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. Welcome back. Hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving. I am not in Virginia today but will be writing about the Mizzou-Liberty game remotely tonight. Let's get started with the chat.
    Dave, with the regular season over how would you evaluate each position group this year?
    And, though the roster will be altered by those transferring in and out, what are the strongest areas based on players expected back and recruits currently committed ?
    Lots to address here. If we're evaluating each position group for the 2021 season, I'd rank the units as such, from best to worst ...
    * Running back: It's mostly a one-man show with Tyler Badie having the most prolific regular-season in team history. Now, if the team had a clear-cut No. 2 maybe Badie doesn't get all those carries and yards, but it's not like he wore down late in games or late in the season. He was at his best in the fourth quarter and in the month of November.
    * Specialists: Mevis, Koetting and McKinniss were all solid to great. Same with the long snappers. 
    * Secondary: Lots of injuries here, but Abrams-Draine, Evans and Carlies were all second-team All-SEC candidates on my ballot. Manuel had his moments, too. Green played well late in the year when pressed into more duty.
    * Offensive line: No real stars in this group, though Maeitti was my first-team All-SEC choice. Durable, reliable, very good in the run game. The tackles were solid as first-year full-time starters. 
    * Quarterback: It was an uneven season for Bazelak. He had a solid start, a shaky middle and a troubling finish. You have to take the injury into consideration, but as a unit, if the staff had great faith in the backup options, they would have played more.
    * Linebacker: Rough, rough start for this group, but once they settled on Bailey and Alldredge as the No. 1 pairing, they became much more productive. 
    * Defensive line: Again, not a good start by an experienced unit. But McGuire was productive all season. Jeffcoat showed up in November. Robinson was effective once he got healthy. As a unit, this group didn't seem to play well until about a month after the coaching change from Jethro Franklin to Al Davis.
    * Receiver: Dove didn't score any touchdowns, but he was the best deep threat and showed pretty steady hands. Chism is a fine possession receiver but not incredibly consistent. Lovett and Cooper went through some growing pains. Banister had an injury but was productive as you'd expect. 
    * Tight end: This group didn't have a dynamic athlete, but Hea and Parker had their moments as productive blockers and occasional receivers. 
    As for the future, the O-line and D-line will be OK pending any unforeseen departures. Jeffcoat, McGuire, Wingo, Robinson is a fine starting four along the D-line. They need some of the young guys to emerge, whether that's Ford, Walker or Montgomery, they need some depth and youth along the front. Maietti won't be easy to replace, but if both tackles and the current guards return, they'll figure out a center. 
    Bailey is a nice returning piece at linebacker. Need to identify the other starter. 
    Manuel, Carlies, Abrams-Draine, Jackson, Rakestraw is a good core in the secondary to build around. Need some more young guys like Carnell to emerge. If Shawn Robinson returns, that would be a big boost.
    I have so many questions but I will just ask a few 1. Does riley go after luther burden now that he is at USC. 2. Who you thinks leaves macon , cook or both. 3. If burden does come we must get him the ball is drink a good enough offensive mind to figure out how to do that. 4. I counted 25 4 star and 5 star players in the portal the last 3 days what is the process to get a few of these guys. Thanks Dave for your time you do a great job I follow you everyday and my Mizzou gang rely on me updating them all things Mizzou daily.
    Just a disclaimer, I don't make guesses or speculate on who might transfer. If a player officially enters the portal or I'm told he definitely plans to enter the portal, then I'll report that as accurately as I can. But no public guessing. 
    1. I'm sure Lincoln Riley will make a call or a dozen to Burden. It would be coaching malpractice if he doesn't. I don't think it'll be successful. Mizzou can officially sign Burden and the other commitments in 13 days.
    2. I would be surprised if Mizzou has all four QBs on scholarship in 2022 (Bazelak, Macon, Cook, Horn), but, like I said, I won't guess.
    3. I don't see a question there.
    4. You reach out to them and see if they're interested. It's not a complicated process. The purpose of the portal is to eliminate all the red tape that used to be in the way for recruiting transfers.
    I like coach martin I don't think he took advantage of the portal last spring to get a big. Mizzou athletic department doesn't have 6 million to throw around . To me I see a very little road to more then 8 to 10 wins. With a 4 star coming in all these guys back but pickett . Seems like giving martin one more year to see if we can compete is the right thing to do. Your thoughts
    Let's see how this season unfolds. It looks pretty dire. From the body of work we've seen over the last month, this looks like a team that will have to be in one of the 14 vs. 11, 12 vs. 13 play-in games to make the SEC tournament. That's not a good place to be in year five of a coaching staff. I wondered all along how this team would win without proven 3-point shooting. It's a concern. Point guard is a concern. Size inside is a concern. The buyout piece of the equation can't be ignored. Martin's contract is structured to give him time to develop this roster, even in year five. 
