Mizzou chat with Dave Matter

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




  • Greetings from Columbia East, where I have a late flight out of town after covering last night's hoops game. Say a prayer that Winter Storm Grayson Allen or whatever we're calling him doesn't throw off my flights home this afternoon. Meanwhile, I'm here for the next 90 minutes or so to chat all things Mizzou.
  • Dave - If you were to objectively stack-rank the SEC football coaches, where would you place Coach Odom?
  • Good question. Obviously you put King Saban at the top. Jeremy Pruitt and Joe Morehead haven't proven anything as head coaches at this level, so I'm leaving them out of the rankings.
    After Saban, Kirby Smart sure looks like he's got this coaching thing figured out. Jimbo Fisher has a national championship ring. He's going to raise the standard at A&M. Dan Mullen is a proven winner and will win at Florida. That's the top tier. Gus Malzhan runs hot and cold with Auburn fans but he's a winner. 
    From there, you look at Chad Morris, who quietly had a good run at SMU. Will Muschamp was a bust at Florida but he's gotten to 9 wins at South Carolina faster than most imagined. I'm just not sold on Ed Orgeron as a guy who will lead LSU to championships. Mark Stoops has built a Kentucky program that's good enough to reach a bowl and be competitive against most teams in the SEC - but far from scaling the hump.I'll put Odom in that next tier with Derek Mason and Matt Luke, who did a solid job getting to six wins in a bad situation at Ole Miss this year. 
     
     
  • Thanks for chats. Wish Barry Odom well but thought we need a qb in recruiting and thought we looked poorly coached in bowl game. you say
  • There's another signing date for Missouri to sign a quarterback, and realistically they weren't going to sign one in December without a coordinator or QB coach. I would think once the staff hire is made they'll focus on adding a QB by February.
  • If Cunningham misses any games with the sprained knee, who mostly comes off the bench to replace her in the starting five?
  • Jordan Chavis should get more looks in the backcourt. Amber Smith might see more scoring chances. No one will replace Sophie's all-around game, her toughness and top-end scoring ability, but Pingeton will have to get more out of Porter and Jordan Frericks. Mizzou isn't just blowing smoke with the "day to day" outlook for Sophie. They're evaluating her on a daily basis to see if she'll be available. No word if she'll play tonight.
  • Opposition can play Tigers tight out front due to forwards inabiity to beat man off dribble is why Tigers have problems when opponents pressure guards
  • Missouri handled the pressure pretty well last night. Martin made adjustments on on where players are catching the ball to bring it up the court and who has the ball in what situations. I'm not saying all problems are fixed, but the issues they had against SFA and Illinois weren't there last night against another good defensive team.
  • Dave, a couple of questions for your crystal ball:
    Does MP,J play for the Tigers not later than the end of first week in Feb?
    Does Odom have is staff completed by mid January?
  • Odom's staff, as far as the 10 position coaches, will be set before Jan. 15, maybe before Jan. 10. That doesn't mean someone could leave after that. There's going to be a lot of staff shuffling all around college football with the addition of the 10th assistant coach. MU could reshuffle the grad assistants & analysts, too. As for Porter, I'm done making guesses on his return. I'll ask all the relevant questions of Martin and Porter when he's available and report as many details as I can. But at this point, predictions are useless.
  • Hey Dave...anything new on the OC search? A few names to keep an eye on besides Fisch? Timetable to get a hire done?
  • Dan Werner was in Columbia visiting recently. He was Hugh Freeze's OC at Ole Miss through 2016. He's an analyst at Alabama now, which means he's a little busy through Monday. I touched base with Todd Monken last week and he confirmed he talked with Odom about the job but said he will stay with the Buccaneers in 2017. Gabe DeArmond has mentioned Kevin Wilson (Ohio State OC) as a possibility. His time at Indiana didn't end well, but he's another former Oklahoma assistant who has ties to several MU staffers.
  • Do you think Lock is still realistically considering leaving early? Saw your piece on all the Tigers have coming back in 2018. What group is most at risk in terms of depth? would it be running back if either Crocket or Roundtree got hurt or somewhere else? Thanks.
  • The 1-2 punch at running back will be as good as there is in the SEC outside of Georgia and Bama, but depth will be a concern behind them. I'm not as high on Mizzou's returning WRs as some are. J'Mon Moore is a huge loss. Emanuel Hall is a lethal deep threat - when healthy - but he's far from a complete receiver. He'll have to develop the ability to run other short and intermediate routes to become a true No. 1 option on the outside. Johnathon Johnson is a dynamic slot receiver, but he still has to clean up his hands and routes. Who's the other No. 1 outside receiver? Nate Brown? Richaud Floyd? One of the newcomers? 
