Mizzou chat with Dave Matter

Bring your questions and comments about Tigers football and basketball, and talk to Mizzou beat writer Dave Matter in a live chat starting at Noon on Friday.

  • Good afternoon, folks. Apologies for the day switch, but there's a lot going on these days and we have to adjust the schedule here sometimes. I'll take your Mizzou questions for the next two hours.
  • Dave. As you know, TJ has started a hire Hugh Freeze campaign. Would Sterk pull that trigger? As good of an offensive mind as there is, but........
  • I hope T.J. isn't working for free on this one. He's working that campaign hard. 
    Someone is probably going to hire Freeze to run their offense this year or next. As I said on the podcast this week, no AD will want to be the one that has to answer the question about hiring a guy who five months ago was fired for calling hookers - on a university phone and while under NCAA investigation. Yes, I know the penalties against Freeze were light. I know he's a proven offensive mind. And I'm not saying if it were up to me I would or wouldn't hire him. But I would be surprised if Jim Sterk OKs that move. If he would, Odom and Sterk would have to step down from the moral high ground. They talk a lot about doing everything with integrity and class and doing things the right way. But if you hire Hugh Freeze you can't make those claims. Done. It's just about football and scoring points, not hiring role models or impacting lives 40 years from now. You can't have it both ways. 
  • Dave - I jumped in to your chat a little late. Two questions - if Odom is to hire a defensive coordinator, would he hire within? Based on how he has take the reins to get the defense how he wants it, why would he turn it over to someone from the outside considering defense is his specialty. My second question: is there a benefit of having a quarterback coach and an offensive coordinator instead of a coordinator that does both jobs? By the way, Happy Holidays
  • Your offensive coordinator doesn't have to be your QB coach. The OC can coach the O-line or receivers or running backs. I'd say most OCs also coach the QBs, but it doesn't have to work that way. No matter what Odom does with his staff, he needs to add a QB coach. There's no one on this staff with extensive history coaching QBs at this level. 
    As for the DC position, Odom hinted last year that he wants to continue to call the defense and essentially serve as his own coordinator. Sterk has said he wants Odom to hire a coordinator. He could promote from within and delegate more ... or promote from within and keep things status quo ... or hire someone from the outside and delegate more of the play-calling. Odom meets with reporters after today's practice and he'll surely get asked about his plans going forward. 
  • I've seen speculation for an OC. Are you aware of any coaches that are being discussed for DC. Ryan Walters would seem to be the quickest choice to settle the issue with a minimum of ramp up necessary. Particularly assuming B.O. will continue to run the defense.
  • I haven't heard any credible names yet that are serious contenders for the DC job.
  • Who will be OC at Texas Bowl?
  • Good question. As of today we haven't been given that answer. Odom will meet with reporters today for the first time since Heupel took the UCF job.
  • My comment is, "It's a nice problem to have when you win by nineteen points against a Division I school and your coach is unhappy." I do not have a question and I'll take your response (if there is one) off the air. Have a good weekend!
  • Martin didn't think Missouri came out with a mentality to dominate that game the other night. He didn't think many players were very aggressive on defense or when it came to rebounding or posting up. He was really disappointed with some reckless passing when feeding the post. He's established a high standard and trying to instill a new culture. That was a healthy response to have after that game. We'll see how Missouri comes out Saturday.
  • Dave -- Like most people, I am pleased with the second half of the season, but I am not ready to say this team turned the corner. Memories of those early season games remain in my head -- not just because Missouri lost, but because it just absolutely quit in a game or two. It doesn't need to apologize for who it beat in the second half. Missouri can't help what's going on at other conference schools. But let's face it, that was a horrible stretch of teams by SEC standards. Next year's schedule is definitely tougher. If Lock comes back, where do you see this team projected for next season? And, is he the SEC preseason player of the year and on the preseason Heisman watch lists that some people put together? Thanks. I will hang up and listen.
  • If he comes back, yes, he's a preseason favorite for many awards. If he comes back, my guess is Missouri will be picked second or third in the SEC East behind Georgia and perhaps South Carolina. There should still be legitimate concerns about why the team came out so flat to begin the season, though the offense was consistently good after the Georgia game. Those problems were solved. The defense took a bit of a backward step at Arkansas but otherwise got a lot of issues straightened out in the second half of the year.
