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. Busy busy times, but we've got a couple hours here to chat. Let's get to it
    We’re you as surprised as I was that Drink announced his starting quarterback after one week of practice? Also do you think Abraham will stick around for the season if he is just holding a clip board?
    I was a little surprised but not all that much. I thought they might wait for another scrimmage, but clearly he had seen enough after Sunday's scrimmage and another practice monday. If you know Cook is the best option, no reason to drag it out any longer. Give him all the first-team reps and let him benefit from those reps with the other likely starters. 
    This is Abraham's last year of eligibility. I don't see him having a chance to play anywhere else. If he wants one more season of college football he pretty much has to stay here. He's not joining another team this deep into August and earning playing time. 
    Do you think Cook has the arm strength and accuracy to go deep? It appears we have the receivers to stretch the field but it won’t mean anything unless Brady can get it to them. I think Drink was smart making this decision early. It gives Brady the time to become the leader. If Brady can get the job done I think you’re 6-6 or 7-5 is too conservative. We should know early after K State and Auburn.
    What games do you think they'll now win with Cook as the starter? I'm still in the 5-7 to 7-5 range. 
    He's got the accuracy. It hasn't been a huge sample size but he's been very accurate with the football every time he's gotten on the field. He put the ball in the air in the spring game and got it downfield just fine. Does he have Blaine Gabbert or Drew Lock's arm strength? Probably not, but those guys had NFL arm strength when they were underclassmen. Cook has a lot of tools to be a winning QB at this level. 
    Dave - Are you surprised that ED decided on Brady Cook as the starter so soon in camp? Also, do you think Brady's skills and command of the offense was so much further ahead then Abraham and Macon that ED wanted to make the decision now to give him more time with the first team offense? It is perplexing that the decision was made so quickly considering all the quarterback question marks during the off season - or - maybe ED favored Brady all along but didn't want to show his hand. Thank You.
    Again, not all that surprised. I don't think Macon has progressed enough as a passer to win the job. Sam Horn wasn't going to be ready. So it was essentially Cook vs. Abraham. And eight practices can be enough to make that call. Cook is in year three in Drinkwitz's system. Abraham just got here about two months ago. He would have to be significantly better in camp to make up for all the advantages Cook had in the competition.
    Also, I think Drinkwitz was genuinely impressed with the way Cook approached the competition and welcomed the competition. He's got some impressive intangibles when you spend some time around him.
    Dave - Any insight on how well the interior DL is progressing on stopping the run this year? Are there certain linebackers standing out? Thank You
    The front four has more depth across the board that should allow those guys to have fresh legs for four quarters - and for three months. I'd be cautiously optimistic about the front's ability to stop the run. They've upgraded the talent and depth. 
    I'd be surprised if the starting two linebackers were't Chad Bailey and Ty'Ron Hopper, with Chuck Hicks and Devin Nicholson mixing in as top backups. The defense got considerably better last year when Bailey began to play more. Hopper is an upgrade athletically to this mix. 
    Dave - Do you think we will see Mookie Cooper make more of a contribution to the offense? I think everyone expected more from him last year. It looked like he was fighting off an injury the last few games. Thank You
    He was dealing with an injury pretty much all season and rarely was full speed. He's got a great chance to have a bigger role and more production this year. Though there's more competition for snaps and touches at the slot position. Dominic Lovett is poised for a breakout year in the slot. I'd expect him to start - or at least play heavy snaps. And Barrett Banister will get chances, too. All he does is catch every pass thrown into his zip code and gets first downs. Valuable, reliable possession guy.
    Stay tuned: We'll have a Mookie Cooper story in the very near future. 
    Chatmeister, thanks for all the coverage. I’m a fan of Brady and hope he succeeds of course, but do you get the feeling this is a “sink or swim” decision? Meaning, absent injury, Cook is the guy for the whole season. I’m in the “a team with 2 QB’s has none” camp so I hope HCED isn’t quick to switch to Horn as the fans will want him to do when the offense struggles this year.
    I didn't get the impression yesterday that Horn is already warming up in the bullpen. I've got a hunch Horn will get some snaps in late-game situations of decided games. Maybe they play him fewer than five games so he can preserve the year of eligibility, but those choices will come down to circumstances. A game has to get out of hand - one way or the other - to have the luxury of throwing your freshman QB out there for a series or two, as long as that's your plan.