    As for Lock, he clearly wants to know who will be coaching him next fall. It would make zero sense for him to commit to next season without knowing who will be calling plays. I'd be surprised if he enters the draft - especially now that Rosen, Darnold and Allen are all coming out - but nothing shocks me on this beat anymore. 
  • How much of a surprise was it in your view that Texas at far less than full roster strength outplayed MU in the bowl game?
  • It shouldn't be shocking. Mizzou relapsed, made the kind of careless mistakes they made throughout September. I think MU thought the game would be easier. I also thought some MU players made a mistake the day before the game at the team luncheon when they did the Horns down gesture in front of the Texas players. You just don't do that. I'm not sure Baker Mayfield would have done that in that setting. Mizzou poked the bear. Most wondered if the Horns had any motivation for that game. Tom Herman might have wondered as much, but few MU players did Herman a huge favor that day.
  • Do you get a sense if everything with the MPJ situation and the constant "will he won't he" (specifically, from MPJ on social media) is causing any sort of friction between Michael Porter Sr. and Cuonzo Martin? I have to believe there's some awkwardness when MPS has to look out for his son while still being a (highly) paid member of the coaching staff.
  • I've said this a few times, and it reflects what I've heard from people in the administration: It's a complicated situation. Many layers here. When dad is on the staff, when younger brother is on the roster ... it's complex, to say the least. Martin isn't a coach who likes drama during the season. (I'm not sure any coach does.) As he said after last night's game, his focus is on his team. He doesn't dwell on Michael's status - because until he's cleared to play and wants to play he's a non-factor for this team this season. I think Mizzou has the right head coach in place to handle this situation. I know he's been frustrated by some things that have unfolded. When Michael came out before games and created a frenzy by shooting a few balls during warmups, Martin wanted to make it clear that he's not practicing with the team. And after Michael did the ESPN interview in the middle of the Braggin' Rights Game, Martin gave the green light for Michael to talk to local reporters on Tuesday to clear the air on some on the situation. This probably doesn't resonate with 95 percent of the people reading this, but as a beat writer I appreciate how the head coach has handled this from my perspective.
  • Tillmon seems athletic. Why does he struggle so bad with fouls? Can the coaches teach him a few more basic post moves than shoving his way in?
  • For one, he's a lot stronger than people realize. It doesn't take much contact from him to put an opponent on his butt. More than anything, he's just really raw on the defensive end and is still learning how to harness his aggression. The same goes for setting screens on the offensive end. He doesn't need to destroy the defender every time he makes contact. Are all the fouls legit? No, definitely not. But you lose the benefit of the doubt when opponents are sent sprawling to the floor every time they make contact. Also, coaches aren't dumb. They see what's happening in games. You can bet Chris Silva went into last night's game wanting to draw immediate contact from Tilmon. Silva draws more fouls per game than any player in the country. Savvy move from the big man last night - and mission accomplished.
  • continue... do you see Coach Martin going to 3 guards to (Geist,Harris Robertson), as teams attempt topressure Tigers out front.
  • That's what he did last night. Not a completely new development, but it seemed by design in that situation. At times it was Geist, Harris and Robertson. Other times it was Phillips, Geist and Robertson.
  • OK, the bball team has won in CoSC - how excited should we get at this point?
  • Well, I'm not saying you need to book flights to San Antonio for the Final Four, but this team will be competitive with most, if not all teams in the SEC. There are going to be nights where the bigs get in foul trouble and the 3s aren't falling. You're going to see some stretches like Mizzou showed against Illinois. The point guard/turnover issues aren't going to go away completely. But as long as this team defends consistently and rebounds well, Martin should have them in every game. The league is really deep. Alabama just beat A&M - the team I picked to win the SEC in my adjusted predictions - and then Vandy beat Bama. LSU nearly toppled Kentucky last night. Every week is going to be an adventure in this conference.
  • Dave, enjoy the chats and your coverage of MIZZOU. If you had to guess how good could the BB team be, 20-21-22-23-24 or more wins, a NCAA invite?
  • If they're .500 in league play they'll be a bubble team at worst. A 9-9 league record would put them at 19-12 heading into the SEC tourney in St. Louis. Getting a road win last night was huge. Going into the season - with or without MPJ - I had last night's game as a loss. Get a few more road wins and don't slip up more than twice at home and this team should be in the big bracket. Put it this way: No one in the SEC is going to look forward to playing Martin's team as long as they're hitting shots like last night and playing defense like they did for most of last night.
  • Hi Dave - The Texas Bowl was Missouri at its most incompetent. Everything that went wrong during the first part of the season reappeared with a half-way decent opponent (albeit without many of their best players) How can this not be seen as an indictment of Coach Odom's ability to do his job? I love the guy as a person but the results he's produced have been terrible.
