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.

    Happy game day, Mizzou folks. We made it to the season. Hopefully some of you are on your way to beautiful CoMo. Maybe even tailgating already. I'll be here for the next couple hours to talk all things Mizzou.
    First, I wanted to share that we're enhancing our game day coverage at STLtoday.com this season. We'll have more pregame content on the site. We'll have some in-game content on the site. And a whole lot of postgame content on the site. Our new digital editor Erik Hall will be updating new content before, during and after the game. Then the P-D will have four of us at the stadium: myself, Ben Frederickson, Calum McAndrews in the press box; and photographer Robert Cohen down on the field. Hopefully you enjoy the coverage.
    Now, back to the chat....
    Any predictions who will start for Indiana? I still am puzzled by Blazelak decision to leave the Missouri program. Was he concerned about permanently losing his starting position? Issues with the coaching staff? Can you shed any light on this especially since I do not think he will be the starter.
    Tom Allen has decided on a starter and revealed it to the team but somehow the news hasn't leaked out of the locker room to my knowledge.
    Connor hasn't talked publicly about his reasons for leaving, but obviously things weren't trending well near the end. He was playing hurt and absorbing a lot of criticism for the way he was playing. Fair to say he wanted to a fresh start with a new program. 
    Dave - Do you think we will see the tight ends be utilized more in passing situations this year? Thank You
    Maybe, but not in a major way. The staff really likes how Tyler Stephens developed in camp, but I still think the six wide receivers will be the top targets. The tight ends have talked a lot about how their primary role is to be physical - as in help with blocking. They'll run routes and catch some balls, but I'd be surprised if a tight end is among the team leaders in receptions.
    Thoughts on Blackrock, Vanguard, etc. using ESG to cloak their woke agenda as acting in their clients’ financial best interest?
    Biden’s student loan scheme blatantly violates the constitution. Pelosi said as much herself. Yet he has the nerve to talk about fascism from the right? He should be impeached for violating his oath. Thoughts?
    Dave - Do you think how Mizzou plays at K-State could indicate how well this team plays on the road this year? I know it's only the second game, but K-State is projected by many to compete for the BIG 12 championship, plus ED teams have not played well on the road. I thought they stayed with Kentucky for most of the game last year, but their road play tailed off afterwards. Thank You.
    Yes, I think how Mizzou plays in one of its five road games will indicate how it will play on the road. Not sure what else it would indicate. You are what your record says you are, right? If the Tigers play well in Manhattan, either winning the game or pushing the Wildcats deep into the second half, then that's a good indicator that this team can play well on the road. That doesn't guarantee they'll play well at Auburn/Tennessee/Florida/South Carolina, but would make those games seem less menacing. 
    I haven't confirmed with Mizzou, but was told this week that MU fans already bought their entire allotment for the K-State game, which is obviously encouraging for MU.
    Earlier this week Frederickson implied Brady Cook could be a transfer risk at the end of the season even though he did not transfer this offseason. What's up with that?
    Let's back up first. Ben was asked what would be the worst-case scenario for Drinkwitz with the QB situation. Ben didn't just out of nowhere say Cook might transfer. Here's his full answer:
    "Every coach is always looking for better talent at the position. Sometimes it's just more public than others. Win, and none of what happened before the season matters. The real trouble for Drinkwitz would be if Cook plays really well then transfers to somewhere once he has better options. It will also look bad if Connor Bazelak outperforms Mizzou's current QBs this season at Indiana, because he could have been doing that here for the Tigers. Those are the things Drinkwitz has to worry about. Then there's potential bad option three: Cook struggles and Drinkwitz looks a) right for pursuing transfers and b) bad for not landing any who were better than current options. Drinkwitz needs to thread a QB needle this season. He's spent his recent days building up Cook and praising him. That's probably a wise pivot."
    I talked to Cook's parents a couple weeks ago about the transfer discussion they had after last season - and they did not rule out the possibility that he could move on after this year had he not secured the QB job. 
    Here's what Amy Cook said: "He will graduate, December 16 with a business degree. Before he was named a bowl starter, that's when maybe he had some wheels turning like, 'Should I try to play somewhere else? Am I getting a chance or not?' But then he got the bowl start and got to show himself and kind of prove himself a little bit. And then I think he was like, 'Alright, I’m in. I'm going back. I'm gonna get my degree. I'm gonna do everything I can to be the starter next year. And then,  hey, if I don't, then I still have two or three more seasons left. I'll take my degree, and I'll go play somewhere else."