    Do you expect Connor Wood to play any right tackle while White is out? The o line seems to have better guard depth than tackle, but have you heard anything about how Zeke Powell has performed in camp? What about Dylan Spencer?
    The first unit I've seen most often looks like this ...
    LT Javon Foster. He's not going anywhere. There's growing NFL buzz with Foster. Should be one of the best tackles in the SEC, which means he should be one of the best in the country.
    LG Xavier Delgado. He'll get competition from other contenders but he's an experienced veteran.
    C Connor Tollison. I don't think he's won the job yet but lots of upside. Smart, agile, impressive young guy.
    RG Connor Wood. I thought he was better inside than outside last year. 
    RT Zeke Powell. He's not the biggest tackle by any means, but he's gotten first-team reps from the brief looks I've seen. Spencer and freshman Armand Membou are next in line here. 
    Harrison Mevis is starting is third year at Mizzou with an excellent made FG and PAT percentages in his first 2 years. He was a Lou Groza award semifinalist last season and on this years Lou Groza award watch list this year. Is he a top prospect to turn pro after the end of this season? He’s such a dependable kicker that I hate to lose him after only 3 years.
    If there's a kicker who could leave early it would be Mevis. He's that good. One thing he lacks in his credentials is kickoff experience. He works on kickoffs and certainly understands he'd probably have to handle kickoffs in the pros, but Sean Koetting has been so consistently good at kickoffs the last couple years - and could handle those duties again this year.
    I imagine everyone else will cover every aspect of the BCookQB1 announcement - and what it means for the other 3 (main) guys in the room so I'll swerve and throw this out there: in 1991 or '92, we got done doing an interview with Gene Corrigan who was then the commissioner of the ACC. Since we went to Church with Gene, there was more than a professional relationship and, after the interview, he began waxing poetic about the future of college football. He said at that time, college football would morph into 4 16 or 20 school conferences. I can't remember if he talked about a playoff, but the merging of the elites was at the heart of what he was talking about. So, even then, the powers-that-be saw this all coming. Any new thoughts on what may be next or a (guesstimate) at what kind of timeline we're facing?
    Hard to say for sure. It took a decade to go from one round of SEC and Big Ten expansion (Mizzou, Texas A&M, Nebraska, Maryland, Rutgers) to the next round (Oklahoma, Texas, USC, UCLA), so keep in mind, these developments might seem like they happen overnight, but they come in waves over time. The TV deals will have the most influence on how mega conferences are formed. And, remember, the SEC has to see value in adding certain schools and won't just add members for the sake of adding them. We'll see. I'd be surprised if all the pieces come together at a fast pace.
    Okay, so I will put in one BCookQB1 question: Since you can't see much of him in practice, what's your sense of his personality and ability to shake off a mistake and move on? Whoever plays QB for this team will make a number of errors - a couple may be very big ones that can cost a game - and with a setup where the top 3, at least, are fairly even in the competition, it's inevitable that not just fans but the players, themselves, start thinking about, "Is Drink gonna make a change?" after every big error ... so, wondering if you think that's the kind of situation that might rattle Cook.
    I was impressed with his resilience in the bowl game. Mizzou got down in that game. The offense was struggling for a long stretch. He didn't have Tyler Badie with him. The entire lineup was depleted. Army was playing hard and physical. And then Cook calmly led the offense about 85 yards in less than two minutes and made a great throw for the go-ahead TD pass. That was impressive.
    Then the Georgia game last year, I thought he carried himself well against a historically good defense. (Macon, too.) The execution wasn't always great, but I remember he slid early at the end of a scramble and Drinkwitz let him have it on the sideline. A series or two later, Cook finished another run strong, took a big hit and bounced back up.
    It's a small sample size, but I haven't seen anything that indicates he won't handle the ups and downs.
    What's your sense of when you hear Blake Baker say (something to the effect of), "We're not changing the scheme, a lot," when - at least to us amateurs - the "scheme" was a big part of Wilks problem(s) last year. Wouldn't Baker want something much closer to what he ran at a place like Miami? I assume it wasn't terribly close to what Wilks ran, last year (at least I hope not).
    There are different ways to interpret scheme. Bake runs a 4-2-5 base system like Wilks, but it's structured differently. It's a four-man front like last year with two inside linebackers like last year. But Baker prefers three safeties and two cornerbacks instead of Wilks' preferred three corners and two safeties.
