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, chatters. We've got one game in the books to digest and talk about today and a much bigger one in 48 hours to discuss. I'm here for the next couple hours. Let's do this.
    What was your take on Drink decision on not playing other quarterbacks ( Abraham, Horn,Macon) when Missouri was significantly ahead in the game?
    My take is that he did play a backup quarterback last Thursday. Jack Abraham entered the game with 9:21 left in the fourth quarter with Mizzou ahead 45-17 and he played the final two series.
    Abraham is the backup QB. As things stand now, if for some reason Cook comes out of the game, Abraham is the first QB off the bench. Horn very well might be the future but they clearly don't believe he's ready to take game snaps ahead of Abraham at this point. Macon is out of the mix for now and maybe for good.
    Hello Dave
    What is your Mizzou/ K-State prediction?
    As always this season, you can find my Mizzou prediction at STLtoday.com on Friday mornings. Patience, my friends.
    Do you agree with the assessment that Peat out performed the other backs and should be the starter?
    As a runner, yes, I think he showed more upside and speed in the opener. Nearly half his 72 yards came on one 34-yard run, but even if you take out the 34-yarder, he still averaged 5.4 yards per carry. Schrader was less efficient (17 for 70) and if you take out his 29-yard run he averaged 2.6 yards per carry. I still think he can bring some value to the offense. His pass blocking was solid - and that's more important in this offense than some might realize. Peat has never been a workhorse back at the college level and he missed a lot of time in camp with a hamstring injury, so it made sense to reward the guy who had the more complete preseason. Going forward I'd think Peat will get more touches but I'd be surprised if any of the contenders carries a workload similar to Rountree in 2020 or Badie in 2021.
    As a Mizzou fan for 45 years will we ever get to the stage where the pundits are saying you don’t want to play them on a bad day? Like maybe Kentucky or Tennessee.I’d be happy with that after all the bad football all the bad coaches
    I'm not really interested in what national pundits have to say. Where would they learn about the teams without the local reporters writing about them?
    Hi, Dave! Thanks, as always, for your chats. I look forward to them every week...After seeing the performance against Louisiana Tech, how do you feel about our chances for an upset? What has to go right for the Tigers?
    I'm cautious in extrapolating too much from one game to the next in college football, especially when the opponent in Week 2 is far different from the opponent in Week 1. After playing a no-huddle Air Raid offense last week, the Tigers face a much different run-oriented, physical K-State offense with a QB who likes to extend the pocket and run. Defensively, K-State is unique structurally with a 3-5-3 base system that's unlike most opponents the Tigers see.
    There are obviously things we saw in the LA Tech game that were promising: 
    The defense was aggressive, tackled well and disruptive.
    The offense spread the ball around to a bunch of playmakers.
    Cook's decison-making was steady and solid.
    But there were some red flags, too:
    Two red zone turnovers - the kind that kill your chances against better competiton.
    Two explosive pass plays for TDs by the LA Tech offense. (I'm not counting the third in garbage time.)
    Botched punt coverage
    Short-yardage struggles on offense. 
    Is Cook really the best option? He's average at best
    Why do all Mizzou QB's not throw to open receivers? Check down the receivers? Cook was throwing into double coverage a lot.
    I'm not sure we were watching the same game. I thought Cook was fine. He had one bad decision that could have been picked off but it also might have been a communication mistake with his receiver. Otherwise he rarely put the ball in harm's way.
    Is Cook the best option? Well, Drinkwitz is betting his job on it. Playing the wrong QB is the kind of fateful mistake that gets you fired. He's playing the guy he believes gives them the best chance to win games right now based on what he's watched from the candidates over the last nine months.
    Be sure to give this week's podcast a listen if you haven't already. Ben and I share some thoughts on the LA Tech game and the K-State game followed by a conversation with former Tigers great Chase Coffman - the K-State legacy who chose Mizzou over his dad's alma mater. Here's the STLtoday link but you can always find the latest episode on Apple, Spotify, etc
    I thought Mizzou's defense looked way better than last year. The running backs were a nice surprise and the WR's looked good. I like the Cook has taken care of the ball. I don't think the INT was his fault. Do you think that Mizzou will struggle to throw the ball downfield? That seems to be Cook's weakness.
    Cook and the receivers need to clean up the deep shots. He's got the arm to be effective and he's got the wideouts to go up and make a play on the ball. On passes 10 yards or more downfield he was 5 of 9 for 105 yards. That's 11.7 yards per attempt. That's very good. When you're throwing 10 yards or more downfield and averaging better than a first down per attempt - not per completion - you're doing some good things. The next step is completing a couple more of the 20-yard shots
    Your take on the attendance Thursday?
