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.

    Hey there, chatters. Welcome to another Thursday. Plenty to discuss. Mizzou spring football has started. There's a practice at 2 pm today, so I'll have to cut things short today to watch 15 minutes of stretching and jumping jacks. Let's get this started.
    Let's set the table for all that's happening in Mizzou sports....
    Women's hoops tips off vs. Arkansas in the SEC tourney at noon.
    Men's hoops plays regular-season finale Saturday vs. Georgia. MU plans to honor the 2001-02 Elite Eight team this weekend. Lots of players from that team have committed to attend. Then it's the SEC tourney next week. Mizzou is locked into the 12/13 game against Ole Miss. Then ... the real drama begins.
    Mizzou softball and baseball both host their first home games this weekend. Both off to strong starts. 
    Wrestling is at the Big 12 meet this weekend. Gymnastics has one regular-season meet left before the SEC championships. Both teams are in the top 10 nationally.
    Tyler Badie and Akayleb Evans are in Indy for the NFL Combine this week. Badie plans to do every drill except the bench press. He's hoping to open some eyes. Running back drills begin Friday.
    I have so much respect for coach Martin he is everything that is good about college athletics but it is a business. I just have no confidence he is going to bring in better players. Kobe okay but he doesn't have elite skills he must be surrounded by guys that can handle the ball and get him the ball were he can score he isn't good enough to create his own shot. Brazile could become a decent player but he must get stronger. Coleman, Davis, degray , Gordon could be better with a good point guard. Brookshire, Wilmore can't be back that would be a huge mistake. Kaleb Brown might develop into a role player but he is pretty slow. Kid from East st louis coming in won't help until maybe his second year. 4 star should help coming in. But if we don't add at least 2 if not 3 very good players same thing next year. Afraid Martin only looks at defensive players that has to change. I would love to see Martin back if he will recruit guys that can score.
    That's a pretty good summation of the roster challenge. This is a flawed team. Short on shooters, short on size, woefully short of ball-handlers. One good point guard would make a big difference but not solve every problem. Nothing that happens on the floor the rest of the season is relevant to the big decision. It's all about the future. Is there confidence in the plan/vision to improve the roster and the program?
    It will be interesting if the Arizona state qb committs to see if Macon and cook both leave.
    Mizzou hoped that Daniels would commit before or shortly after he visited last weekend. That's what I was told just as he was leaving Columbia. Obviously he didn't commit. There's some buzz that LSU is in the mix. A couple Pac-12 schools could be on his radar, too. Any quarterback addition should be expected to have ripple effects on the roster. The QBs on the team want to play. Another body in the building - especially an experienced Power 5 starter - creates a logjam ahead of Cook and Macon. You don't bring in a three-year Power 5 starter to sit on the bench or even compete for the No. 1 job. He comes to start. 
    Earlier this week I talked to QB coach Bush Hamdan about the transfer portal's impact on QB situations. How delicate is your QB depth when every QB in the country is seemingly one step in the door or one step out the door?
    Hamdan: "I think it always comes back to being connected. And if you're connected to the player, if there's a sense of trust, through honesty, you've still got to push these guys hard. I think they know that. So I don't know, I just keep going back to that connection thing. Even though more and more in college football it seems like people are always having another option, I think more so than ever that connection piece and that trust is really important."
    Good morning Dave,
    It is time to acknowledge what a solid career Javon Pickett has had at MIZZOU! Fans need to appreciate his efforts that gave our teams 110% a 110% of the time. I wish he would stay and help another year but most likely he's moving on. Best to you Javon!
    He's been the ultimate team player and is closing out his career - if indeed this is it for him at Mizzou - with his best season. Over the summer, after most of his teammates left the program, I asked Javon if he had considered transferring. He shot me a look like he was disappointed that I asked. He wanted to see this through with Martin. Now, Pickett isn't a complete enough player to be the best player on a great team. But there's not a team in the country that wouldn't take him as a glue guy/slasher/wing defender. He's just pressed into a bigger role here because of the roster.
