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.

  • How would you compare Drew Lock with other junior QBs who are making themselves eligible for the NFL draft - Josh Allen, Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen? Will Baker Mayfield and Mason Rudolph be the first 2 QBs taken in the draft.
  • I'm no draft guru, so I can't break down their strengths and weaknesses. I really like Rosen and his upside. He's a smart kid, really savvy. I'm not as sold on Darnold. Lots of interceptions. I think Mayfield can be a winner in the right system. He's short but I'd love to have him lead my team any day. I'll take Lock's arm strength against any of those guys.
  • Dave, you do a phenomenal job. Three questions for you. How did Coach Martin hear about Cassuis Robertson? What is the latest on Coach Odom's s offensive coordinator search? And did not having Heupel and Ellerbee have a big impact on the Texas Loss?
  • 1. Coaches are well aware of the transfer market, and Robertson's 3-point shooting is exactly what the staff needed. Here's what I wrote back in July: "When Robertson began considering transfer possibilities in the spring, Mizzou became an attractive option, especially after he talked to two fellow Ontario natives who had played for Mizzou coaches — Grant Mullins, a player under Martin at California, and Naz Mitrou-Long, who played for assistant coach Cornell Mann at Iowa State. From there, Mann visited Robertson in Buffalo and built an instant connection."
    2. Odom wants to get this hire right and hasn't been in a big rush to find the right guy. Maybe news Friday? Maybe early next week.
    3. I don't think the departed coaches had a big impact. The only player who said it was a big deal was a defensive player who isn't sitting in on offensive meetings. 
  • I’ll bet you’re glad the Tigers finally won an SEC road game so you can stop telling fans how many consecutive games they have lost. I for one and glad I don’t have to listen to that stat.
  • It's nice for the players who weren't part of those 32 losses that they don't have to answer the questions, but no sweat off my back either way.
  • Are you concerned with Barnett's minutes load? Mizzou does not seem to have any depth at the wing position.
  • VanLeer has been his backup but is playing fewer minutes lately. I don't think Barnett seems to mind the extra minutes. He's a senior. This is his final college season. He's making the most of his role. Mizzou can go with a smaller backcourt to give him a rest.
  • Have the MPJ-less Tigers exceeded expectations for you so far? Not saying MPJ's injury was a good thing, but could this possibly help in the long run (next year) in terms of overall cohesiveness and playing as a team?
  • I think kids are more resilient than we expect. They can handle change better than fans and some media. If he's out, a good coach will get them to buy into the plan. If he returns, they'll buy into having a great player on the floor. There's obviously some pride at play here. The guys on the floor now want to prove they can win without Michael - but that doesn't mean they won't welcome him back if he's cleared and wants to return. And if he returns but takes the team out of its flow and jacks too many shots, Martin isn't obligated to play him 40 minutes.
  • The NFL draft advisors have told Lock he will not be drafted in the first 2 rounds and he should return to school. Are NFL teams allowed to talk directly with college players after their junior season and hint that they would draft the player if he decided to turn pro? Lock said he was hearing something different from what the draft advisors were saying.
  • It's called the Draft Advisory Council. They give draft-eligible players one of three draft projections. First round, second round or return to school. Now, he might have received some other feedback, that he could improve his stock with workouts, with a chance to prove he can do the things he wasn't asked to do in Mizzou's offense. But, again, you can't go through those workouts without declaring for the draft.
  • Dave are Mizzou NFL players as invested in the program as say a Miami Cane NFL player and alumni?
  • I'm not sure I get the question. Are Mizzou players in the NFL invested in Mizzou? Sure. Chase Daniel has an endowed scholarship in his name and visits at least once a year. Guys like Sean Weatherspoon, Jeremy Maclin and others are always visiting and promoting Mizzou.
  • Hello Dave! Do you think there should be some rule that coaches who are planning to leave their program are required to stay until after the bowl season? It seems to cause recruiting chaos in December and with so much riding on the bowl game financially as well as record-
    wise (8-5 is much better for recruiting than 7-6) this would even the playing field for all schools.
  • I don't think there needs to be a rule keeping coaches in place. Though I don't think they should be eligible for bowl bonuses if they leave before the game. I'm still not convinced it was Heupel's choice to leave the team before the bowl - until he hired Elabree. If Heupel hadn't poached Odom's O-line coach, I think there's a chance he could have coached through the bowl game. But it's my sense that hiring Elarbee was the deal-breaker.
  • If Lock declares for the Draft, who do you think would be the frontrunner for starting QB next year?
  • Micah Wilson has the most game experience, but if the new OC is an outside hire, he won't necessarily have any loyalty to anyone on the roster. I'd go with Wilson by default, but the job would be wide open for spring practices and preseason camp.
  • Re: enjoyed reading your article on the football roster strengths, will you be following up with areas of roster depth concerns.
  • I have it written but haven't had a chance to post it yet with more basketball coverage the last few days. Look in Friday's paper for a bigger recap of the football season.