    I'm not sure if everyone noticed the story I reported yesterday, but Mizzou eliminated two high-level positions in the athletics department and fired those administrators who were making less than $300,000 combined. Reed-Francois inherited a department that's been in the red for five straight years - and that's before a pandemic forced massive cuts last year. Finding $6 million for a buyout is no simple task. 
    Dave, thanks as always for your time. With all the upheaval in various FBS programs, it’s often lost in the shuffle that asst coaches are let go too. Can you look into your crystal ball and divine whether that translates into any changes/additions in the MU staff? For example, any chance MU adds any “analysts” or similar staff?
    The analysts are usually year-to-year gigs and are really hard to predict. A current analyst could have a connection to another assistant who just landed or will soon land a new job with a new staff as a position coach or coordinator. So, a lot can still happen. Once these major jobs are filled - Notre Dame, officially, and Oklahoma - then there will be a trickle-down effect. Staffs will come together all over the place. Coaches will be poached all over the place. So, a lot of moving pieces. I haven't heard or read any Mizzou staffers' names being connected to any current openings, but that could change by the day or by the hour. Ryan Walters left Mizzou for Illinois in early January. So, lots of time still.
    UPDATE: Not long after today's chat, Mizzou tight ends coach Casey Woods accepted the offensive coordinator job at SMU. 
    HCED has said before that he plays Conner Bazelak because he feels that Bazelak gives them the best chance to win. Since he still is starting Bazelak, he must continue to feel the same way. So what does that say about Brady Cook (or Tyler Macon) if he isn't a better option than an injured Bazelak?
    You sort of answered your own question: It says that he believes Bazelak at 80-85% gives Missouri a better chance to win than the healthy backups.
    Since there are 13 bowl eligible SEC teams, is there any chance one or two teams get left out completely?
    There most likely won't be enough SEC bowls for all 13 SEC teams, but there are several non-SEC bowls that will pick up whoever's left out. One of the 6-6 teams will almost certainly not play in one of the SEC bowls, but other bowls will gladly take the leftover SEC team(s).
    Here's how it could shake out:
    Playoff, Orange/Cotton: Georgia, Alabama (if it beats UGA)
    Non-Playoff New Year's Six bowls: Ole Miss (Peach), Alabama (Sugar, if it loses to UGA)
    Here's how Brett McMurphy of Stadium Sports is projecting the rest of the SEC. He's usually the most accurate:
    Citrus Bowl: Kentucky
    From there, the SEC league office assigns the next six SEC bowls in consultation with the schools, bowls and TV networks. 
    Outback: Tennessee
    Gator: Texas A&M
    Music City: Arkansas
    Liberty: Missouri
    Duke's Mayo: South Carolina
    Texas: Mississippi State
    Then, the SEC has two more bowls:
    Birmingham: Auburn
    Gasparilla: Florida
    That leaves one last bowl-eligible SEC team. And Brett has LSU playing in the Armed Forces Bowl.
     
    That was a long answer. This is the first time I can remember Mizzou's bowl situation this being so unclear this close to the announcements. MU has no idea how it's going to unfold, but the preference internally is the Liberty Bowl, from what multiple people have told me in the department. It's the closest proximity wise. Plus, it's a homecoming game of sorts for Tyler Badie. (He was born in New Orleans but moved to Memphis.)
    I screwed up the date earlier, initially saying the game is on Dec. 23. It's on Dec. 28.
    I still can’t wrap my head around why Drink stuck with Bazelak so long. That was one of the worst quarterback performances in the last 30 years. Surely Cook could have done better.
    Maybe so. That's why I asked him after the game why he didn't go to Cook sooner.
    Rick Neuheusel was the color commentator on the MU-ARK game last Fridary. He said Tyler Badie is going to be a star in the NFL next year. Rountree made the Chargers this year but has had limited playing time. I always thiught Rountree was better than Badie, but Tyler has impressed me this season. Do you agree with Neuheusel’s statement or is he overhyping Tyler’s play?
  • I don't see him being a star. NFL folks I've talked to don't see him being as complete of a prospect as Rountree was - and Rountree was still just a sixth-rounder. I was told the NFL isn't sure Badie has elite "make you miss" ability. They like his speed and obviously his production. He'll get drafted. But as we've seen with running backs, you can't earn a job and become a starter without being an early-round pick.
