Mizzou chat with Dave Matter

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

    Greetings, Mizzou fans. Glad to be with you for another Thursday chat. I'll be here for the next two hours then it's off to St. Louis for tonight's Sports On Tap event at the MAC. I expect to see you all there in person hoisting a few Schlafy's as we talk all things St. Louis sports.
    A while back, Sterk mentioned that the department was going through a master plan process for facilities. Do you have any insight into where that process stands and whether or not the final plan will be revealed publicly?
    They have talked about a new indoor football facility to replace the Devine Pavilion, but I'm not sure how far those plans have gotten off the ground. They want to finish putting down turf on the Simmons Field outfield. From there, I imagine they'd have to raise some serious funds for a new indoor football facility.
    Dave- I absolutely love your commentary and reporting. Every now and then I hear a rumor that Mizzou & Illinois will play one football game at each campus, and one game at Busch and Wrigley. Is this just a fun rumor that is passed around, or is there anything you can comment or report on regarding this fun rivalry? Thanks!
    I've reported in the past that Illinois was interested in a game at Wrigley but that wasn't something that Mizzou favored. The teams are scheduled to play four games from 2026-29 on their respective campuses, but the schools have had discussions with St. Louis about playing some of the games there, possibly at Busch Stadium. Those games are far off enough that the schools and the city and the Cardinals have plenty of time to hammer out a deal. 

    Mizzou, Illinois revive football series for 2026-29

    stltoday.com: Tigers, Fighting Illini agree to four-year series with games to be played on their respective campuses.
    There are vague NBA draft reports about MPJ's "personality" in draft reports. I understand not to take these too seriously and it has been discussed on here that his return rubbed some others the wrong way/caused tension with players that played all season. But is there anything else to the "personality" reports? Does he come across as a me first guy instead of team first or seem self adsorbed? Him returning to the team when he didn't have to would seem to refute that, but I also don't know the kid at all. Again, I realize the NBA draft reports read online are not worth thinking too much into
    I would like to be able to know, but I just haven't been around him enough to have a great feel for his character and personality. I spent some time with him when he was in high school and then have interviewed him in a group setting probably no more than six times since he came to Mizzou. I'm not going to pretend like that's enough to really know him personally. Yes, there was tension within the team last year that was attributed to Michael and his situation. But the injury was a major reason for that. If he's healthy, plays the whole season, averages 20 points a game and is an All-SEC player, are there any instances of character issues? I don't know. His absence from the team during his rehab and then his return late in the year made for an unconventional situation. The chemistry that team developed during the regular season crumbled when he returned. Was that more basketball related or personality related? Hard to say. And I'm sure if you poll 12 people who were closer to the situation you'd get a mix of answers. Big picture, I don't sense any lingering issues even though Jontay and Mike Sr. are still with the program. Jontay is very team-oriented. He's well liked by his teammates. His game is all about making others around him better.
    Hi Dave. Who gets more yards this year Crockett or Rountree? Who is an off the radar receiver you think may break out? Thx
  • Great question on the running backs. I think if the season started right now Rountree is the starter  but both will play a lot. I'm not sure either would get 20-plus carries in a game as long as both are healthy. Either way, it's a great situation to have - two starter-caliber running backs in what's a brutal, physical league. Those guys will take a  beating, and it's always better to have multiple players at the position. 
    As for an off-the-radar receiver, we haven't seen the newcomers practice yet, so it's pure speculation to guess which one will contribute. Lock spoke very highly of Alex Ofodile yesterday. He'll have a chance to push for a starting job on the outside opposite Emanuel Hall. I know the staff really likes Jalen Knox as a weapon in the slot, but he's not starting over Johnathan Johnson. I was impressed with Dominic Gicinto during spring practices. The new NCAA rule that will allow freshmen to play up to four games and still  be allowed to redshirt could really benefit Mizzou with these young receivers. They can take a look at these guys in some of the early games to see if they're ready to play on Saturdays. 