    I thought the crowd and the atmosphere were more impressive than the actual number. I would have thought it was around 50,000. But for a Thursday night game against a Group of Five team, that was a decent showing. It's unrealistic to think Mizzou is magically going to start selling out home games on blind faith and hope. That's not who this fan base is right now. That works at other places in the SEC; not here.
    On two of the long touchdowns last week it looked like Jalani Williams was the safety who got burned. Where were the breakdowns on the 3 long touchdowns? Last year it was the run defense, is this year going to be the long pass touchdowns that beat us?
    Drinkwitz and Baker explained the breakdowns pretty explicitly this week. On the first one, the safety (Williams, I think) took his eyes off his receiver and instead fell for the run-pass option and got out of position. Here's how Drinkwitz explained it on his radio show Wednesday:
    "The first explosive play was an RPO (run-pass option). Our backside safety was in a quarters look (four deep). He's supposed to key three to the off-ball player. So when he saw the dive fake .... he should have cleared his cleats and started working towards the number 2 receiver. And he didn't do that. He got his eyes in the backfield and came down, which led to a ball behind him."
    On the second one, Joseph Charleston got confused by another action in the backfield:
    Drinkwitz: "They ran a jet motion and looked like they were gonna run jet sweep to the right and he just had his eyes in the backfield. And the X receiver just ran what we call a split route, which was splitting the goalpost. And he would have split his head on the goalposts if he kept running. So we just got to have great eye discipline."
    Overall last week’s 52-24 defeat of LaTech was a satisfying way to start the season, holding them to only 8 yards rushing and intercepting while MU rushed for 300+ yards both of which were unexpected. However, it it concerning that the defense gave up 3 long TD passes.. Kansas St. had 300 yards rushing last week and only 100 yards passing so we’ll see this week whether the defense has improved from last year. What is your overall analysis of the defensive effort vs LaTech?
    The pressure up front was really good. The tackling was better than any game last year. The D-line was aggressive. Just a couple individual mistakes in the backfield on those two deep balls. You're going to give up some big plays occasionally against any Air Raid team - especially when you're up big and the opponent's only option is to start chucking the ball. If Adrian Martinez starts carving through this secondary, then it becomes a concern. But I don't think last week's game is cause for alarm.
    I'm really excited that Mizzou finally has an interesting nonconference game. I think one of the reasons they have struggled.to sell tickets is because of nonregional non fun non conference games. Even one of the more interesting games (Boston College) was kind of like why are they playing this game? I see a lot of other SEC teams playing in pro stadiums and scheduling really big games against other conferences. I was wondering if you know why Mizzou got away from playing at the America's Center. Why not schedule Illinois, Iowa, Iowa State, Purdue, Indiana, Nebraska, Notre Dame, etc and get some exposure to recruits locally. Or why not play KState, Colorado, or KU at Arrowhead? I think it makes the ticket package more interesting and it makes games feel bigger than playing LATECH or MIddle Tennessee.
    Missouri is working on a game in St. Louis. It's a priority.
    I hope Mizzou's first offensive series against K-State is not like the first one against LT. I thought it poor play calling. Odd play calling. And a relative weak first quarter overall. I know it was game 1, and small sample size, but that cannot be the way Mizzou starts games against SEC opponents. We'll be down 21-0 at the end of Q1 week in and out.
    Everyone loves to over-analyze the season's first series and criticize the play-calling and not the execution. To me it looked like Drinkwitz was giving his QB a chance to calm his nerves, build up some confidence with some easy throws with the hope they'd catch a block on the perimeter and pick up a first down. Short pass to Lovett, short pass to Schrader. Lovett came close to breaking off a big play on third-and-long, but I saw a coach and a QB making safe choices early. They obviously got better as the game went along. Don't forget. This was Cook's first home start, a moment he's dreamed about forever. You know he had some butterflies on those first couple snaps. Get the nerves out of the way, punt and live to see another series. It worked out fine.
    I'm really anxious to see the game this weekend - maybe moreso than any in the last couple years. It won't be the end of the world (or the season) if they lose by three TD's, but IMO that will signify that the desired jump isn't happening yet. Maybe later this year, but not yet. Besides winning, in your opinion, what would signify significant progress?
    I think this program is past the point of moral victories. They rallied to take Boston College to OT last year and still lost - and no one felt good about the outcome.
    A close loss in Manhattan wouldn't be anything like Notre Dame outplaying Ohio State for a half in Columbus and then feeling OK about a competitive loss. K-State ain't Ohio State. Winning is hard. Winning on the road is harder. But we're not talking about a national championship contender in the Little Apple. Mizzou needs wins over Power Five teams to start making progress.
    Were you or are surprised by the line opening at KState -9 earlier this week and do you put any stock into opening lines as a measuring stick of where the team is at? I think just judging by last week, Martinez seemed to struggle against SD and KState may be relying on their run game even more heavily than expected. On the flip side Mizzou's defence seems much improved from last year, so surprised this line wasn't a little closer.
