Mizzou chat with Dave Matter

Mizzou chat with Dave Matter

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




    Did anybody notice that Routree was the spelling onhis jersey instead of Rountree, how does this happen?
    Yes, I wrote about it in Tuesday's paper. Just a mistake by the equipment staff. It didn't bother Larry.
    Hey, Dave: I wonder if football coaches will ever embrace metrics the way other sports have. Specifically, I wonder if they will ever re-think their decisions about settling for FGs vs attempting to extend drives and/or go for TDs. The math is pretty clear: the closer you get to the end zone, the more you should go for it instead of kicking a FG. It's not just BO that frustrates me with this, as almost all FB coaches tend to make decisions based on worst-case scenarios and public scrutiny/second-guessers. They are the most paranoid of all sports coaches, after all, but I think there are big rewards for the coach that consistently goes for 6 rather than settling for 3.
  • I agree. Most coaches - not all, but most - stick with old school philosophies that don't always line up with modern thinking. I'd like to see coaches take more chances. Missouri attempted to convert only 15 fourth downs all season. That ranked No. 106 nationally. Only 11 Power 5 teams attempted fewer fourth downs; and six of those 11 came in the SEC.
    Does the amount of people that seem to turn on Odom seem normal to you with what you see with other fan bases and previously with GP? It seems like he gets some credit when it is due but as soon as Mizzou loses a close game or there are questionable calls the noise of those against him is tenfold. Yeah there have been some frustrating games but it is also clear he has improved every year in wins, recruiting, and culture. He is a first time head coach where he played. If he continues his improvement there is no reason to think Mizzou will in bowl contention year after year with the occasional stars aligning special season.
    I think the reaction (overreaction) is very typical of any fan base that's not consistently winning championships. I have three regular emailers who write me very angry messages every day after a Missouri loss and usually demand that MU fire Odom. On Tuesday I heard from all three for the first time since Oct. 28. (Check MU's schedule to see what happened on Oct. 27). That's how fans work - and it's not all fans. It's the 10 percent who are habitually irate after anything that goes bad. There's another 10 percent that sees past every loss, mistake and indiscretion and gives the home team the benefit of the doubt. The vast majority of fans are in that middle range. Sometimes all three sides have valid points. Sometimes not so much. That's what makes sports fun and compelling.
    What is your crystal ball saying about Drew Lock’s NFL future? Will he be the clipboard carrying Chase Daniel who has thrown 4 NFL TDs in his career.? Or will he actually get a chance to play like the No. 10 drafted Blaine Gabbert who has thrown 48 TDs in his career? Is there any indication about which NFL teams are interested in him?
    I don't know if he'll start right away but I'd say he's got a great shot to become a quality starter in the NFL. He's got so much going for him. He checks all the boxes physically. He's got the intangibles. He's tough. He's a leader. He has great character, very intelligent. There will be mechanical things he'll have to sharpen, but that's true for any quarterback in his position. 
    I'll stick with the teams that I wrote about in May that will/should have interest in him: Denver, Miami, Cincinnati, the Giants, Tampa Bay, Oakland/Las Vegas, Washington. 
    Dave, what happened to Georgia against Texas? That was not the Georgia team that everyone expected to come out and play.
    I was a little surprised but not stunned. Texas played better late in the season. They were the more physical team. UGA looked disinterested early. Fromm was not as sharp. The UGA running backs didn't have any running room.
    You said Acy had a rough game Monday. How would you evaluate his season? Did he improve over the season? I assume he will be a starter next season.
    He was second-team All-SEC on my ballot - and earned that spot on the AP All-SEC team. The two first-teamers were All-Americans and will be first-round NFL draft picks. Pro Football Focus rated him as MU's second-best defender for the whole season,behind only Cale Garrett, though the bowl was definitely his worst graded game of the year. MU left him on an island in man coverage and OSU took advantage of that. After giving up some completions that he wasn't giving up during the season, you've got to wonder how it impacted his confidence. Still, I think he can be an All-SEC player again next year. He showed much better awareness and focus this year. He drew only two pass interference penalties all year, the questionable call against Kentucky and one on Monday. He'll bounce back.
