Mizzou chat with Dave Matter

Mizzou chat with Dave Matter

Bring your Tigers football and basketball questions, and talk to Mizzou beat writer Dave Matter in a live chat starting at 11 a.m. Thursday.

    Greetings, Mizzou fans. I'm here for the next two hours to chat all things Tigers. Bowl game. Odom contract. Kelly Bryant. Hoops. Let's get this started now.
    Now that Kelly Bryant committed to Mizzou, which recruits could lean Mizzou’s way that maybe we’re on the fence.
    I'm not sure there are any recruits whose decision was hinging on Bryant's decision. Would high school recruits really base their college choice on playing with a guy for just one year? Mizzou can certainly get a recruiting bump from landing Bryant, but I think it's more of a long-view. By landing Bryant, Missouri will be expected to be an SEC contender next year and the program has a chance to be more relevant nationally. That only helps the program's profile when it comes to recruits in the 2020 class and beyond. Also, it's a message of validation for Odom, Dooley and the staff. If you're a recruit in the 2019 class or 2020 and you see that this program is good enough for the biggest free agent in the game - a guy with zero local ties to the program - then why can't it be good enough for a high school recruit from St. Louis or Kansas City or Texas or Florida? 
    All that being said, there are a handful of local prospects who are still undecided who could pick MU in the coming weeks. But, again, I'm not sure Bryant's decision is a factor. These are four- and five-year decisions for high school targets. Trinity OL Ira Henry is still undecided, as is Trinity LB Shammond Cooper. 
    One hoops question and one football question: Has the basketball team shown you anything so far this season to alter your what you thought the team was capable of this year right before tip off vs Central Arkansas? Do you think Byers moves from DE to DT next year?
    Hoops: Perhaps. I have said for a while this team's ceiling is probably .500. The UCF finish was impressive. The Oregon State win looks good now. They have four noncon games left: Oral Roberts, Xavier, Illinois, Morehead State. Anything less than 3-1 will be disappointing. ORU and Morehead should be 20-points. Xavier isn't the team it was under Chris Mack. Illinois is 2-7 but has played a brutal schedule - and played well against No. 1 Gonzaga. There are some SEC teams struggling right now. Georgia, South Carolina, Texas A&M. To finish ninth or better in a deep SEC, the Tigers need to win their home games and maybe steal a few on the road. It's possible. 
     
    As for Byers, he was Mizzou's best D-end late in the season. I'm not sure it's smart to move him from a position of strength, but he's a guy you can shift inside on passing downs and bring in more of a speed rusher to play D-end. Jordan Elliott and Kobie Whiteside are your likely D-tackle starters next year. Otherwise you've got Markell Utsey and some uproven pieces. Can Antar Thompson develop into a regular? Not sure. At end, Mizzou returns Tre Williams, Chris Turner, Jatorian Hansford and Trajan Jeffcoat. The numbers are better at end, but I'd hesitate moving Byers inside full-time - unless he's that much better as any of the other candidates.
    Dave,
    Given that the MU Football Program has a strong desire to increase fan attendance not only at the upcoming Bowl game but especially next season....why, with the big news regarding Kelly B. & Johnathan N., does the AD, Odom and the OC make their presence available on all the significant media outlets around the state.....I'm not aware of any participation from the leaders of the Program over the last 48 hours. It seems the program needs PR & exposure, especially with the current "big" news to promote fan interest & ticket sales ??
    Technically, they can't talk publicly about an unsigned recruit - but Bryant just signed today. So, they can say all they want now. 
    Odom and his coaches have been on the road making recruiting visits. He wasn't available yesterday to talk about the contract. But Mizzou returns to practice Saturday morning and he and his coaches will be available then to talk to reporters. 
    Please explain how Kelly Bryant can play 4 games and have a year of eligibility left, but Christian Guess plays 1 game and that will cost him a year of eligibility. If that is correct, why would Martin waste of a year of his eligibility when that is the only game he has played in during the first 9 games? Thanks
    Because the redshirt rule was adjusted this year for football. Basketball doesn't have the same rule in place. I suspect Missouri will play Guess more at some point this season. On the other hand, most coaches don't really worry about eligibility for basketball players three, four years down the road. If a guy isn't good enough to contribute as a freshman, it's unlikely he's going to become a core player four years later. If anything, if you have a freshman who's not good enough to contribute right away, you redshirt him so that he can use the year of eligibility somewhere else if he one day decides to transfer.
  • Does Bryant have any NFL aspirations? He is eligible for NFL draft but coming back for another season. Is he coming to MU to be schooled by Dooley. This is a big catch to get Bryant over Auburn. Hopefully many more fence sitting recruits will come like the Arkansas WR who committed after shortly after Bryant did. One small job still to be completed - WIN THE BOWL GAME!
  • Yes, he wants to play in the NFL. He's made that pretty clear. As I wrote earlier this week, his mentor studied the offenses of all the schools that pursued him and took into account how those systems will help him develop for the NFL.
  • Hi Dave, how do you think Mizzou matches up with OK State? Appreciate your chat.
  • They always have a potent offense. They can run and throw, though they won't have their best running back, Justice Hill, who's prepping for the draft instead. The OSU defense is pretty bad, especially against the run. Should be a big game for the Mizzou running backs. Oklahoma State is just 6-6 but has three quality wins over Texas, West Virginia and Boise State - and some ugly losses to Baylor, Texas Tech and K-State.
  • Dave, thrilled to have Kelly Bryant. But how drastic of changes do you expect Dooley to make to the offense? Bryant much more mobile and a great running threat, but not the passer that Lock is....do you expect a lot of short passes? Bryant is an accurate passer but not the strongest arm..right? How do you see it all playing out?

