I'm not sure I'd agree with that. He's a huge priority for Mizzou's staff. If they lose him to Ohio State, there's no shame in that. But I don't think it's a foregone conclusion.
I'd say four. They should be able to beat Missouri State, Purdue and Idaho. UConn is no gimme on the road. If the defense can't stop anybody, Missouri is no match for Auburn, Georgia or Arkansas. It's hard to win a road game in the SEC without a defense. Kentucky and Vandy both have experienced QBs who have already beaten Missouri once before in their careers. Florida and Tennessee won't be easy to beat with a bad defense, even at home.
In a word, yes. It can work. It worked for Mizzou in 2013. It's worked to varying degrees for other up-tempo teams in the SEC. Texas A&M has had decent seasons - not championship seasons, but winning seasons - with that kind of pace. Same for Auburn and Ole Miss. Also, keep in mind, not every SEC teams plays great defense. Yeah, that's the league's reputation, but just last year you saw some crummy defenses in this league. Tennessee, Mississippi State, A&M, Ole Miss. I think it's possible to play up-tempo as long as you're scoring points. It doesn't work if you're going three-and-out in 30 seconds. To some degree the offense and defense have to work together to manage the pace of the game, but ultimately it's up to the defense to make stops. You didn't hear Clemson's defense complain the last two years about its offensive pace.
Odom has praised Beisel, Marcell Frazier and Terry Beckner as the leaders of the defense. I think AJ Logan and Logan Cheadle are guys who have earned respect. I think you start with those guys.
I hesitate to use the word "damaged." Missouri missed out on Jeff Thomas, who never showed the staff great interest in playing at MU. They lost a commitment from Rey Estes, but nobody on the staff was too upset about that development. If he was intent on staying at quarterback, the staff didn't believe he'd ever beat out the young QBs they had on the roster. The Greg Taylor situation wasn't ideal, but I think his decision to leave the team - and he hasn't resurfaced anywhere else to my knowledge - reflects more on Greg Taylor than it does on the staff's relationship with East St. Louis. There are still four players on the roster from ESL, and you don't hear them complaining. That said, can Martin help the relationships at ESL? Perhaps, but he won't be there recruiting for football. That's on Odom and his staff to foster a rapport with the coaches and players there.
He missed most of the spring after moving to defensive end. We haven't had any player access since the spring, so there's not much I can report on summer workouts. I'll have more updates next week at SEC media days.
On the same page in terms of what exactly? I sense there's more staff cohesion this time around, especially on the defensive staff. The coaches seem to genuinely respect and appreciate what Brick Haley has brought to the program. Offensively, I think there's good chemistry under Heupel. He's essentially the head coach of the offense. Odom is fairly hands-off with that side of the ball.
Devine and Faurot and Pinkel are difficult to measure and separate because of so many factors. Faurot coached longer but had more losing seasons. He also made Mizzou football relevant nationally for the first time and was an offensive innovator that changed the entire game. Devine coached two of the best teams in MU history (1960, 1969). Pinkel coached at least two of the best (2007, 2013). Devine's teams played more grueling nonconference schedules, but the SEC is more challenging top to bottom than the Big Eight was in the 1960s. Pinkel also guided the program through realignment and proved he can win at a national level in two leagues. He was a win away from playing for the national title in two separate seasons, in two separate leagues. I give Devine the slight edge based on the quality of teams in his smaller body of work. But Faurot gets his own place in MU history because of his contributions as an athletic director. Without Faurot, there is no Mizzou football - or Mizzou athletics.
I'm on every Monday, usually around 11 am or later.
I'd go with C. An NCAA tourney run with MPJ would be great for the program, but it doesn't guarantee future success. In today's game, coaches have to rebuild their rosters every offseason. You don't really build a program like you do in football; you build a roster year after year.
I wrote the book, along with Gary. It will be on sale in late August/early September. Gary and I will have book signings all around the state during the fall. Those dates will be announced later this summer. I'm not going to use this forum to sell the book. But you can pre-order at Amazon. Gary Pinkel: The 100-Yard Journey.
Because Vegas odds have nothing to do with rankings. People are excited about Mizzou right now. Vegas preys on that kind of hope and excitement. The realists who vote in preseason polls aren't bookies. Writers and coaches undoubtedly have a more reasoned, skeptical approach to preseason projections.
I'm not sure Phil meant he's the worst, but if you're ranking the coaches in the SEC from 1-14 based on their achievements, who would you rank lower? Derek Mason and Mark Stoops have taken their teams to bowls. Kirby Smart wasn't overly impressive in his debut season, but he won eight games and beat Mizzou in Columbia. All of the West coaches have achieved more than Odom at this point in their career.
Nobody knows unitl it happens - and maybe won't know until a couple recruiting cycles. On one hand, Mizzou might have fewer commitments poached by blue blood programs like they have in the past. But Mizzou might also have fewer chances to poach other team's commitments like they have in the past. It's going to be really interesting to see how things fall in December. Will teams pressure players to commit early? Will teams pressure players to NOT commit early and delay their decision until February? My guess is Mizzou will still end up with the caliber of class it typically signs, ranked between 30-50 nationally and in the bottom to middle tier of the SEC.
I would advise to stop giving credence to every opinion on the Internet. Who's giving A&M credit for anything? The Aggies make more money and build fancier buildings and can attrach higher-profile coaches because it has a bigger and more committed fan base, but what has A&M really achieved on the field in the SEC? Most writers who cover the SEC would agree that Kevin Sumlin sits on the hottest seat in the league because he's underachieved at A&M. If anything, A&M's resources raise the expectation level for what that program should achieve. And that's why after three straight 8-5 seasons Sumlin is coaching for his job.
It might backfire, but if an undefeated or one-loss team loses in the championship game. I like the idea of every conference playing by the same rules to reach the playoff, but I can understand why a coach in the Big 12 would be skittish about adding a championship game. What happens when Oklahoma and Oklahoma State have the best records in the league, play each other the last week of the regular season and then meet again in the championship game. The team that won the regular-season meeting will say it's already proven itself as the league champion.
Bowen Loftin was recently quoted as saying Bill Self killed an MU-KU football game set for Arrowhead that campus leaders at both schools were working on finalizing. I'm not sure I buy that. Nobody at Mizzou, from Mike Alden to Mack Rhoades to Gary Pinkel - who I've spent more time with the last seven months than my family - has ever mentioned, EVER, that MU and KU had an agreement in place. And the chancellor doesn't negotiate those kind of deals. Self dismissed Loftin's claim. I believe Self in this case. That said, Self doesn't want to play Mizzou in basketball. And his AD won't dare schedule a football game against Mizzou when the more powerful hoops coach is against reviving the series. I'd like to put this debate to bed. Kansas doesn't want to play. Mizzou has not initiated any talks under its current leadership. Move on.
Frazier would have been a candidate to represent Mizzou in Hoover next week but not after his tweets saying he'd boycott the media. His loss, not mine, in my opinion. I'll be happy to get thoughts from Lock, Moore and Beisel in Hoover. All three are thoughtful, interesting guys who have always been generous with the local media. I'm glad Mizzou is taking Moore. He's a great interview. I don't understand Frazier's media boycott, but I won't lose any sleep over it. He's got plenty of teammates who will share their thoughts and insights on the team and the season. I covered an SEC player of the year who didn't speak to the media throughout his All-American season. I think my coverage will survive without Frazier quotes. If he changes his mind, great. He's a thoughtful guy who's been great with local reporters since he came to Columbia.