  • Dave, how can a school that recruits against Cincinnati, Tulane, and Western Michigan except to compete against Georgia, Florida, Alabama, st al? Doesn't it approach arrogance for a coach to have a mind set that his player development is so superior to other coaches that he can take those coaches' "leftovers" and beat him?
  • Let's answer it this way. Mizzou's caliber of recruits now isn't all that different from the Pinkel years. Pinkel wasn't beating Oklahoma and Texas or Texas A&M for recruits. Was the program still competitive against the likes of K-State, Nebraska, Iowa State, Oklahoma State, etc? You bet. Mizzou's charge in recruiting isn't about beating Alabama and Georgia - because Mizzou will never sign better players than those schools. Never ever. Same thing in the Big 12. Same thing for Kentucky, Arkansas, the Mississippi schools. Those programs are Mizzou's competition. Does MU aim to win the national title and have the best players in the country? Of course. But they're not going to sign the best players. Too many obstacles in the way - and the two biggest they'll never change: geography and history. That said, the smart approach is not much different from what you see at successful programs that don't sign top 20 classes - Wisconsin, Oklahoma State, etc: Recruit as well as you can but you win with player evaluation and development.
  • Dave, Appreciate the chats. I was impressed with the win at South Carolina last night, even though I realize that the Gamecocks are no where near the final 4 team of last year. Still, a road win in conference is never easy. What do you know about the Gators? I know they were ranked in the top 10 earlier in the year but now are out of the top 25. Who should be favored on Saturday?
  • Florida just beat Texas A&M in College Station, though a depleted A&M team. Mike White's team stumbled some early, but they could still win the SEC and make a deep March run. Florida is a strong offensive team. Never turns the ball over and shoots well from 3. I'll explore the Gators more tomorrow and in Saturday's paper.
  • Just a couple more minutes here before I have to catch a flight
  • It's such a dumb expression. Why catch a flight? I'm going to board a big steel cylinder and hope it gets me from one side of the country to another. Carry on.
  • Dave, can you give the MU football coaches a report card for 2017 at some point? Good to see 4-5 guys with good games vs S Carolina last night. Was Harris limited on minutes because of the illness?
  • I don't do report cards. Not my thing. I guess for entire season I'd go with a B. I picked Mizzou to go 7-5. They got there, just not the way I expected. Harris didn't start because he missed four practices with the flu, but he saw limited minutes because he couldn't stop wasting possessions - and Geist was far more efficient with the ball. Martin is going to play the point guard who gives them the best chance to win based on how they're playing in the game. Harris didn't help his cause last night wildly dribbling to the baseline and throwing the ball out of bounds or off a defender.
  • What do you think mizzou has to do in sec play to make the tournament?
  • Finish .500 or one game better.
  • The AD made it clear a bowl game was the objective for Odom and the FB team, mission accomplished. What do you see as the AD expectations for 18? IMO, the third year of a coaches tenure is the make or break year, the majority of the players should be his recruits, his staff, etc. Thank you and HNY!
  • I think the objective should be progress - unless Lock goes pro. Then I think you have to take a measured approach and expect another bowl game but not necessarily eight or nine wins.
  • This year’s Texas bowl reminded me of the 2009 Texas bowl in which Navy beat Mizzou 35-13. I don’t expect MU to score 45 points every game like they did over the last 6 games of the regular season. When a number of Texas players decided not to play in the game, it seemed like that would be favorable to Mizzou. Having a crowd of 67000 mostly Texans rooting them on surely aided the Longhorns. So it was disconcerting to see the lack of enthusiasm by Tiger players in dropping the game to them. The MU offense looked anemic although not as bad as against Purdue. The only reason I see is the Tigers had too much time to prepare for the game and that’s why they came out flat.
  • Enthusiasm was not Mizzou's problem in that game. They might have been too enthusiastic. I saw lots of flexing and jawing from MU players. They were up for the game. They just weren't focused or disciplined. 
    On that topic, though, I do think we overanalyze bowl games and fall into the trap of basing the entire season off the final performance. It was not a good look for Odom and his team. But just like the win doesn't erase Texas' flops against Maryland and Texas Tech, Mizzou's loss doesn't erase the progress the team made in October/November. 
  • Will MU BB foes try applying pressure defense like Press Virginia did in Orlando in November and the Illini did in the first half of th Braggin Rights game? The Illini did not apply full court pressure like WV, but it seemed to me like they guarded the Tigers very closely when MU was on offense in the first half. I am searching for answers as to why Illinois has won the last five in a row and 14 of the last 18 and am coming up empty. To me they are evenly matched and MU should be winning more.