  • Dave, the fact that Drink did not add Robert Steeples to his staff this year has me confused and a bit concerned. He clearly needed defensive assistants when Steeples signed with LSU. Why would he not hire a STL and MU guy, who clearly knows how to motivate young men. His staff is largely filled with coaches from his “coaching tree”, which seems extremely limiting. In your view, was not hiring Steeples a mistake, and should Drink be searching beyond his “tree” for quality assistants?
    Who says Steeples wanted to coach at Mizzou? Let's not forget, Steeples is an Odom guy. He transferred to Memphis to play for Odom there. 
    Also, at LSU, Steeples signed a three-year deal worth an average of $500,000 per year. That's a bit out of Mizzou's salary range for first-time college assistants. Drinkwitz has much more experienced college assistants on his staff making less - and on two-year deals. 
    Drinkwitz has hired outside of his "tree." He had never met Jacob Peeler before when he hired him recently. He never worked with Kevin Peoples. 
    Good morning Dave, the 2015 FB season has come up on occasion. My question for that team is if they were 9-2 at the time of protest do you think they would have walked? Personally I don’t. Just saying
    I don't know. Maybe not. I think the players who were most passionate and committed to the issues on campus at the time would have followed through with their actions regardless of the team's record but maybe wouldn't have had as much support from their teammates if the team was 9-2.
    Since Missouri is on a semester system which has already started could Jayden Daniel even join the football team if he wanted too?
    It's getting pretty late to enroll in classes at this point to be a viable student-athlete. But it seems like there's always a loophole if you work hard enough to find one.
    How does WBB beat Arkansas today for the first time in forever? Defense I guess??
    They got bullied in the paint against Arkansas last time. Like always with this Mizzou team, they can't turn the ball over and need to shoot well from 3. They're just not athletic enough to defend at a high level against a team that's bigger and more athletic.
    Dave - How well do you think Kentucky, South Carolina and Florida will perform in the SEC east in 2022? All three schools will have their own set of challenges - Kentucky (new offensive coordinator and the loss of key players), Florida (new coach and poor recruiting season) and South Carolina (new new quarterback that is trying to reignite his game performance). Thank You
  • I think Kentucky is a top 15 team. They lost some important players, but bring back Will Levis and made an intriguing coordinator hire that they believe makes for a natural transition. This is not a flash-in-the-pan program. I expect them to win 10 games every year until Mark Stoops' program shows any signs of decay. And it's only getting better. They're the SEC's version of Iowa. Nothing flashy but consistently very good, sometimes great. 
    Florida has undergone more changes, but I think they have a new head coach who will get more out of his talent. They return two talented QBs and added a transfer from Ohio State. I'll probably pick them closer to the bottom of the division, but I like the Napier hire. Folks I know who have worked with him believe he'll shine at Florida. 
    South Carolina showed some signs last year of being competitive in the division. They landed a talented QB in Rattler and will surround him with some decent weapons. 
    If I had to fill out by SEC division picks right now, I'd go ... 
    1. Georgia
    2. Kentucky
    3. Tennessee
    4. South Carolina
    5. Florida
    6. Missouri
    7. Vanderbilt  
    Is there any connection between Keidron Smith and Mizzou? Would be nice to add a corner.
    He was a really productive corner at Ole Miss. I haven't heard or read any strong connections to Mizzou. That's a position where MU could afford to upgrade.
    Dave - Was there ever serious consideration of Mizzou hiring Josh Heupel as their HC? With all do respects to Drinkwitz, Heupel is making very good progress in Knoxville. Thank You
    I had some people mention Heupel very early in the process, shortly after Odom was fired. But I don't think his name gained any traction in the search. I never got the sense they wanted someone from Mizzou's past. Former Mizzou assistant Alex Grinch's name was brought up during curator/administration discussions and he didn't gain traction either. 