  • MPJ reportedly cancelled his pre-draft workout due to hip issues. Did he make a mistake going pro this year?
  • Just because he canceled doesn't mean his stock has slipped. The same story reporting the cancelled workout also reported that multiple teams high in the top 10 still have him high on their board. This could be a case of Porter's camp getting a good feel that he'll be a top-five pick and he doesn't need the pro day.
  • As evidenced by this year's NCAA tournament, the SEC is a very strong baseball conference. How does the future look for MU baseball?
  • I believe there's no sport that's more challenging for Missouri in the SEC than baseball. It's the second-most popular sport at some SEC schools. Obviously that's not the case at Mizzou. It never has been. I think Steve Bieser has done a commendable job in two years. Heck, I thought Tim Jamieson ran a solid program, a sometimes very strong program - in the Big 12. But Missouri will always have disadvantages when it comes to competing in the SEC. The scholarship challenge is a biggie. Baseball teams have only 11.7 scholarships to split up among the entire team. For most if not all of the other 12 public schools in the SEC, it's easier to grant academic scholarship money to cover tuition costs for baseball recruits. That money is harder to secure at Mizzou - not to mention considering how expensive Mizzou is to attend these days. Estimated cost of attendance per year is $28K for in-state students and $44K for out-of-state students.
    Then throw in the other factors - facilities, resources, fan support, weather - and the closer you look at Mizzou and the other teams in the SEC, it's a wonder this program can make the 12-team SEC tournament field. Finishing in the middle of the pack in the SEC and/or making an NCAA regional is increasingly difficult at Mizzou. MU has come close to the NCAAs each of the last two years under Bieser. Could anyone else in his shoes do better the last two years? I'm not sure about that, but I do know people close to the program believe he's the right guy to break the trend. 
  • For the record I really enjoy the NBA. I'm curious to see where Porter lands, but I suspect Mizzou fans have some MPJ Fatigue.
  • Any update on what Gary Link is doing?
    I doubt he is missed at MU as much as he thinks he is.
  • He's doing some teaching here in Columbia. I know Sterk didn't have much of a choice to part ways, but I was sad Gary wasn't around this past season. He would have enjoyed being part of Cuonzo's first year.
  • How would you power rank Mizzou football teams this decade and where do you think this year's team falls?
  • As in this decade, starting with 2010? 2011? 
    I'll go with ...
    1. 2013. No doubt. Probably the most balanced Pinkel team in terms of great offense and pretty good defense.
    2. 2014. Plodding offense at times but so good on the edges with Ray & Golden 
    3. 2010.  Possibly the most underrated Mizzou season of all-time.
    4. 2011. An 8-win team with three losses by at TD or less.
    5. 2017. Disastrous start, respectable finish
    6. 2012. If Franklin, Britt stay healthy SEC debut ends in a bowl.
    7. 2015. Team unraveled when Mauk's troubles begin.
    8. 2016. Odom's first season 
    I think the ceiling for this 2018 team is No. 3. You can't eclipse No. 2 without getting to Atlanta, and I just don't think MU has the horses to finish ahead of Georgia in the SEC East. I think the floor is No. 6. It's not out of the question MU takes a step back from last season, but it would take a big failure by the new offense. 
  • I think Odom needs minimum 8 win season to show he is right guy for job. Agree?
  • I answer these kinds of questions the same way every year. It depends on context. What if Lock gets hurt and MU wins eight games? Then Odom might be SEC coach of the year. What if those eight wins includes a win at Bama - but a loss at home to Vandy? That kind of season is harder to evaluate.
    Eight wins by any measure would be progress from last year. But would eight wins be enough progress considering ...
    1. Lock, the SEC's most experienced QB, passed on the NFL draft
    2. Beckner, the D-line's best player, passed on the NFL draft
    3. The offense returns all five linemen, two starting WRs, starting TE, starting QB & RB
    4. Odom turned the defense over to Walters and has lots of returning pieces
    An 8-4 regular season finish with a chance to win nine games after a decent bowl game would be a solid season. Maybe not something that earns Odom a raise, but against this schedule, I don't think it's reasonable to be really disappointed. 