  • Dave - I know that Dave Christensen name has been thrown around regarding the offensive coordinator. Actually, I like the idea considering his history with Mizzou. However, he seems to have held several jobs since he left but not sure why. Would he bring value if added to Odom's staff in some capacity?
  • I don't see Dave as being a realistic option. For no other reason other than I can't imagine Odom will climb into the Pinkel family tree to hire anyone. Plus, Dave isn't a quarterbacks coach. He's an O-line coach. And until we hear differently, Odom has a damn good O-line coach in Glen Elarbee.
  • One other thing: I often agree with your colleague BenFred, but I think he's being a little dramatic over the loss of Heupel and the impact on Lock's potential decision to turn pro. Drew strikes me as a pretty smart kid with a good family. To me the decision is pretty clear cut: If they learn he can be a first- or maybe a second-round pick, they'll leave for the NFL, no matter the offensive coordinator. If not, he'll come back. He has to weigh that against potentially being a Heisman candidate. Whatever he does, I wish him the best. He's been a good representative for Mizzou and I don't begrudge anyone leaving for a lot of money. Thoughts?
  • I think it's easy to get caught up in the moment of big breaking news and correlate one decision to another, but I agree, Lock's decision is going to be based on his draft grade and his earning potential as a draft pick, not solely on Heupel's status. Who's to say he won't like the new OC more? He might not want to learn an entirely new system or set of terminology for his senior year, but he's going to have learn new content regardless in the NFL. It might even be to Lock's advantage to be exposed to another system and another play-caller before he dives into the NFL.
  • Dave - it seems like there so many offensive coordinators or coaches that come from the Mike Leech tree. But many of them are young and looking to be a head coach. How do we get someone who keeps the Josh Heupel style of offense but without wanting to leave after two or three years? Or, is that just the way coaches now move around and we have to accept it?
  • I don't think you look to hire someone with the expectation they stay forever. You want someone who wants to advance their career. The only way they get that HC opportunity is to excel as a coordinator, so if he's a good fit for what you want, you gladly make your school his platform to help him advance his career. The Heupel hire turned out to be very good for Odom and Mizzou football. If he had to do it all over again knowing he'd leave in two years, Odom would do it again. You can make a case that without Heupel's offense, Odom is looking for his next job right now. If you can hire the next Josh Heupel, a coordinator who can keep the offense rolling and maybe parlay it into a HC job, you don't worry about losing him in a couple years.
  • Is Missouri going to spend more on these coordinators and lesser coaches to keep up wit the rest of the SEC? Maybe sell off some bitcoins and compete for the coveted coaching hires.
  • I would expect Missouri to keep coordinator salaries in its current ballpark. Odom is the lowest paid coach in the SEC and has the lowest buyout among all public university Power 5 coaches, but MU's overall staff pay has been very competitive on a national scale. According to USA Today's latest database, MU's staff pay ranks No. 21. That's way up from where it was in the early Pinkel years. Pinkel and Alden pushed hard to raise overall staff pay during their time working together, and that's should pay off for Odom now when he's out trying to hire coaches.
  • After watching Kerryon Johnson of AU throw a jump pass from the wildcat I wondered if you believe Crockett or Rountree have the skills to do such in '18. Enjoy your chats!
  • I think my 8-year-olds could make that pass, but it's all about timing and making sure the receiver gets open behind the safety.
  • Dave. Quick Pro/Con list to Freeze being named OC? Ultimately do you think it would be a good hire compared to other candidates?
  • Pure football Xs and Os, it would be a great hire for obvious reasons. But these decisions are never made in a football-only vacuum. Real life isn't fantasy football. If you hire Hugh Freeze - and I have no credible information saying this will happen at Mizzou - you have to absolutely own it and Freeze must be transparent about his fall from grace. National media will descend on Columbia and cover that story like crazy. (Odom would rather have a week of root canals than subject his program to that kind of attention/sideshow.) Here's another risk you run when you hire a coordinator who's a significantly more well known (and successful) than your head coach: If Mizzou's offense takes off next fall but the defense struggles and the Tigers lose some early games, you can bet the same Twitter mob that wanted Odom fired in September will want Freeze to replace Odom as HC.