    At the time of his hire at Tennessee, I thought Heupel would make that program more competitive immediately because of his offense but I wasn't sure if he'd return the program to glory. He seemed like a high floor, low ceiling coach. Maybe that'll prove to be true, but Vols fans should have enjoyed last season. When you have an explosive offense in today's game you have a chance to be more competitive and just as important you have a more entertaining, watchable product that will create excitement among your fans and recruits.
    Can you make a case for Coach Zo to come back? If you are in the AD’s shoes, can anything that happens in these next presumably two games change your mind about the direction of the program?
    I'll turn the question around. If I were in her chair and making the decision, here's what I'd want to hear and know before making the decision:
    1. What is Maritn's plan for the roster? How is he going to address this team's obvious needs for next year? 
    2. How can the staff assure that this year was an outlier and the roster issues can be fixed?
    3. Does he believe his staff is equipped to coach and recruit an SEC contender? If not, what needs to change? Does he need more resources to attract a better staff?
    4. What can Mizzou do in terms of name, image and likeness to enhance the program in ways that aren't happening currently?
    I would need to hear compelling plans for each topic. And the answers have to be convincing enough to offset the concerns and financial/competitive risks of moving forward with Martin as head coach.
  • Thoughts on Biden’s SOTU?
  • I'm sure you'd love to know.
  • I agree with almost everything "Dianne nick" has to say. I don't understand how Cuonzo and staff missed so badly on Jarron Coleman. He is NOT a point guard. His ball handling skills are atrocious and his decision-making is worse. With a good point guard, Mizzou is a .500 club. I would love to see Pickett come back but it may be time for him to move on and make some money in Europe or the G-League.

    I too admire Cuonzo but he may be fundamentally flawed as a talent evaluator. Maybe he concentrates too much on players whose skill sets are/were like his own. I think the handwriting is on the wall for him. Thanks, Mr. Martin, for making the Tigers, occasionally, respectable.

    Why would Tyler Badie not participate in the bench press at the combine? Is it a weakness?

    Thanks, Dave.
    I imagine Badie would rather do the bench press in the comfort of his own weight room surrounded by teammates and familiar faces at MU's pro day. That's not an uncommon strategy. 
    On the hoops front, yes, it's more than fair to criticize the talent evaluation. 
    Based on conversations I had last summer, I think the staff was so relieved to move on from Pinson that they over-valued some of the transfers they brought in, including Coleman. There were some locker room issues last year even though the team was better. Martin liked the guys he brought in and figured there'd be less drama/discord internally. That's been true of this team. I haven't heard anything about locker room or chemistry issues. But ... the problems are more about talent and depth. 
    Do you have any inside intel on the new defensive coordinator, Blake Baker? I do find it somewhat concerning that he didn't at least get a year into learning Wilks' defense. Will the fact that D.J. Smith will be co-defensive coordinator ease the transition? I'm also concerned about Baker's past stint at Miami. Wasn't it somewhat shaky?
    He's not going to run Wilks' defense. They're going to share some terminology and it'll be a four-man front with two inside linebackers as part of the base package. But otherwise, he hasn't committed to any plans. Will they play two high safeties stick one safety down in the box? Will they use a smaller/faster cornerback at the nickel position (like Wilks) or a bigger, strong safety (like Ryan Walters)? Does he favor more zone coverages over man? Is he a heavy blitzer? Lots of that is to be decided. 
    His two Miami defenses had mixed success. His first year (2019), the Canes were damn good: No. 12 in yards allowed per play, No. 18 in passing yards allowed, No. 17 in rush defense, No. 7 in sacks, No. 6 in tackles for loss. Miami wasn't as strong in 2020, but it wasn't a drastic dropoff.