  • Can't argue with that. I thought he'd have this team ready. He thought he'd have this team ready. Field position was a disaster, and that's hard to blame on anyone for Missouri. It's not like the punt return team could have done anything differently to keep Texas from dropping punts inside the 5. And it's not like Texas' other 10 guys on the punt team did anything special. That was the equivalent of a pitcher throwing a no-hitter with nothing but strikeouts. Was play-calling brilliant? It never is when you only score two TDs, but it's not like Finley called for four turnovers. He didn't have many great options backed up inside the 10-yard line - especially when Texas is blitzing while dropping two safeties into coverage. Missouri's offense lost that game at the point of attack. If the Tigers could have fun the ball against those three-man fronts, it would have been a different story.
  • I don't enjoy complaining about referees but I thought some of the foul calls on Tilmon and particularly the last two on Jontay were awful. Do you agree or am I wearing Mizzou colored glasses?
  • It wasn't the greatest night for the officials, but at the end of the day, the fouls were close (26 for MU, 22 for USC) and the free throw attempts were nearly even (24 for MU, 26 for USC). Mizzou's not going to draw as many fouls when they're mostly taking jump shots. USC attacked inside more, hence more fouls called in the paint. I was there. Trust me, South Carolina fans thought the fouls on their players were terrible, too.
  • About a month ago you said MU had scholarship offers out to 10 players at Trinity HS. I looked at a list of early signees and found only 2 from the state of Missouri (both from the KC area) had committed to MU. Did MU completely strike out in the St Louis area.? Was the 1-5 first half of the season completely turn off area recruits? I know MU recruits Texas heavily so it was doubly disappointing the egg the Tigers laid in Houston vs TX. It looks to me recruiting is off to a slow start. Maybe they are waiting for the February signing date, but it looks bleak so far.
  • I said Mizzou offered 10 Trinity players? I don't recall ever saying that. Rivals.com only lists six Trinity players with offers from any schools. 
    Mizzou re-signed two juco players from St. Louis, but yes, otherwise hasn't signed any high school recruits from the area. MU still has a great shot at Parkway North four-star lineman Michael Thompson. I'd be surprised if he doesn't pick Mizzou in a month. Mizzou's got a chance to have one of its higher rated classes in a while, despite the shutout in STL. It's not a good look to be turned down by so many players in the market, but like you stated, the bulk of those players dropped interest in MU during the 1-5 start. 
  • Is it surprising to you that Odom hasn't hired an OC yet, or that we haven't really heard a lot about the search re: potential candidates outside of Fisch? What is there to read into that? A big name in the works, perhaps?
  • I'm not that surprised. Some names are out there. Barry's not sharing any info with me, and he keeps a pretty tight circle around him.
  • Jeremiah Tilmon fouled out of the SC game in just 11 minutes. Are the refs after him or does he have a lot to learn to be able to contribute in future years?
  • The officials are professionals. Are they perfect? Of course not. The game story I had to file at the buzzer last night was hardly perfect either. But it's not like they go into the game wanting to call fouls on Tilmon. Like I wrote earlier, he is stronger than he looks. He has to learn how to play aggressive and physically without knocking people to the floor. And smart players and smart coaches are going to exploit that aggressiveness.
  • Thanks for the chat Dave. I think Lock should return to Mizzou next season, although I recognize the financial lure of the NFL now for him. What would you estimate the odds he does return to the Tigers for another season?
  • No odds from me, but I'd be surprised if he enters the draft. Could be move into the first round with strong workouts and interviews? Absolutely. But he'd have to declare first, and you can't go back to college once you make that declaration by Jan. 15. It's a huge risk to bank on outperforming your projection.
  • I just finished reading Gary Pinkel's and your book. It was a great read. The question it brought up for me is the extent to which Barry Odom follows what he learned under Gary Pinkel in terms of organization and time management. Would you please comment on that? Thank you for your wonderful coverage.
  • First, thanks for reading the book and nice comment. It was a great experience for me personally and professionally and I'm glad so many people have enjoyed our book
    I don't get an inside look into Barry's process like I did with Gary, but I get the sense Barry is still shaping his program in terms of structure and schedule. This is just a small example, but there's something to this: Gary had a strict media schedule that rarely wavered in his 15 years at Mizzou. He talked to reporters on certain days. Assistant coaches and players talked on certain days. From year to year there might have been subtle tweaks, but for the most part, the structure went unchanged for 15 years. This year, Odom changed the media policies/access at least three times in the season's first six weeks. Is that a major reflection on his organization/time management? Maybe not, but Pinkel had the advantage of spending 12 years under a proven winner at Washington to learn about structure/organization and then had another decade to build his own way of doing things at Toledo. Odom didn't come in with that same base structure that was already established. 
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