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.

    Welcome to Game Week No. 1, Mizzou fans. I'll be here for the next couple hours to take your questions. You've already submitted a lot, so be patient and I'll get to as many as possible.
    Any update on Tyler Badie status??
    He appears good to go for Saturday. He practiced Tuesday and was not mentioned in Drinkwitz's injury updates this week. He clearly had some kind of scare during the open scrimmage two weeks ago, but Drinkwitz said there MRIs revealed no structural damage to whatever body part they were testing.
    I have a digital subscription, here in North Carolina, only because of your coverage - make sure your bosses see that. :-) My question: Have you had a chance to talk to Steve Wilks about what he learned in that year he studied college football before taking this job? I know Woody Wodenhofer admitted (off the record) that it had many more, deeper challenges than he realized when he left the Steelers to take over in the '80s and, although I've met Joe Gibbs, I never spoke to him about his second stint with the Washington Football Team but it seemed obvious that the game had passed him by, in the years between his runs.
    The subscription is much appreciated. We've picked up quite a few over the last few weeks directly tied to Mizzou coverage. So, we're very grateful. 
    As for Wilks, he talked some back in the spring and again this week about things that he's learned about the college game in the last year or so. For one, he's had to adjust to the different offensive rules in college and the NFL, from what's allowed with formations to the different hash marks on the field. I think it would be a bigger concern if he came directly from the NFL, but Wilks spent all of 2020 analyzing college offenses while he was out of coaching. He studied with one of his former assistants in the NFL, Alonso Escalante, and really devoted himself to learning all the trends and nuances of the college game. Will it translate to Mizzou having a much improved defense? We'll start finding out on Saturday.
    Is Mizzou going to try another home game where fans are assigned to wear yellow or black apparel in an effort to make a tiger-ish pattern?
    I don't know about that. New AD, new plans, possibly.
    Is Luther Burden still scheduling visits to schools other than Mizzou? Still silence from Coleman?
    Burden has indicated he'll still take his official visits this fall. I've heard he'll be in Columbia for Saturday's game. 
    There hasn't been much buzz with Coleman lately. I'd still be surprised if he ends up in CoMo. 
    Update: East St. Louis plays De Smet on Saturday, so clearly Burden won't be in Columbia for the CMU game. Bad info. My apologies. 
  • Drink making demands of fans?!? Dude is 5-5. I was planning to go Saturday but now I am staying home. F you, Drinkwitz.
  • I was surprised when LSU announced their Covid policy. I thought it was a wise move and hoped other SEC schools would follow suit especially since there is no announced SEC policy. Mizzou doesn’t appear to be taking meaningful preventative steps. As a season ticket holder for over 50 years I know people are jammed together in the concession and restroom areas. I’m not sure our new AD is passing her first major test by tip toeing around the issue. It’s a terrible spot for her to be in. Has anyone pressed her as to whether her position is based on advice from the medical community? My heart goes out to her and I hope the games don’t turn out to be super spreader events.
  • I have an interview with Desiree Reed-Francois next week. I'll touch on a lot of topics, including game day policies and plans.
    I would have thought more schools would have taken the approach we've seen at LSU, Boston College and elsewhere, but Mizzou is rarely a leader when it comes to major policy shifts and more often than not follows the rest of the crowd. And as of today, LSU is the only SEC school requiring proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test for fans 12 and over. Mizzou might have considered adopting those policies if the state's two major sports franchises - the Cardinals and Chiefs - would go that route, vaccinations and/or masks for their outdoor games. But that's not the case. 
    Schools will say that they prioritize the health and safety of their fans and athletes first and foremost, but these are also business decisions. Would requiring vaccinations/negative tests turn more fans away or encourage more fans to attend? Surely that calculus is part of these decisions - not just for Mizzou but every school in the country. 
  • This is like complaining about the weather But missouri is in a tough spot with no metro area nearby,and when you have to drive two hours first. Did they ever think about this before they put a giant stadium in the middle of Some rolling wooded hills in the middle of nowhere?
  • Rolling wooded hills in the middle of nowhere? I take it you haven't been to Columbia in a long time or maybe ever.
  • Any idea which sideline the tigers are using this year? I remember they switched to the opposite side of the student section during the construction of the south zone, which IMO seems to be an advantage.
  • I haven't heard of any changes from last season, when Mizzou was on the west sideline.
  • Drink & Co have started something special in CoMo. I hope the fans show up and support his team. I unfortunately now have an 800 mile commute to CoMo. Hopefully I can get to the game vs Florida to see the Tigers chomp on the gators.
    Other than the final score, Saturday's attendance will be the most interesting number of the day. It's always a challenge to fill the stadium on Labor Day weekend. What would be a respectable number Saturday for a stadium that's considered full at 61,621?
    50,000?
    55,000?
    I've requested an update on ticket sales but as of today the university hasn't provided an answer.
    I do not expect anything close to a sellout. I'd be surprised if that number touches 50,000, despite Drinkwitz's challenges and pleas.
    Mizzou is offering vouchers for two free tickets to every Columbia Public School student in town. (There are about 18,000 kids in the local school system.) That is telling.
    I'm sure we'll have several more questions about attendance today. 
    What attendance number for the game on Saturday would you consider a success?
    I don't know about success but anything less than 50,000 would be disappointing considering all the build-up and enthusiasm for Drinkwitz and the program this offseason. If crowds are spotty this year, I predict you'll hear some frustration from the head coach. He wasn't thrilled that the open practice two Saturdays ago "wasn't quite as realistic as we wanted it to be." I interpreted that as meaning the crowd wasn't the size he expected. 
    Mr. Davey Cleo what will be the largest home attendance figure this season and against whom?