    Mizzou is going to be DEEP at the receiver position. 10 guys or so that will be competing for time
    All the plays they'd want to run for Bryant are already in the playbook. You just call a few more runs for the QB and more read-options that give him the chance to run. Lock threw a lot more short, intermediate passes this year compared to MU's former offense, so that should suit Bryant well. He doesn't have the arm strength or deep-ball accuracy of Lock - and not many do. Bryant was very accurate in the ACC - about 10 percentage points better than Lock over their careers - so he should fit in with the RPO quick passes that became a staple in Dooley's offense.
    Hey Dave - retired last year and moved to Florida but lived in Memphis for many years. Sorry to miss Tigers in Liberty Bowl but those traveling should have good time. Weather is uncertain but as you’ve written Beale Street can be fun New Years Eve and BBQ is awesome (Corey’s, Central BBQ,etc.). Stadium is not up to pro standards (mostly bleacher seating like The Zou) but lack of track around field gets folks closer to the action. One caution is to use good sense as stadium is not in best area. Pay a few bucks to park (same for Beale Street) and allow enough time as not on main highway. There is a pretty cool tailgate area (not The Grove though) aptly named Tiger Lane! Support the team if you can and let’s get that bowl win!
    Thanks for the Memphis scouting report. Much appreciated.
    I'm sorry I know Puryear is a true son of Missouri, but he just makes some dumb mistakes. He really makes me mad to be honest. And he shoots the ball almost every time he gets it. I know he has developed, but a lot of times he is just over matched. Do you see Cuonzo giving more playing time to Mitchell Smith because of his defense?
  • Martin is giving Smith more time. I wrote about that yesterday on the site. Starting Smith over Puryear for the second half against UCF was telling. Martin rarely changes his starting lineups for a half. It's against his nature. Puryear is still an important part of this team. It's not like they're loaded with experience and proven scorers. He adds value and a lot of heart and toughness. He's always been limited athletically, but he'll continue to contribute as long as he's not a complete liability on defense. But Martin clearly has expanded Smith's role.
  • Trevor Wallace Simms was AP first team all sec. he is a junior. Does he turn pro or will be be back next year. Surely the nfl is interested in him. Anybody else from this year’s team besides Lock that will go pro?
    I wouldn't expect Wallace-Simms to leave for the NFL. The AP voters, including myself, have an email chain where we nominate offensive linemen, seeing that it's the hardest position group for layman writers to evaluate. I nominated Tre'Vour and I was happy to see my fellow voters put him on their ballots. He's had a really strong year - but didn't crack the 1st or 2nd all-coaches team. You don't see a lot of underclassmen interior O-linemen leave school early, and I'd be surprised if he gives it much thought. 
    Emanuel Hall will be drafted. The analyst I talked to this week has him as a top 100 player in the draft. Terry Beckner Jr. and Terez Hall will be drafted as well. Maybe Paul Adams, too. 
    Listening to Greg McIlroy on ESPN College radio this morning, and he indicated that Mizzou got "passed over" for better bowl games because the perception is that Mizzou fans "don't travel". I was in Tuscaloosa this year and have been to Gainesville and Fayetteville for games. Thousands of Mizzou fans at each venue. The 'Bama fans remarked about how well we showed up. What is the real reason we got hosed on this year's bowl?
    First of all, Missouri didn't get hosed for a bowl. The only SEC team with a worse record that went to a bowl that can be perceived as better or equal to the Liberty was 7-5 Auburn going to the Music City. And that was because of the opponent: Purdue. Mizzou just played Purdue this season. The SEC wasn't going to send Mizzou to Nashville for a rematch game. Now why did the Music City want 6-6 Purdue? Easy. The Boilers got hot after beating Ohio State and had sellouts for two of the final three home games - and over the last two years increased their home attendance by nearly 17,000 per game. Purdue has a more energized fan base right now. Mizzou home attendance has declined each of the last four years. The SEC takes note of that when placing its teams in bowls. Why put MU in a Florida bowl game - ahead of 8-4 Texas A&M or 8-4 Mississippi State - when fewer Mizzou fans are going to their own home games? If anything, you can make the case the SEC did Mizzou a favor by putting them in the closest available game.
     