    I wasn't too surprised by the opening line. It's down to 7.5 at FanDuel now. K-State is historically good at home. Mizzou has not been very competitive in most road games under Drinkwitz. One team has a fifth-year starter at QB; the other team's QB is making his first true road start. Martinez is far from a great QB, but the experience advantage is a factor to some degree - especially when you're setting lines.
    Im surprised E. Young didn't get more of a look last week, particularly on third down. His speed and explosiveness, particularly outside the tackles seems to make him the best RB option and we saw some of those flashes in the bowl game as well. Is your view that he is a little behind due to injuries in Fall camp or does the coaching staff see him as a lesser option compared to Peat/Schrader?
    For whatever reason I don't think this staff has ever been fully behind Young as a primary ball-carrier. He was groomed to be Badie's top backup last year and he never earned the role. Maybe it's pass protection. Maybe they don't think he's physical enough. I'm not sure.
    How come Tennessee and Kentucky can go from doormats not long ago (Tennessee 5 barely winning seasons out of the last 16 years) and become dominant so quick. And Kentucky (5 winning seasons in the last 13 years) has had some great seasons too after being so mediocre. While Mizzou has been treading water for a loooong time now. They are relevant and Mizzou has been (and likely will be this year) a .500 team again?
    Easy answers: Kentucky hired a great coach and stuck with him when it didn't work immediately. Mark Stoops doesn't sign elite classes but he's developed talent as well as any coach in this league. He's also got a transfer portal batting average. That's helped a lot.
    As for Tennessee: They hired a head coach who brings instant offense. And when you marry a good offensive coach and a proven system with a competent QB you're going to win some games by outscoring people. Tennessee has always had the resources and the massive fan base to support their program. But it doesn't work when you don't hire the right head coach. Now it appears they have with Heupel.
    Did you catch Bazelak last weekend? Happy he got the win but my take is the first 3.5 quarters was exactly what frustrated Mizzou fans last year. Rooting for him, though.
    He's still not a mobile QB outside of the pocket but he connected on some huge deep shots and showed great poise in the clutch. Just watching the game and reading some of the postgame coverage he appears a lot happier there than he was here. Maybe it's just a better fit overall.
    Good day to you Dave. Hope all is well your way. -I was watching the replay of last week's game and noticed that Coach Drink appeared to be somewhat chewing out Brady Cook after the Tigers punted on 4th Down of their first offensive series of the game. Did you happen to notice that? It made me wonder if perhaps maybe Drink did actually want the offense to go for it on 4th and 3 and somehow Cook misunderstood him?
    No, that wasn't the case. Cook was trying to draw LA Tech offsides. Instead they took the delay of game rather than burn an early timeout. I watched the replay and Drinkwitz clearly wasn't happy with something that unfolded, but he wasn't chewing him out. He was smiling the whole time and clearly trying to teach him something in the heat of the moment. He said, "If you ever see .... don't throw it that way." I'm almost certain he was talking about the second-down play when the defense flooded the short side of the field and he still threw to Schrader on the screen. He patted Cook on the head after the brief talk. I've seen him chew out players on the sideline. That's not what that was.
    What is more crucial to winning Saturday, The offense or defense performing?

    I’m fascinated by this matchup with KState. It gives the defense a true test and will tell us a lot about the competency of the offense. With how KState plays, it seems like it’ll be important for the offense to score quickly to counteract the keep away ball. Having said that, it doesn’t really matter if we can’t stop the run.
    I don't want to take the easy way out, but when you play a well coached team that's solid on both sides, you better be good in both areas. If Mizzou's defense holds Deuce Vaughn under 100 yards and forces a few turnovers, the offense still has to generate some scoring drives. If Cook is excellent and the run game comes through, they're still going to have to get some stops on defense. Safe to say K-State is the kind of team that won't give you many possessions. The Tigers cannot turn the ball over. In a game like this, punting is OK as long as you earn favorable field position.
    While aware of the competition, I was pleasantly surprised at the number of weapons. Lots of speed at important positions this year
    Mizzou looked faster on both sides of the ball. Lovett-Burden is a great inside-outside tandem. Hopper, Carlies, Carnell, Abrams-Draine. This is an athletic, fast defense all of a sudden.
    Was that interception off of LB’s hands more Cook’s or Burden’s fault?
    Cook could have put less heat and more touch on the ball, but I've always said if it hits you in the hands, you better catch it. Receivers catch passes from a JUGS machine that spits out the ball harder than Cook throws it.
    Drink said in offseason he planned to open up the offense this year, that he was too conservative last season. Do you think he did that in game 1 or was he purposely limited so as not to show his hand for tougher games to come?
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