    Dave, have you had to opportunity to view any of the spring football practices yet? You may have discussed this previously. I was curious to get your opinion on the newcomers. Also, isn't it odd for a cf team to have two d-line coaches?
    by Dave, have you had to opportunity to view any of t 3/3/2022 5:56:21 PM
    Reporters were allowed to watch the first 15 minutes of last Thursday's practice. We can watch them stretch, do jumping jacks and a few individual position drills, maybe a few special teams drills. In other words, very little. So, anyone in the media who has any strong observations or takeaways on spring football one way or the other is pulling your leg. 
    It's not all that uncommon to have two D-line coaches. To hear Al Davis explain the reasoning this week, it makes total sense for a team that plays with a four-man D-line. With so many mobile QBs in today's game, the role of the D-tackles and the D-ends are so completely different that it's more efficient in practice to split up the positions for drills. 
    I think Coach Martin—who I hope returns—would benefit immensely from a Phil Martelli-like Associate head coach who could, for lack of a better term, function as the ‘offensive coordinator’ while Coach Martin focuses on the defense, where he excels. Is there any openness to this approach from Coach Martin or the athletic administration?
    From what I'm told in recent days, there are indeed some prominent boosters who prefer to keep Martin but they'd like to see the staff upgraded. I don't know if that's a change he'd be willing to make.
    Dave, Martin seems to be a good ambassador for the university, and a positive influence on the athletes there. Is there any way MU would offer him a role in the Athletics department (and relieve him of his coaching duties), or if he's let go, do you think he'd want to coach somewhere else?
  • This is not a guess or prediction: He will not stay at Missouri if he's not the head coach. 
    If he doesn't return to Mizzou, I'm not sure he'll coach next year. There are other things he wants to do with his life after coaching, whenever that happens.
  • As you have commented many times before concerning Bazelak, isn’t HCED’s recruitment of Daniels all we need to know about his evaluations of Cook and Macon?
    Yes. If they believed they had the right guy right now they wouldn't be in the QB market for 2022.
    The last couple years I recall lots of correlation between MBB and a position-less approach, or something similar, in which players would be flexible in playing the different traditional positions. With the loss of Tilmon and Dru Smith this idea seemed to pick up momentum. Yet this year we've seen what happens when you don't have a ball handler or a big in the middle. Call it 1 and 5 or PG and C to me it all means the same thing. In recent comments CM said he thought Brookshire, Ka Brown, and Coleman could handle. But from the scouting reports I read on each said that wasn't their game.
    Do you think CM and staff went after ball handlers and big men or did they really believe the roster was flexible enough to fill these positions?
    I just feel that what they wanted wasn't the players they signed and the video and scouting would've told them that.
    As the season started and CM was talking about Kobe Brown bringing the ball up the floor as the play maker it raised red flags with me.
    Martin talked about playing more of a position-less style his first and second year, but that was mostly because of versatile playmakers like Jontay Porter. The last two years the rotations have been much less flexible. There have been some players who float between the two and the three (Mark Smith, DaJuan Gordon, etc.) and between the four and the five (Kobe Brown, DeGray, Brazile), but for the most part, there are fixed positions for most players on this team, last year and again this year.
    Martin was very candid last week in saying they misread the potential ball-handlers on this team. It was as transparent as he's been about the roster deficiencies. 
    Here's from a story I wrote last week: “First and foremost, I hope I don't come off as if I'm ever blaming anybody, because I take full responsibility for everything in and out of this program,” Martin said. “So I want to be clear there. If that ever came off, that's never the case with me. I thought the two guys going into (the season), of course, (were) Coleman and Anton, and also Kaleb in some areas and also Kobe. We thought we had ball-handlers. But that wasn’t the case. So we’ve had some games that we really struggled in that department.
    “Being able to handle the ball and make good decisions is very important,” he added. “I think those are some areas in critical situations where we've struggled. And not just one person.”
    I saw your previous comparison, but when I think about Daniels, I can’t help thinking about the Kelly Bryant era.
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