    Now, Cook did win the starting job ... for 2022. He could play well this season and still have to earn the job next year as long as Sam Horn is on the roster. Cook isn't naive. He knows that. He also knows his coach was openly shopping for a starting QB all spring. Also, you risk losing Horn to the portal if he doesn't have a chance to win the job in 2023. Yes, this is Cook's dream job. But there's no guarantee he gets to keep it in 2023. QB jobs are year to year in today's game. If he plays really well, Mizzou wins more games than anyone expects, then it's logical to expect Cook back next year. But not an absolute given. 
    How much does Sam Horn play tonight? Cook has gotta be keeping the seat warm for Horn, right? Cook isn’t going to win SEC games
    I see that the season hasn't started and some have already given up on Cook.
    From what I gathered this week in practice and based off Drinkwitz's comments, Jack Abraham sure looks like the No. 2 QB for now. Maybe Horn gets some snaps if Mizzou has a big lead. I'm not convinced that happens tonight. Here's how Drinkwitz answered a question this week about his QB depth.
    "Our starting quarterback Brady Cook has done everything the right way from a leadership, from a preparation, from a decision making standpoint. He has a great grasp of the offense. He's been here ever since we've been here. He's been been with us as we installed the offense. And I have a lot of confidence in his ability. We know that Jack Abraham is very capable as a player. He's been nothing but impressive, sound decision making, accuracy. You can tell he's a veteran and played a lot of college football. So we know we have confidence that if his number gets called or he goes into the game, he's able to operate at a high level. And we've got some young guys behind him in Sam Horn, a very talented freshman, and Tyler Macon, another talented redshirt."
    Notice, he said Horn and Macon were "behind" Abraham.
    Happy Game Day, Dave (finally!) -- Why do you think HCED's teams fail to put away G5 schools in September? Ability? Preparation? Or, could it be that he's overly-obsessed with not giving away too much of the playbook early in the season?
    It's a small sample size. His teams have only played three G5 teams - and only two in the regular season - and only one in September. Remember, no G5 opponents in the 2020 SEC-only season.
    Central Michigan ended up being a 9-win team. North Texas made a bowl. So, it wasn't terrible competition. I barely count the Army game because half of Mizzou's roster opted out of playing.
    So, I don't think there's an underlying trend here other than Mizzou wasn't very good last year, especially on defense. And those G5 teams were competitive. 
    What's your prediction on how the running back rotation plays out tonight? Thanks Dave
    From what I've been told in the last two days, I'm confident Cody Schrader will indeed get the start. He was the most consistent in camp and stayed healthy the whole month leading up to tonight. Elijah Young and Nate Peat will be next in line, though Peat isn't at 100 percent. Drinkwitz said those three will be the primary backs for this game. I'd be mildly surprised if the other guys get carries unless it's a lopsided score in the fourth quarter.
    Do you think Mizzou will have a good offense this year? I feel like there are a lot of question marks....the qb, the rb, center, tight ends, but the WR position looks like it could be pretty good. The defense depth looks a lot more solid this year.
    I think there's certainly potential to have a good offense with those receivers the major reason. Cook doesn't have to be Bryce Young for this offense to be competent. He just needs to put the ball in the hands of those playmakers without turning the ball over, taking sacks, etc. I'm not sure this will be a powerful running game, but there are enough backs to get the job done and complement the passing game. Marcus Johnson's O-lines have been solid as a group without having All-SEC/NFL players from tackle to tackle. They've been well coached the last two years and I'd expect that to continue.
    Who leads the Tigers in receiving yards tonight?
    I'll go with Tauskie Dove. Second choice would be Luther Burden.
    Other than Justin Gage, who is one Mizzou basketball player (all-time) who you would choose to suit up for the football Tigers?
    TJ Soyoye at tight end
    Jason Sutherland at safety
    Rickey Paulding at receiver
    DeMarre Carroll as edge rusher
    This "Yes, I think how Mizzou plays in one of its five road games will indicate how it will play on the road. Not sure what else it would indicate." is a rather sarcastic reply to what I thought was an earnest question. I think the commenter was asking if this might be something of bellwether game.