    It probably depends on how the first month of the season goes. If Mizzou loses to Kentucky and/or Boston College, that's going to impact the size of the crowds for Tennessee, South Carolina, Texas A&M, etc. Some Mizzou fans come just for the homecoming game - that's North Texas this year - so I'd think that game has a chance to hit 60,000 if Mizzou plays well in September. Otherwise, A&M figures to draw the biggest crowd because that's the best opponent Mizzou will face. Tennessee will bring a lot of orange next month, no doubt.
    Dave, hi! One of my criticisms of Barry Odom’s tenure was that his teams always seemed to start seasons flat & even a bit unprepared. Momentum would be gone from Day One. Setting aside 2020, with what you seen in practices & interviews, where would you assess the readiness (& preparedness) level of this 2021 Eli Drinkwitz coached team vs what you saw with Barry’s teams? Thanks!
    Without being able to attend every practice it's really hard to measure readiness. When only 45 minutes of every fourth practice is open, there's just no way for me or anyone in the media to be able to make that call. I wouldn't be surprised if this team gets much better as the season moves along. For a couple reasons ...
    1. Newcomers on both sides of the ball might need time to adjust to new roles, especially the defensive secondary. 
    2. New defensive staff, new coordinator, new scheme. You usually need some game experience for dramatic changes to produce consistently good results. 
    Haven't seen your picks yet, Dave. Any upsets in the making? Like, say, South Dakota over a Big 12 team?
  • My SEC picks always run on the site every Friday during the season. I'll go heavy on SEC games and pick a few of the best games outside of the conference. Spoiler: That will not include the Coyotes-Jayhawks game.
  • In which game will Sam Horn throw his 1st TD pass to Luther Burden?
  • I'll go with the 2024 opener.
  • I dont mind Drink calling fans to Faurot. Drink & staff have been working around the clock to build up the program. He is proud of the work he & his team have done and wants to show the positive results.
    Yes, and he knows the No. 1 factor that will make Mizzou a more viable athletics department in this conference is ticket sales. Ticket revenue has been down for several years, since 2016. Mizzou cannot compete financially in this league - which means recruiting expenses, coaching contracts, facilities, etc. - if those numbers don't improve sooner than later. I hear from fans all the time who are worried Drinkwitz will someday leave for a better job. If that happens, it won't just be about taking a higher salary somewhere else. It'll be about the resources and commitment not matching his vision and expectations. If it's just about salary, the AD can always count on a few of the gazillionaire donors to help in that department. But it takes thousands of supporters to improve the program on a larger scale.
    Mike Anderson often made pleas to fans to come fill the arena. Mizzou fans have more times than not been apathetic as can be. It's not until they have a good run and record do they turn out. But even when Anderson was winning fans didn't show up
    There were more fans back then in Mizzou Arena than you see now. The win-first-and-then-the-fans-will-show-up model doesn't work in the SEC. Gary Pinkel made that point all the time. Drinkwitz is making that point now. For a program like Mizzou, a place with far limited resources and fans compared to the megapowers in the SEC, you need more support at the ground floor before the results appear. That's just the reality of competing in the SEC.
    Thoughts on how you think Bazelak performs the entire year? Will Drink's playbook be a bit more aggressive as he gains more trust in Bazelak?
    That's the plan. Last year, they relied so heavily on Rountree and managing the clock with the running game and a controlled passing game, mostly because of Bazelak's inexperience. He's a year older in the system now, so ideally you can trust him more to spread the ball around, take chances on vertical throws that can lead to more chunk play and, by result, a more efficient offense. You still need an effective run game to make that possible. I think that's as big of a question mark this year than Bazelak's progress. Badie and Young aren't the same kind of back as Rountree. I think you'll see more of an effort to distribute the ball to a wide collection of playmakers in multiple ways that will become extensions of the running game. More jet sweeps to slot receivers. More throws to the running backs. More bubble screens to receivers in space.
    What's your go-to beer style and which craft brewery do you recommend in Columbia?
  • I'm Team Logboat all the way. You can get a good beer at the other places, but nothing beats Logboat. They don't have a bad beer. I like their IPAs but they have plenty of other good options.
    Dave,
    Is there an expectation for how long Bazelak stays at Mizzou? This is technically his first year that he uses his eligibility, but his 3rd year in college, and seeing the field. Assuming he continues to have some success (continues to start) is the belief he would stay all 6 years or transfer as a grad transfer, try and go pro, etc?
    I saw in an article one of the reasons Luther Burden now possible wants to come to MU is because Sam Horn is coming to MU, but it occurred to me if Burden is NFL bound (gets drafted early) he may never catch a pass from Horn unless Bazelak leaves early (assuming horn beats out other QBs). I know the extra year of eligibility due to covid has thrown things for a loop, but having kids play in college for 6 years seems crazy and I know Martin pushed a lot of players to go live their life, etc.
    I really don't think the staff looks that far ahead - or Bazelak for that matter. If his career takes off this year then he'll be in position to leave early for the NFL. But he's a LONG way from making that happen. The guy only threw seven touchdowns last season. He's still got plenty to prove. 
    Burden may say that now about Horn because they're in the same class and Horn is certainly helping with his recruitment. But if he indeed signs with Mizzou, Burden is going to want to play with the QB who gives him the best chance to have success now and in the future. 
    of the 12 players on the current MBB roster, how many of those 12 do you think will be on the roster this time next year? I would assume that Pickett wont return for his 6th out of high school
    I would not expect Pickett to return for a second senior season. It's impossible to predict who stays and who goes before nine of them play a game at Mizzou. Some might click right away with the program and the style of play; others might find it's not a great fit for them and look to play elsewhere. Impossible to project now. 
    I do think it's a safe bet that the new transfers will stick around beyond this coming season - only because they've already used up their one free transfer. If they transfer again, they'll have to sit out for a year. 
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