     
    Joe Jon Finley is leaving for TXAM. His contract is through April. I assume he coaches the bowl game, but if he is under contract until April what does he do after the bowl game?
    He will not coach in the bowl. A&M needs a tight ends coach now. It's been reported he'll join the Aggies for their bowl against NC State. Contracts are meant to be broken. MU and Finley will negotiate a way out of his deal.
    Dave, greetings from Maui. With the addition of Bryant, how many QBs does Mizzou have now? I’m assuming 1 or two will transfer?
    The team currently has five QBs. They lose one and will add two. If my math is correct, that would give MU six QBs for 2019. That's too many. A few will all but certainly leave. I don't want to speculate on who that will be. I'd be mildly surprised if Taylor Powell leaves. He's the youngest as a redshirt freshman and has already passed the others on the depth chart. There's no reason he can't maintain the No. 2 job next year and compete for the starting job as a junior in 2020.
  • Next years football opponents look easier than this years.
    What do you attribute the Sophie Cunningham foul troubles to? Seems sort of weird for a senior.
    I haven't seen the Tigers play in person, so I can't say. She's not always playing her natural position on the wing. Because of the team's lack of post players, she's having to guard bigger players sometimes. That could be a factor.
    Lot of big news lately. Lost in the shuffle was the OL who signed from GA. Any more details on him and do you think any of the bigger db's will switch to weak side lb after bulking up a bit?
    Luke Griffin is a three-star OL from Georgia. Listed at 6-5, 310, so at that frame he could play guard or tackle. He committed to Georgia right after his freshman year of HS, but he suffered two torn ACLs, one in each leg, and over time contact with UGA broke down, according to some reports. He still holds plenty of Power 5 offers, so this appears to be a decent pickup for Mizzou, though he comes with the obvious injury history. 
     
    I'm not sure if there's any obvious DBs to switch to OLB. I'd expect Perkins to stay at linebacker. At this point, Mizzou has more depth at linebacker than safety. Garrett will start, maybe with Bolton as the other inside linebacker. Other options include Brooks, Miller, Nathan, Bailey, Trump, Wilkins. 
    At safety, put down Gillespie as a starter with the other job down to Bledsoe and Oliver. Ulmer is the only other scholarship option there - though Jalani Williams could come in and see action as a freshman. 
    WBB questions – do you know if Brittany Garner’s injury will prevent her from playing this year? Any info on why Akira Levy has gone from a starter to playing only a couple of minutes? I would guess turnovers may have something to do with it or perhaps a minor injury?
    I haven't been around the women's program much lately. Most of their games have been out of town and when they've been at MU, Anne Rogers has covered games/press conferences.
    What is the status of Alex Ofodile. He transferred from Oregon and wasn't seen much this year. Hurt or just not as good as the younger receivers? How many games did he play in?
    Ofodile played in 10 games but doesn't have a catch. He didn't make much headway in camp, but I wouldn't write him off. He'll have a chance to earn more of a role at outside receiver next year.
    Hey Dave, love all the things trending for Mizzou right now on the football side of things but moving forward I am really interested in seeing how Mizzou plays in this bowl game. Biggest reason being that Odom has improved in many areas as a coach but has really struggled when he has more time to prepare for whatever reason. 0-3 in games after a bye, slow starts to seasons and last years bowl game was ugly. Any idea why the struggles and how important do you think the bowl game is in this regard? Thanks
    Sometimes those things are just coincidental. I'm not sure there's any common thread. For one, sometimes it's just a matter of playing a better team after a bye. Here are the teams Mizzou has played after a week or more under Odom: at Florida in 2016, at Kentucky in 2017 (close game), vs. Texas in Texas Bowl, at South Carolina this year, a close game in bad conditions. So, it's a small sample size and every case is away from home. I wouldn't draw any major conclusions, especially considering two of the four were one-possession games. 
    Bowl games are as important as you make them. That was always Pinkel's approach, and it was a smart one. If you win the bowl, you sell that to your fans and recruits. If you lose the bowl, you act like it never happened and focus on the fact you were good enough during the regular season to make a bowl. 
    But for this team and this program, a ninth win would be important. For preseason voters, it's a lot easier to buy into a 9-win team with lots of pieces coming back. A ninth win validates the job Odom did recovering from the Kentucky game and the contract he just landed. 
    Dave, do you think Dooley will try and incorporate more offensive sets with multiple running backs? So much talent there and KB of course brings an added dimension as well to the running game. Plus Badie has the skill set to be a good pass catcher out of the back field and seeing him on the field at the same time as Crockett or Roundtree seems scary to me.
  • I doubt it. More backs in the backfield just crowds more bodies into the tackle box. That's one thing if they're in there to block, but Bryant comes from a spread offense. You create running lanes by spreading out the defense - and you don't spread out the defense with multiple backs in the backfield. You just don't see that in today's game. If anything you keep an H-back or a tight end in the box to help block.
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