    Dave, do not let Jane Rainvold get you down. Just block her. Have a good day.
    It was an honest answer. When you only have five tests and you do well on 20% of them, I'd assume that's a good indicator you'll do well on the other 80% but by no means a guarantee. Right?
    What was your Mizzou game prediction today? I neve
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    Right here. Posted this shortly before the chat kicked off.
    Dave, thanks for doing your chats which I enjoy. I read them primarily for entertainment and as a brief escape. I realize that you probably see many inappropriate messages that you do not post, but you do choose to post the comments from Jon Rainvold. I don't understand why you choose to do so, but they are not entertaining. The next post I see from him that is not a legitimate question will be my last. I am not going to give him the satisfaction of reading his nonsense.
    Don't worry. Jon is done getting his questions posted today.
    Should we be watching the Mizzou o-line tonight? LA Tech struggled to get a pass rush last year, so the guys up front should be able to protect Cook and open up holes for the RBs. If that happens, Mizzou cruises.
    Sure. I watch the whole game. The O-line is always important. Mizzou can't move the ball without a solid game up front, regardless of the opponent.
    Dave, I read your article on the hurdles that had to be jumped to get the game tonight to happen. A good read as per usual. What I took from it is that the game tonight is an attempt by the athletic department to show fans that they’re in fact listening to complaints and inconveniences coming from fans, regardless if it really is out of their control. What I found interesting is the amount of money spent on getting out of the MTSU game and luring La Tech to come to Columbia. I’m not sure how much revenue football games usually bring in, or how much revenue this game specifically is projected to bring in, but I’d imagine considering the total cost spent for this game to occur that tonight will result in a lower yield. If true, is it fair to say that tonight is more about pleasing the fan base with the hope of higher turnouts/satisfaction for future games?
    I'm not sure I follow your logic. Mizzou wants more fans to attend games so they spend more money on tickets, parking, food, beer, T-shirts, etc. Fans told the department they want night games, shorter lines, easier access into the stadium, etc. So, Mizzou worked to meet those requests, including paying the two schools a combined $1.3 million to make this a Thursday night game. But they don't necessarily measure their expenses and revenues only in terms of each individual game. It's all about delivering a better product for the entire season, selling more season tickets and enhancing the overall fan experience so more people come to the stadium this year and beyond. Yes, there were costs at play for the schedule change, but the hope is that getting the Thursday night game led to more sales overall to offset those expenses.
    So excited for the season to finally start tonight, but nervous that we may come out with a clunker… perhaps PTSD from some past seasons. What’s your take on how they come out to play?
    Anything is possible. Worse teams than Louisiana Tech have upset better teams than Missouri the first week of the season in past years. One game or one season isn't going to heal the scar tissue some fans carry around, but I would suggest just enjoying the game and hoping for the best.
    I've taken a few years off from watching mizzou football, for some reason I'm excited about this year and want to watch again. Who should I be looking for as the big play guys? I know there's a receiver but who's the guy out of the backfield that you expect to take over? or do you think it'll be by committee?
    I don't expect there to be one primary running back - at least not this early in the season. And I'd expect more of a balanced distribution in the passing game, too. Some games it might be Dove. Some games it might be Lovett. Other times Burden might take over. I like the balance and diversity of the WR group. It should be a real strength.
    Mizzou finished 13th out of the 14 SEC in defensive yards allowed in 2021 with Vanderbilt being 14th.
    The MU defense gave up to Tennessee 700 yards, 450 rushing and 250 passing.
    So defensively the only way for the 2022 defense is up?
    Trajan Jeffcoat was all SEC defensive line in 2020 and Sec. defensive player of week 12 last year.
    Is he back this year and can he lead the defensive line to stronger performances. Last year MU gave up 35 points per game, so I hope your prediction of 23 for LATECH is right.
    Yes, Jeffcoat is back. He'll start. I can't imagine this defense could be worse than it was in the first half of last year. They've addressed some weak spots in the personnel and overhauled the staff. I'll  be surprised if this is a top 25 defense, but the pieces should be there to be middle of the pack in the SEC in most categories.
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