  • I wrote this yesterday, but five of MU's opponents are among the four best teams in the entire country at forcing turnovers. West Virginia, St. John's, SFA, Illinois and to a lesser extent South Carolina. Four of those five teams all have common strands of coaching DNA. Underwood and Martin both coached under Huggins. Underwood coached under Martin. SFA's Kyle Keller replaced Underwood and kept his defensive philosophy. They don't all press full-court, but they trap, they pressure, they deny passes. To some degree they all gamble to force turnovers, and Mizzou has been vulnerable to those styles. Here's the positive spin: Mizzou won three of those five games.
  • Good morning Dave, and apologies ahead of time if this post turns out too lengthy!
    I just wanted to belatedly say how very grateful I was to have the opportunity to meet both you and Coach Pinkel at the book signing a few weeks back at the Barnes&Noble in Ladue. The two you could not have been nicer, and I proudly displayed the pic I got taken with the two of you on all the requisite personal forms of social media! I would have loved to have shared with coach some personal favorite memories of so many great Mizzou games that he coached, but it was a long line(deservingly so) for you guys and I didn't want to take up to much of his time.
    One game in particular that I bet he doesn't hear fans bring up too much as a memorable victory but was a personal favorite of mine: A 2002 upset overtime victory in the next-to-last-game of the season at Texas A&M. I suppose that even though it was an upset, not a big deal was made out of it on a national level because it wasn't a great A&M team, but for many Mizzou fans such as myself who still recalled getting thrashed at College Station by a score of 73-0 less than 10 years earlier, and just how dreadful and hopeless the program felt at that time, it was really sort of an unofficial "signature win" that day for MU fans who suffered through that dark era. And I just recall thinking after that game how certain I felt more so than ever in Pinkel's short time as coach up to that point that yeah, this is finally the guy who is going to take this program to new heights. And he certainly proved me right. :-)
    I just feel sorry for the so-called "fans'" who couldn't appreciate things like that A&M game and scoff at Pinkel's record during his time at MU because to them, it all meant nothing since he didn't win a conference title or national championship. One such idiot even decided to mention that in the Facebook comments section of the Kirkwood Mizzou store a couple of days before the book signing there. I took it upon myself to put him in his place with an appropriate reply lol.
    The book is wonderful btw, and thanks again Dave for your great work.
  • Thank you for the kind comment. Much appreciated.
  • Now for a short question to follow my earlier rambling post:
    Does the new early signing period in football mean a new trend now where schools are going to fire their coaches earlier than they normally would have done--ie around midseason as opposed to waiting until after the season--and go through a rushed process now of hiring new coaches to replace them?
  • Yes, I think you'll see swifter coaching moves to comply with the early signing date. It might be an unintended consequence that puts more pressure on coaches and ADs.
  • Do assistant coaches have contracts only through the end of the regular season and are free to leave thereafter. I am contrasting how Scott Frost handled his situation with UCF and how Josh Heupel handled his hiring at UCF. Frost wanted to coach UCF’s bowl game and Heupel must have had his bag packed and ready to leave as soon as he got his bnew job. I’m sure Heupel would say he wanted to get a heard start on recruiting at UCF so he needed to leave ASAP, but he comes across as a carpetbagger, staying at Mizzou only as long as he needed to build his resume and then abandon ship when a new situation developed. Heupel could have easily stayed another month, fulfilled his coaching obligations at MU and went to UCF after that with plenty of time to recruit for the Feb signing period.
  • All contracts are different. And they all have buyout language. I touched on Heupel's situation earlier. I think there's a chance he stays if he doesn't poach from Odom's staff.
  • Good Afternoon Dave, I hope enjoyed your stay here in the Carolinas. I think the stadium in South Carolina reminds me a bit of Mizzou Arena. Which opposing teams basketball arena do you like the best in the SEC.
  • I haven't been to Ole Miss' new arena yet, but Arkansas has a great arena. Tennessee, too, if it's full. Auburn is underrated. They built it small on purpose and when packed it seems much bigger and louder than the capacity would suggest.
  • Do you think Phillips has more to give going forward for Mizzou? He has such limited playing time and seems to be regressing on the court. Is he truly the third or fourth PG option now?
  • He's no higher than the third option. Martin gave him a chance to run the final possession of the first half last night and he threw the ball away. When he plays I think you'll see him play off the ball as a shooter - not a primary ball-handler, unless others are in foul trouble.
  • Hey Dave -- Did you ever get an explanation from Mizzou officials why Porter Jr., was made available to ESPN during a darn game? And, while he was being shielded from local media? That was weak. If he's on the team, he needed to be on the bench supporting his teammates. Happy with the way the team played last night and pleased with the program's progress, but Mizzou officials really should consult with the j-school on how to deal with the media.
  • He did the interview only because it was Tom Crean and Crean agreed to not ask any important questions about when Porter would return to the floor. Local media got to talk to Michael on Tuesday. All good.
  • Dave, is Michael Porter practicing with the team or MU coaches overseeing his workouts?
  • He is not practicing with the team.
  • OK, folks. I'm out of time and have to travel. Thanks for taking part.
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