  • CBC beat Lee’s Summit North in the 6a Missouri HS state championship game. Is Eli recruiting any of the graduating seniors from these 2 high profile programs?
    Lee's Summit North O-lineman Armand Membou is committed to Missouri.
    Neither team has any other seniors who are Power 5 recruits with Mizzou offers.
    As for juniors (Class of 2023), LSN offensive lineman Cayden Green is the No. 1-rated recruit in the state for next year. Mizzou is certainly recruiting him.
    We're now months into NIL, which may serve as a counter balance to schools like LSU and USC that are willing to spend anything for facilities and coaches. Are you aware of any schools (or supporters of a schools) that seem to be ahead of the curve in leveraging NIL benefits to attract more skilled athletes or assist its existing athletes? At this point is Missouri a leader for follower?
    I'm not sure when/if we'll see the receipts, but Mizzou recruit(s) are heavily engaged in NIL deals. It's a high priority for Drinkwitz.
    I don't really track what other schools are doing in terms of NIL. I'm sure there's data out there available. 
    Dave, thanks as always for the great job you do. Bioy just talking with avid Mizzou fans it sure sounds like Counzo is losing the fan base. What is your take? Could our BBall team use the skills of Trevon Brazile? Do you expect some big names to leave the football team and enter the transfer portal?
    I'm not sure Martin ever really had the fan base won over, so I haven't heard anything new from fans this season I haven't heard the last few years. 
    Brazile has a lot of upside as a big athlete who can run the floor, block shots and shoot from outside, too. Not sure how much he'll help this team after missing the last month-plus.
  • When do they announce bowls and where do you think Mizzou will go (vs whom?)
  • Sunday. I touched on the bowls earlier. It's all just a guess at this point. If the SEC and the bowls favor proximity over everything else, the Liberty Bowl makes the most sense.
  • Dave, Lincoln Riley has 2 dogs named Boomer & Sooner. Do you think he should rename them Trojan & Magnum?
    Hi Davey, down here in Austin vibe is coach Sarkisian quite the underwhelming hire after last weekend. Buyers remorse. Also Vandy & Longhorns are the only "SEC" schools not going bowling. UT also trying to pump brakes on moving to SEC now in order to beef up the trenches.
    Texas isn't staying in the Big 12. The Horns made their bed. They'll eventually lie in it.
    Is Mizzou headed back to Nashville for a bowl game?
    No telling for sure. I'd be fine with that.
    Does Cinci get in playoffs with a win over U of H?
    Here's the most interesting scenario.
    What happens if Alabama, Michigan, Oklahoma State and Cincinnati all win this weekend? You can't leave out Georgia. You can't leave out the SEC champion. You can't leave out the Big Ten champion. So you'll have Georgia, Bama and Michigan all in. Then it comes down to this: Will a one-loss Big 12 champion jump an undefeated AAC champion? I would keep Cincinnati in the mix, but never underestimate the committee's love for the Power 5. 
    I'm not a Notre Dame fan - I was as a kid but outgrew that - but I'd love to see some things develop so the Irish can get in after their head coach turned his back on a one-loss team on the cusp of making another playoff. 
    Where do YOU want Mizzou to go based on location (and bowls available for SEC). Where would you NOT want to go?
  • If it were up to me, I'd be fine with the Liberty Bowl. It'll make for some challenging travel because Mizzou hoops plays at Kentucky the following evening, so quick turnaround for me. It's about a six-hour drive from Memphis to Lexington.
    On the flip side, the Music City Bowl is on Dec. 30. Cover the UK hoops game and get up for a three-hour drive to Nashville the next day. 
    I'd be fine with the Gasparilla Bowl on Dec. 23. I'd cover the Braggin' Rights Game on Dec. 22, catch a flight to Tampa the next morning and make it by kickoff. 
  • The portal is loaded. I think I heard +1000 in past week alone. MIZ needs to snag a LB, & TE might as well stock pile linemen if you can.
    Mizzou's staff has offered UNLV linebacker Jacoby Windman, he tweeted today. He was UNLV's leading tackler this past season, led the Rebels in sacks and tackles for loss, too. So, he's someone to watch.
    The staff signed two tight ends last year and have another one committed for 2022. I don't think they counted on having Parker back for next year either way.
    Lincoln Riley is a fraud. All he did was inherit my blueblood program and kept it alive for the most part. I wish him luck building a program of his own. ~ Bob
    MIZ recently recruited one 4* hoops player. How do we expect to compete with other schools that have 4* players on the bench?
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