  • How much can coaches fix WRs that drop the ball? Hall seemed to drop some passes last year. Moore dropped passes for four years. I understand the QB has something to do with that, but not enough to account for the number of dropped passes the Tigers had.
  • Coaching can help. It's been a major focus under AJ Ofodile. It's not like Andy Hill was teaching the wideouts to drop balls. He's the same coach who worked with Chase Coffman, Maclin, Tommy Saunders, etc. Those guys were exceptional with the ball in their hands. At some point, it comes down to the player securing the ball. It shouldn't surprise anyone if Moore struggles with drops in the NFL. That doesn't mean players can't improve with different coaching and a stronger focus on catching the ball. 
    Here's what Ofodile said in the spring about working on avoiding drops:
    "It's about identifying the why. One thing young athletes do is question their ability. That’s the worst thing they can do. Typically it’s going to come down to your eyes and hand placement. From day one, it’s something we tried to establish as a room, developing our eyes. Making that a huge part of what we do. ... What happens is when you drop a ball is identifying the why. Nine times out of 10 it’s going to be you didn’t look it all the way into the tuck. Instead of 'Golly, I can’t catch today,' you need to focus on the next part."
  • What kind of workouts do the FB and BB teams do during the summer? Are they just working out in the weight rooms with a non coach athletic dept supervision? Do players play unsupervised scrimmages?
  • I wrote this yesterday about the football team's workouts: NCAA rules allow coaches to work directly with players for eight hours a week during the summer. Odom tweaked the schedule this summer: Players spend six to six and a half of those hours each week with strength coach Rohrk Cutchlow. They lift weights and run, focused on strength, speed, agility and conditioning.
    That leaves at least another 90 minutes a week for the players to work directly with the coaching staff. They spend that time in meetings in a classroom setting or on the practice field. There’s one main rule: No helmets, no balls. Players are prohibited from wearing pads until preseason camp begins late in the summer. During June and July, once a ball comes into play, the coaches can’t be present. That means any passing drills or 7-on-7 sessions must be led by the players. Coaches cannot attend those workouts. They get reports from the players.
    Basketball teams are allowed eight hours per week for organized workouts with the coaches, which they split up per day during the week. Players can then play pickup games, but coaches technically aren't allowed to watch. 
  • Hello Dave. I just saw the released surveillance video of the guy who drove into Mizzou arena last year. It listed the $100K in damages but nothing listed for the basketball arena court. I thought he had driven onto the floor and did doughnuts? Did I mis-remember or did other media mis-report?
  • From what I was told last summer, MU was able to buff the streaks that were left on the court and there wasn't any real damage on the floor. The damage was limited to the press gate, the garage door and the golf carts he crashed into.
  • Loved the story on the offensive line today! In your opinion, will this offensive line be better than last years was?
  • It's the same five guys - though Tyler Howell started at left tackle before Yasir Durant won the job midway through the season. Unless those players have worse seasons individually, I would expect the line to improve this year. Maybe they benefit from playing at a slower pace, but they won't have the tempo advantage this year. They'll have to play smarter and more physical. I've heard nothing but good things about new OL coach Brad Davis. They've really bought into his style and his teaching. A lot hinges on this group's development.
  • I saw that Odom was meeting with STL coaches yesterday. Has he been getting positive reviews in the area? What are the chances Mizzou gets some of the high profile STL recruits this year? Thanks!