    Otherwise, what was the problem with last year's defense? I'm not convinced it was the scheme or structure. Players seemed out of position and confused. They couldn't tackle or get off blocks. That's more execution than anything else. 
    I'll have a new story tonight on some of the structural differences and Baker's background with this system. 
    What you said last week about lack of access to Mizzou practices for media members and how this isn't just a Mizzou thing but it's how it is with many other college football programs: it wasn't always like that, was it? Just trying to recall what happened in the last, say, 20 years or so that caused so many Head Coaches to seemingly become so paranoid about allowing unrestricted media access to all practices?
    Larry Smith and Gary Pinkel allowed media to watch every practice and interview anyone they requested (player or coach) after every practice. I wrote lengthy, detailed practice reports every day off my observations - without giving away any schemes/plays/formations, etc. Once Mizzou got into the SEC, they trimmed access somewhat. We could watch scrimmages but not every period of every practice. We could interview offensive players one day, defense the next. Access scaled back a little bit more under Odom, then scaled back more under Drinkwitz. Now we can watch about 20 minutes of practice - rarely any offense vs. defense - about two, sometimes three days a week and interview 3-4 players a couple times a week. Other teams grant less access; others grant more. But the days of wide-open access are over for the most part. I don't dwell on it. You evolve your coverage just as your access evolves.
    I will point out, though, that Mizzou's best seasons on my watch - with sellout crowds in the stadium - came when access was wide open. So there's no correlation between closing access and winning games. When Pete Carroll was winning national championships at USC, his practices were wide open to anyone and everyone. Access is all about control.
    Put it another way: If I were doing a weekly chat in 2007, I'd get far fewer questions about who might see the field or who might have a big year or what players the fans should know - because that was all coming out in the camp coverage. Fans knew the team/players better back then because we were able to see more/report more. But, again, adapt and evolve. That's how I roll. 
    I was a little surprised to see UK and Ark ranked as low as they were in the initial College Coaches' Top25 poll. I thought both would be at least a little higher. What did you think? And were there any other initial surprises that stood out to you?
    Also, regarding UK--how good of a chance if at all do you think Mizzou has to beat them this year in CoMO?
    I'm not an AP voter this year, but I would have had UK and Arkansas probably in the high teens. I'm sure there's some thought that the Hogs were a little fluky last year. Neither program really gets the benefit of the doubt that they'll simply reload after winning nine or 10 games. That comes with sustained success over time, which you can make a case Kentucky has already achieved. 
    If I were ranking the top 25, I'd definitely have Tennessee ranked somewhere in the high teens if not higher. I'd also consider ranking Iowa, UCF and BYU. I would not have Texas ranked and probably wouldn't have Pitt nearly as high as it is in the coaches poll. 
    Also in last week's chat, you mentioned the names of these former 4-star RB's: Chase Abbington, Marquis Doherty, Nate Strong. Ouch to Mizzou fans. All had careers that went bust for one reason or another I suppose? Abington in particular,  I specifically remember me being excited along with many other MU fans about seeing him play in a Tigers uniform. But he had to go the Juco route if I correctly recall, and then we were all excited to see him finally be eligible to make the roster in 2015...maybe had a total of 5-10 plays called for him early in the season, and then stunned us all by announcing he was medically retiring I think and he never played again? Goodness that was a blow to Tiger fans--he was gonna be the guy who would make us forget all about not getting Zeke Elliot lol. What about Doherty & Strong? I remember very little about those guys.
    Strong was not happy with his role. If I remember correctly he left the team shortly after he was told he wouldn't start - and was probably third-string at best. Doherty played some baseball but never caught on as a regular in the running back rotation. Might have had some injuries, too.
    It probably shouldn't be a surprise if Macon transfers after the season if not before. Cook seems to have full grasp of the #1 job. As you noted Abraham isn't going anywhere since this is his last year of eligibility. And it sounds like Horn is ahead of where they thought he would be (though obviously still not ready). Macon looks to be #3 for the year, with the probably of being leapfrogged by Horn at some point during the coming season/offseason. With another 4-star QB already verbally committed, if he wants to play, it sure doesn't look like it will be here without several injuries. Am I reading that right?