  • Dave - The morning of the Liberty Bowl, ESPN U showed the 2008 Oklahoma State at Mizzou game. It was jarring seeing Memorial Stadium so full -- in the sense we haven't seen that large of a crowd in a while. What will it take to get folks back in the stadium?
    I'm not sure. I would say winning more games, but MU beat a really good Florida team on the road this year and came back to a lot of empty seats for the final two home games and all the reasons we hear every year about empty seats. Deer season. Cold weather. Bad kickoff times, etc. It sure would help if MU wins more games in September and October and doesn't lose the fans' attention with early losses, but even then, I'm not sure if we'll see the stadium packed anytime soon. If Missouri is 5-0 heading into the homecoming game against Ole Miss on Oct. 12, will the stadium be at capacity? Maybe, but I'm not 100 percent sure. What if they're 8-1 or 7-2 when the come off the road to host Florida on Nov. 16. Packed house? I'm not sold.
    Dave, I'm hoping that getting this off my chest will provide some relief from another agonizing MU loss. I watched many bowl games and there are some common themes with the winning programs: good tacking (no YAC), few mental mistakes, few turnovers, good special teams (no major errors), and the confidence / ability to get that 4th and 1 when needed. I think that many of these items are discipline related and that discipline comes from solid coaching. I appreciate the job done by Odom and staff, but they got outcoached (again) Monday. Hopefully the staff learns and grows because something positive appears to be happening in COMO. I understand that Andy Hill is a great recruiter, especially in west MO, but he appears to be a liability when not coaching WRs. Can he just be a recruiter? Do you think the coaching staff is learning / growing - getting better? If so, what are the signs? Thank you!
    I understand the frustrations. Of course there are going to be some after that game. MU had a really messy win against Vanderbilt in November. Turnovers, bad tackling, etc. But they won, barely - and beat a better team that OSU, in my opinion. But I don't recall hearing any complaints the following week about how poorly coached the team was in a really sloppy game for both the offense and defense. But it's a game of inches, and against Vandy, MU made just a couple more plays in the end. Same for OSU on Monday. If Lock lunges forward another couple inches and the safety doesn't strike him in the same spot, he gets the first down and maybe scores a play or two later. I just don't look at close games like that, with so many big plays on both sides of the ball, the same way you would a loss like last year's bowl game. MU wasn't clean enough to win - but did a lot of things better than OSU. Fewer penalties, fewer turnovers, far more yards. Hell, OSU nearly gave the game away with a fake punt deep in their own territory. That's just not a game where I can come away thinking it's some grand indictment on the coaches or the program.
    I wasn't being completely sarcastic. I truly love the PD coverage of the Tigers. I am a subscriber! As you pointed out in your reply there are real concerns in the AD about long term fit(competing) of the football team in the SEC. The AD had a deficit this past year and I suspect it will this year and perhaps the year following. I was a fan in the 80's and 90's so I know bad football. It just seems 4-4 in the conference is the teams max. That does not seem to equate to the fan base desire and they show their disdain by not showing up. Does it really get better?
  • I think it's reasonable to expect a minimum of 6-7 wins every year. That should be the baseline. Some years you're going to be a little better and have some breaks in the schedule and win 8-10. Then forces are going to align once every 8-10 years and you can have a loaded senior class and a couple impact All-American players and push for the division title. That's how the Pinkel years broke down. I think the same is possible for Odom. But for this program in this league considering the resources for MU and its competitors, 4-4 conference seasons will be a healthy norm more often than 6-2 or 7-1.
  • I thought that the last two minutes of the first half were near the worst part of the game. There seemed to be no plan for the NFL bound QB. Do they have a two minute plan? Nor did it work in the final two minutes. Have they explained the loss of that potential?