  • Yes, Barry met with STL coaches Tuesday night. I asked him if he wanted to elaborate about it on the record yesterday and he declined but he said it was a very positive meeting. There have been multiple meetings in recent weeks. You can also find coaches in the area, including African-American coaches, who were impressed with Odom and his staff and their efforts before these meetings and don't necessarily believe these come-to-Jesus summits are necessary. So, from what I've gathered, there are some mixed opinions on whether these kind of meetings are all that vital in the area. But there doesn't seem to be any harm in Barry reaching out and building relationships with these coaches. Will it pay off with more recruits coming to Mizzou? Well, MU has signed zero STL kids the last two years, so they can't sign fewer than zero. This is positive. I'm not sure where things ever went south in STL. Gary Pinkel worked hard in the early 2000s to develop relationships in the area.
  • Have you gotten any sense of how the players, Odom and the other coaches are buying into Derek Dooleys new offensive scheme and whether they think he can do an adequate job? I'm hopeful he can prove skeptics wrong, I like his personality but feel like he was considered an out of left field hire. Thoughts please?
  • Unconventional hire indeed, but unconventional sometimes works. The players aren't going to say anything negative publicly, but they seem genuinely happy with the changes, Lock especially. I think Dooley's personality has been a welcome change. Josh Heupel was so intense that it seems like players appreciate Dooley's approach after the last two years. Here's what Larry Rountree said yesterday: "He’s a more personal guy when it comes to football. He’s not just football. He’s outside football more, too. I like Dooley. I like his energy." 
    Once the real season begins, as long as MU is scoring points, the defense might appreciate Dooley's style as much as the defense. No defense has been on the field for more minutes the last two years. A slower pace can only help that side of the ball.
  • We are all excited about the new end zone going up. I believe it will help with recruiting and also from a cosmetic standpoint. Where though will it stand against other SEC schools as far as stadiums and wow factor in comparison to other sec schools. I'm not complaining, regardless if we are still toward the bottom in facilities I still think it is a huge improvement and was much needed.
  • Some of the stadiums in the SEC are some of the game's great cathedrals in terms of size and wow factor. Bama, LSU, Texas A&M. Mizzou will never have a home facility that stacks up against those places. Kentucky has a very nice revamped stadium. Georgia is one of the great places to watch a game. Tennessee is fantastic when it's full. Same for South Carolina. Nothing special about Ole Miss, Arkansas and Vandy. Mizzou's stadium has potential to have a great look and create a great atmosphere when the place is full and alive, but it's hard to compare a place with 68K with the 100K capacity stadiums elsewhere in the league.
  • What do you know about and expect from KJ Santos?
  • Cuonzo loves his rebounding on both ends of the floor. Whether he's a big 3 or a slightly undersized 4,  he'll be a factor this year. Hard to say how much he'll contribute as a scorer, but he'll be counted on as a defender and rebounder.
  • With Lock slinging the ball in a new offense, will the slower speed benefit his ability to find an open receiver? He did not have to dodge backfield penetration in the previous fast-paced scheme but he locked on one receiver frequently without checking down.
  • He threw 44 TDs with only 13 INTs on 419 attempts - and a lot of drops by his receivers. I'm  not sure I'd count that as locking on too frequently. A lot of that was by design because he had a half-field read and only two options as targets. He'll have a chance to spread the field horizontally more in this offense. I think you'll see the tight ends more involved between the 20s and the outside receivers run a more diverse route tree. Lock loves the changes. If they can protect him he's got a chance to have a better season without putting up the same gaudy stats.
  • Who calls the defensive plays for Mizzou this year? Odom or Walters? If Odom is the play caller doesn't that make him the true defensive coordinator, not Walters? Walters just has the title similar to what Cross had.
  • The coordinator does much more than just call the coverages and blitzes on Saturdays. The coordinator runs staff meetings. The coordinator manages the defensive staff and the defensive GAs and analysts. The coordinator handles game planning. Odom will still have a say in what's happening defensively during the week and on game day, but he's delegated much more to Walters than Cross had on his plate this time last year. It's less common for head coaches to call defensive plays on game day - Rocky Long and Derek Mason might be the only others in the country - but it's fairly common for offensive-minded head coaches.
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