  • Dave, Have you gotten the impression that the staff, including the now departed Heupel, believe that at Wilson (or perhaps Lowary or Powell) could be an effective QB (starter) as soon as next season?
  • I haven't gotten any indication one way or another on that. It just hasn't really come up as a topic that's been discussed yet.
  • Disappointed to see MU in the Texas bowl instead of the Liberty Bowl. Makes following the Tigers much harder. It makes more sense for Tx to play TXAM. That would have sold the stadium out already. Maybe A&M didn’t want to play TX for the same reason as they left the Big 12 in 2014. Does the SEC assign bowl eligible teams to bowl and it is take it or leave it? The good things are MU recruits TX and being in the bowl in Houston familiarizes possible recruits with MU and secondly the MU defense is definitely happy they won’t be chasing the Memphis offense all day. Still disappointed St. Louis fans can’t drive to game.
  • As I reported multiple times last week, the Liberty Bowl was off the table as an SEC option once the SEC didn't have enough teams eligible. When three SEC teams made New Year's Day playoff rotation bowls (Georgia, Alabama, Auburn), that left only six SEC teams for the next seven bowls - and there's protocol within the selection process that eliminates the Liberty from the pool. That's why Iowa State is playing Memphis in the Liberty Bowl, not an SEC team. The Texas Bowl matchup against Texas is about the best possible outcome in terms of opponent quality and location.
  • Hi Dave. I appreciate your coverage of potential OC candidates. My question is one of timing, mainly should we expect a hiring early next week?
  • We'll see what Odom has to say tonight. I don't have a great sense of the timeline. Sometimes the right answer is you hire a guy when your guy can say yes.
  • Ok Dave, was there a fift between CJ Roberts and Martin? I know he was redshirted but could he have played this year? Was he RS because Martin didn't think he would have fit in? Did Martin say that he wasn't in future plans and he should Xfer?
  • I don't think there was a rift by any means. His father told me last night this was only about playing time, nothing personal about the school, program or coaches. Martin's staff didn't envision Roberts as part of the backcourt this season. Martin favors bigger, physical guards to run the point, and Roberts is smaller and more of a combo guard. He never seemed like a great fit, but they were willing to keep him in the program to see how he'd fit in. I don't sense any hard feelings from either side. It frees up a scholarship for the staff and C.J. can find a program where he'll have more of a role.
  • would you expect Mizzou to purchase an insurance policy on Drew Lock on his behalf as an inducement to stay and, if so, in what $ range would you expect?
  • Athletes purchase those insurance policies through the NCAA. Football prospects can be insured up to $10 million. It's all based on how athletes are projected in their respective pro drafts.
  • Dave - Even if Lock leaves for the NFL like to many are predicting, the new OC still will have the majority of the offense coming back. Is Micah Wilson ready to step in.? We have to remember, Lock was thrown into action his freshman year without any real preparation. At least the next quarterback has an offense around him.
  • True, but I don't think anyone has seen enough of Micah Wilson or Jack Lowary or Taylor Powell to be able to fully answer that question. It's more of a prediction, and right  now, the body of work/sample size that we've seen is just too small to have a good feel for the answer. This much we know: Mizzou will have a strong O-line next year and two proven SEC running backs, an All-American talent at tight end (plus a really good backup) and some proven SEC receivers. There's a lot to like about that supporting cast.
  • Gun to your head, do you think MPJ plays this year? Based on what you've seen do you think this team will have played well enough to warrant a decision for MPJ?
  • Why do people putting guns to my head to answer sports questions?
    I think there's a chance he plays this year, but I'm not convinced the decision is up to him. And just because he's cleared physically to play, whether on Feb. 1 or March 1, that doesn't guarantee he'll play. Played well enough to warrant a decision? I'm not sure I understand the question. 
  • Wouldn't Tommy Thigpen be the perfect coach to be Mizzou's next DC?
  • If you're looking for a linebackers coach with SEC experience, he checks some boxes. Coordinator? I don't know about that.
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