    They sure seemed conservative. Knowing OSU would get the ball first in the third quarter, MU seemed content to not give the Cowboys two straight possessions. I thought they should have been more aggressive. Maybe it was a case of OSU playing conservative coverage and taking away the deeper routes. There just didn't seem to be as much urgency when MU had the ball. We didn't get much time with Odom for specific game questions after the game. He seemed more consumed with talking big-picture about the seniors - and we never get assistant coaches after the game. Otherwise, that would have been an obvious topic to discuss. Dooley calls plays on offense, but if Odom wants the offense to take its foot off the gas and go conservative, that's his call.
    If things continue as is such as attendance, lack of a true rivalry game, etc. could you see Mizzou moving to a new conference? If so, which conference makes the most sense?
    Based on his profile at Juco, would Chester Graves make an impact as a pass rusher ? To me an improved pass rush is critical for next season as it will boost the entire defense
    I don't see how he could hurt, unless he just can't play. But he's considered an elite pass-rusher. I don't think adding one juco is make or break for the program, but adding him wouldn't hurt. Missouri needs someone who can get to the QB.
    Have you ever asked Travis Ford how the Mizzou b'ball team his freshman year would have fared against the Kentucky teams he played on after he transferred?
  • I haven't interviewed Travis.
  • Hi Dave,
    When Blaine Gabbert went to the NFL, he had all the physical qualities teams look for with a big frame and strong arm. Obviously, he's been a bust. Similarly, Lock has the same physical qualities, so should we expect a better career for him, or is he Gabbert 2.0?
    First of all, I'd quibble with the term bust. Blaine has never been a star QB. But he's played eight years in the NFL and earned more than $19 million in NFL contracts. He hasn't played up to his draft status but he hasn't been a failure. 
    Also, anyone who covered Mizzou when Gabbert was the QB knew he struggled against a pass rush. Happy feet. Had it then, still has it now to some degree. (Go watch his dreadful INT when the play broke down against Indy on Sunday night.) Lock stands tall in the pocket and absorbs contact. He's also got a quick enough delivery to get rid of the ball when plays break down. He's not as fast as Gabbert, but I thought he got better on his feet during the course of his career than Gabbert when he was entering the NFL. Both of them are going to look good throwing the ball against air in shorts and a t-shirt, but when NFL ends and linebackers are crashing into the pocket, I'll take Look over Gabbert. 
    Liberty Bowl questions - how is the home team vs visitor team decided? Does home team get to choose uniform colors first? Do home team fans get the entire halftime show directed at them and the visitor fans get ignored? Since it was a neutral site, I thought they would have done a better job of acknowledging both fan bases somewhat equally. Most of the video coverage showed OK St fans 80% of the time. Also who was responsible for Rountree's misspelled name - Mizzou or Liberty Bowl?
    Lots of questions that really didn't enter my mind when writing about the game. I assume the home-road team alternates every year between the conferences. As I wrote earlier, someone in the equipment room goofed on Rountree's jersey. He wasn't upset.
    Was Mitchell Smith sick last Saturday, or did Santos just take his minutes? i didn't think he was playing so poorly that he would keep a seat on the bench once Tillmon fouled out.
    I was in Memphis and didn't cover the game.
    Dave, did you listen to the discussion between McKernan and DeArmond on InsideSTL about Mizzou, especially behind the scenes with basketball during Quin Snyder era. Real interesting stuff. Are you able to confirm any of it based on things you have heard?
  • Yes, it was a great podcast. Tim does a great job with those. I covered Mizzou through most of Snyder's time at Mizzou, though I was mostly on the football beat at the time. I was the hoops beat writer at the Tribune for about half a season when we had some staff changes mid-year. Not sure what specific things you're asking about. I'll share what I can.
  • based on his fumbles and pre-snap penalties, is it accurate to say that Albert O took a step back last year, or at least didn't progress? Or won't that matter to NFL scouts?
  • I didn't think he had a very good year. He wasn't as focused, not nearly as sharp. He's got insane skills as a tight end that weighs around 270 pounds. I think he could use another year in college, especially after the injury.
    Is there a DE in MU's Dec 2019 commitments ready to start? Looks like we need one.
    No. They signed a couple guys who can play on the edge, but I doubt they pass the two they signed last year, Hansford and Jeffcoat.
    Acy: tough day at the office Monday.
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