Hello, chatters. I'll be here for the next two hours to take your Mizzou questions. Let's get started.
Is there anyone disputing that Odom should keep his job if Mizzou finishes 3-9? There's a discussion to be had at 5-7, but you don't get to five wins without beating Idaho and UConn, so, yes, these games are important. I didn't take anything away from Sterk's most recent message. We all understand that there's no guarantee that Odom is back next season if things continue to unravel in the second half of the season. That doesn't mean we can't recognize that MU played well against Idaho and should beat UConn.
To some degree, yes. If you can hang with Kansas on a day when KU scores 93 points, you have the talent to compete with anyone on the schedule. I know we came away from last year's season-opening OT loss to Xavier thinking Mizzou would be more competitive, but the caliber of talent on this team is so much better - and some of Xavier's best players played horribly in that game. My preseason AP top 25 ballot is due tomorrow. I'm leaning strongly toward having Missouri on it.
Heupel rarely, if ever, says Lock's mistakes are due to decision-making. Even his game-opening INT last week, that was all on Johnson, who adjusted his route after Lock threw the ball. Heupel said Lock made the right read, decision and throw on that play. He's made a few bad reads that led to INTs, but his decision-making was solid against Georgia - and they're not going to play a better defense than UGA the rest of the year. He's been better this year. Not elite by any means, but a decent amount of his incomplete passes are on deep balls that are low-percentage downfield shots. If you hit on one of four or one of three of those, it's worth having a few incompletions, especially if it tempts the safeties to back off and clears the underneath routes and running lanes.
I'm pretty sure I wrote more on the topic than anyone else. My sources on this story came from both sides: Link's camp and MU. There has been tension between Link and the administration for more than a year. He was badmouthing his bosses and was warned to stop. He was upset that he wasn't being used in his customary role as an ambassador at donor events. There was a strong sense he was undermining efforts in the department. Sterk wanted the relationship to work. I have great admiration for Gary and I'm sad for him and the university that the relationship soured, but I was told it got to the point where Sterk had no choice but to part ways.
I'm sticking with my fifth-place pick in the SEC, but Mizzou looked like a top 25 team on Sunday and an NCAA Tournament team. So, in that light, my expectations haven't really changed. This was always going to be the challenge for Tilmon. He's aggressive to a fault. A lot of young players don't understand how college officials define a foul, so he'll have to learn. Also, Martin plans to play some zone defense this year, and that will help protect Tilmon from foul trouble. The coaches agreed to only play man defense for Sunday's game.
He liked what they put together on that third-down package. The defense had one bad series but settled down after that. I wrote about the new package the other day. Three D-linemen: Tre Williams and Marcell Frazier flanking Terry Beckner; two inside linebackers in Terez Hall and Cale Garrett; one hybrid/outside linebacker/box safety in Joshuah Bledsoe; three corners in Sparks, Cheadle or Acy then Hilton in a nickel role; two safeties in Sherrils and Prewett. I think you'll continue to see more reps for Williams at defensive end. He's a better athlete than other guys who are playing there and not producing as much. Hilton seems to have bought into his new role. He's always been a athlete with a lot of skills but he just hasn't stood out at any position.
It's hard to say now. Not every high-profile turns out to be a productive college player. Mizzou has badly wanted Perkins, Babb and Thompson for a long time but hasn't been as aggressive on some of the other local prospects. We could spend the entire chat listing high-profile St. Louis recruits who were college busts, guys that signed with Mizzou and guys who went elsewhere. So, there's no way to know how this will impact the program moving forward. If anything it's a bad reflection of the program and staff if they're missing on so many potentially high-impact local recruits. But on the other hand, Mizzou's never faced as much elite competition for multiple local recruits in a long time, maybe ever.
I'd take a few breaths between chugs of the Kool Aid. Iowa State is in complete rebuild mode. Mizzou should win that game. But Utah is a difficult place to play. By no means is that a gimme. And West Virginia, if both teams make the finals in Orlando, will be a difficult matchup. WVU will be extremely tough and physical. And that's the kind of game on a neutral floor in Florida where MU will have to create its own energy. There won't be a raucous crowd like there was against KU or will be against Iowa State, Utah and Illinois.
He has qualified and plans to enroll at Mizzou for the winter semester.
Jontay did play 21 minutes. That's a decent amount. Mizzou went small at times with Puryear as the one pure post player. I wouldn't overanalyze that game too much. Martin was experimenting with his lineup an seeing how guys play together.
I don't know. I don't decide the minutes.
Lock threw incomplete to Johnson on third and 2. I couldn't tell you three weeks later why he made that pass. His read must have taken him there. It didn't affect the drive. Clock stopped and they got the first down on fourth down.
Odom said the plan was to keep the starters in for the first few drives of the third quarter so it could work on some things they wanted to do at game speed. Lock took a few shots in that game, so it could have been a costly decision. No harm, no foul.
He's traditionally been more of a halfcourt man-to-man coach but he plans to use more zone concepts with this team because of all the length - and to keep Tilmon out of foul trouble. I think you'll see a mix of defenses this year.
There's a report that James Foster has officially decommited from Mizzou. More bad news for Odom's recruiting class. Foster was the first HS recruit to commit to the 2018 class. It can be hard to find QBs on the market this late in the game - and MU absolutely needs one in this class.
Yes, McCann is back as the kicker. Kickoffs were a big weakness last week, and a team with a capable return unit will exploit that. McCann has a much stronger leg. On field goals and PATs, McCann had been decent of late when he's gotten a solid snap and hold.
Roberts played two minutes. He missed his only shot from the field and made a couple free throws. I don't expect him to have much of a role in the regular rotation. Harris and Phillips will be primary ball-handlers. Geist will get some minutes, too. It looked like VanLeer is Barnett's top sub at the two-guard.
That's about the going rate to play a guaranteed game against a Group of Five team. It sure beats having to play a return game at Idaho. The Group of Five schools have all the leverage these days when it comes to these guaranteed games. The price has risen sharply in recent years. With the SEC's preference to play conference games in September, it can be harder to find a nonconference opponent for an October game - unless you want to pay up.