it did against SEMO.?
    Whether it's at home or on the road, you can't have two players on the field with the same number. Mizzou had a jersey swap in either the Kentucky game or SEMO game so to avoid having two players with the same number on one of the kicking units. 
    Tennessee made that mistake last week at Florida. They had two No. 1s on the field for a punt return. Both ran off the field because they understood the rule, so UT only had nine players on the return. 
    For Mizzou, there have been games in the past where a player wears a new number just for game day because he's on the same kicking game unit as another player with the same number. There aren't too many cases this year where it would be a problem, unless Hester and Carnell - both No. 13 - were gunners on the punt team. 
    Hard to blame the offense with how successful they have been so far, but what happened to the idea the Mookie Cooper was supposed to be the dynamic athlete we were missing? Could've missed something, but he is a non factor so far this season.
    Touched on this a bunch this season and Drinkwitz addressed the situation earlier this week. Read more here: 
    I don’t have any data to back this up, but it seems to me that the interior of the Mizzou d-line is underperforming vs last year. Some of the players were mentioned as potential NFL draft picks…Whiteside. Are they getting double teamed more this year? If so what would cause that? Ineffective pass rush? From Ends and Linebackers? Either way, they can’t seem to shed blocks resulting in a lot of rushing yards against. Thoughts?
    Whiteside was never healthy last year after tearing a knee ligament the second week of the season, so it's better to compare him to his 2019 season. And that's when he was productive but playing alongside Jordan Elliott, a first-team All-SEC tackle, NFL draft pick and now a regular in Cleveland's rotation. Whiteside doesn't have that luxury now. Byers has been the best tackle this season but isn't exactly an All-SEC performer by any means. It's just not a strong position in terms of talent or depth right now. 
    There's hope in Wingo. He's shown flashes. But he's still just a freshman playing a man's position on the biggest stage in college football. 
    Hello Dave,
    Congrats on the national beat writer award. Much deserved. You do a fine job of keeping the 'stock-market' emotional reaction out of your coverage.
    Now, the comment. I have got to give Coach D and Wilks time to develop the product that they have to work with. Well, it may not work, but that's what makes college sports special... seeing that potential produce results. Maybe I'm too positive based on the bad 'D performance thus far, but come on MIZZOU fans, get behind team and be patient.
    John L
    Steve Wilks knows how to call a defense. There's no debate there. What we don't see up close is the work put in behind the scenes to know if there's some kind of disconnect between the scheme and the teaching of the system and the personnel on the field. All offseason the players praised him for his ability to communicate and teach the defense. But so far, the results stink - and this is a results-oriented business. All those countless hours installing the defense, teaching the defense, practicing defense boil down to what happens on the field every seventh day for 60 minutes. That's all we have to measure. 
    When I watch MU's defense, I just don't see the athletes, the speed or the depth that's required in this league to win big games. 
    Really impressed with Shawn Robinson. Great athlete and plays physical. Great interception against BC. Clay Aldridge plays with emotion but looks too small. Makes some plays but hust as often gets taken out by an O lineman. Was hoping Nicholson would play stronger, nut don’t hear his nam much. What’s your take on the play of these 3? Seems like Martez Manuel is the only big playmaker on D.
    Manuel had his most active game at BC. He was all over the field. That's what he needs to give this defense. 
    Nicholson makes some tackles but isn't a dynamic playmaker. 
    Alldredge plays hard. There's no doubt. He's undersized for the position at this level. But he does put himself in position to make plays. He's just not always equipped to make impact plays against top-level blocking. 
    Robinson is a remarkable story considering he was MU's starting QB a year ago. Anything he gives this defense is a bonus - and he's a starter. That should tell you two things. 
    1. Incredible effort/work ethic/ability by him.
    2. Terrible depth at the position
    Consider this: Robinson has now played five games on defense. Really more like four and a half. He shares the team lead in career interceptions with two. 
  • Hey, Dave ... I feel I'm a knowledgeable fan but never having played football at a college level I wanted to ask something about tactics you may have gleaned from talking to coaches. When Wilks (or any coach) chooses to bring pressure on the QB, why don't they also have their DBs jumping the routes? It seems they often play soft coverage when they know the QB has to get the ball out in two seconds or less.
    If you're playing more soft coverage that means you don't trust your DBs to keep the play in front of them. You're vulnerable to get beat deep, especially the protection picks up the blitz and the QB has time to throw. Mizzou played a ton of press-man coverage under Ryan Walters - and it was one of Drinkwitz's strongest criticisms of the defense after he made the change.
    Hi Dave. I support Coach Drink but if he is truly building a program we should be 6-2 heading into GA. No excuses just win some games, which he has promised. Your thoughts? Thanks
    I don't recall him making any kind of promises about this season. If anything he's been subtly tempering expectations for this season - well before the season started. 
    Saturday looks like a swing game. When your defense is this bad, you're vulnerable against anyone in the SEC not named Vanderbilt. Is Texas A&M winnable? Sure. The Aggies don't have much of an offense. But it's possible for Mizzou to  be building the program in a positive direction and still lose that game. 
    Dave, going to break a rather lengthy post I had written out for you into two parts, but keep in mind they are both related. So I'll call this one "Part I': I consider myself an expert on the patterns of behavior by the MU fanbase having attended many games at Faurot Field going back some 30 years. So this is what's gonna happen Saturday attendance-wise: deduct 5,000 casual/frontrunner fans who otherwise might have considered attending  had MU not lost last week, deduct another 5,000 who won't show up because of the 11am start, deduct another 5,000 who won't show up because the forecast(as of now anyway) calls for a  chance of rain. Add that up in our increasingly-reduced-capacity of a stadium due to not enough fans showing(for those not in the know, they reduced capacity from 70,000 to 62,000 in the last few years, and for some reason they took another 1,000 away this year to make official capacity somewhere around 61,000?!?), and I come up with a total attendance this Saturday of once again somewhere near 45-46,000 again. An x-factor might be how many UT fans show up and they might "help us" to increase the attendance higher.
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