    I never blindly speculate on whether a player will transfer until he or someone in his camp confirms that's the case. If you're looking at the situation logically, Macon would be a long shot to ever start at Missouri unless there are several injuries/unforeseen roster changes. If he wants to be a starting quarterback - and not just a fill-in guy - then maybe he's better off trying somewhere else. But he might also really enjoy being part of this program and the university. I think it would be naive to not expect some turnover at the position before 2023. 
    (In full transparency, I hoped to talk to Macon when most returning players were made available to media on July 31, but I never got a chance to make it over to his table. He hasn't been made available since then and now that he's not the starter I'd be surprised if he's picked to do interviews before the season starts. I'd still like to talk to him, so stay tuned.)
    Dave, I'm not surprised either in regard to the QB1 announcement. I though they should've let Brady Cook much earlier last year. He acquitted himself with aplomb in the bowl game. That TD he threw for what should have won the game was the best throw of the season, one of which Bazelak hadn't even come close to making all year. Happy for the young man, who is exactly the type whose success could be important for future in state recruiting. Likewise, it would be a boon for recruiting if Mookie, Dominic, and Luther realize success.
    Expectations for Luther Burden, how about 35 catches and 600 yards, seem about right to you?
    It's not uncommon for freshman receivers to make an impact on Power Five teams, but it's rare that they put up monstrous numbers as rookies. I think those are fair expectations. They'll give him chances to touch the ball, but I doubt he's putting up 100 catches or grabbing 15 touchdowns as a rookie.
    Hi Dave, thanks for everything you do Mizzou! My question is do you think Brady Cook could surprise a lot of folks in the SEC this season and maybe even be another Kurk Warner😄catching teams off gaurd?
    Kurt Warner won the Super Bowl in his first year as an NFL starter and made it to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. We might want to tap those brakes just a tad here.
    Apologies for the pause. Was doing a quick phone interview. Will have an interesting Q&A piece posted after the chat I think Mizzou fans will enjoy reading.
    Dave we all know the offense hinges around the o-line. How is the center position progressing?
    I'd say it's Connor Tollison's job to lose. He's an impressive athlete. I watched some 11-on-air drills the other day where the offense essentially runs plays at full speed without a defense on the field and Tollison had to kick outside the tackle box and block for a runner in space. He's a smooth athlete for being 6-4 and in the 290 range. If he wins the job and plays well you've got a center for three to four years. That's ideal.
    Do you get the feeling Drink anticipates movement within the quarterback room, Macon possibly transferring after Cook winning the job? Future at QB doesn't look bright for him. All the more reason Abraham is here I suppose.
    Possibly, but he's not going to speculate on the record about a transfer. He complimented all the QBs for not shying away from the competition. Like I said earlier, in today's game, it's naive to think all your backup quarterbacks are going to sit still and be content being a career backup.
    Do you think Drink would rather have a couple of "go to" receivers that produce big numbers or a more "receiver by committee" approach that spreads those numbers out?
    I think he'd like four or five consistent playmakers who can catch the ball and move the chains. It doesn't matter how you label them. He says all the time, "The play doesn't care who makes it." You draw up plays you hope move the ball down the field and scores points. Whether one dude catches 100 balls or five catch 20, it's all the same if you're scoring points. Some of that takes care of itself on its own as an offense evolves, as defenses react, as players gain confidence and learn how to master their position.
    Am somewhat surprised at how everyone seems to think that Horn is all but a given as the number 2 QB on the depth chart. I just don't see it happening unless his talent is that remarkable and he seems like he could easily handle SEC competition as a true freshman from what Coach Drink has seen of him in a relatively short amount of time. I could be wrong of course. But I think back to the likes of Drew Lock and how he certainly wasn't ready for SEC play when he was thrown into the fire during his true freshman year.
    So it does bring about this question for you: how do you see the rest of the MU depth chart at QB behind Cook panning out?
    If the last two years taught us anything about Drinkwitz and depth charts, here's what it will look like to start the season and maybe throughout the season:
    Quarterback
    1. Brady Cook
    2. Tyler Macon or Jack Abraham or Sam Horn
    If I remember correctly, Drinkwitz hasn't singled out one backup as the clear-cut No. 2. Last year, sometimes Cook came in first off the bench (South Carolina and Arkansas) and sometimes it was Macon (Vanderbilt and Georgia). 
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