Mizzou chat with Dave Matter

Mizzou chat with Dave Matter

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




    Good afternoon, Mizzou chatters. I'm just in from today's football practice. I'll be here for the next couple hours to talk all things Mizzou.
    Have you had a chance to tour the new SEZ facility again now that it is close to complete?
    Update on the end zone construction? How's it look in person? You think they will increase attendance?
    I haven't had a tour since May, so a lot has been added and completed since then. From all the images I've seen of the interior it looks impressive and the players have been impressed with all the new bells and whistles. 
    Will it increase attendance? Well, the stadium capacity is down about 9,000 for the upcoming season, so the goal isn't necessarily to push attendance - but to build revenue with the premium seating areas included in the south end zone facility. Overall, it shouldn't be that hard to increase last year's average attendance (51,466), but that average has gone down each of the last four years. 
    I am thinking 10 wins and ban lifted. What do you think?
    You are more optimistic than me. I've got this team at 9-3 but wouldn't be shocked by 8-4 or 10-2. 
    As for the bowl ban, nobody has an inkling what this appeals committee will decide, so my conservative prediction is that it won't overrule the ban but will amend some of the other lesser sanctions. Missouri admitted to Level I violations. Even though the university was lauded for the way it cooperated with the NCAA enforcement team, I find it hard to believe the appeals committee will overlook that admission and amend the ban. But, then again, it's the NCAA. It's been known to throw some curveballs over the years. 
    Big "get" for Calipari the other day in STL with the commitment by Vashon's Fletcher. What do you hear about CBC's Caleb Love and what direction he might be headed?
    I'd be surprised if he ends up in Columbia, but as long as Mizzou's in his final six, then you can't eliminate the Tigers as a possibility. Where would I guess he ends up? I haven't talked to Caleb and he hasn't given any signs publicly where he might pick, so I'd be just speculating wildly. So ... UNC ... or Louisville ... or I have no idea. It would be interesting if it comes down to Arizona or Indiana, a battle of the Miller brothers.
  • Dave - I appreciate all of your insight, reporting and analysis through out the football season - looking forward to getting Tiger football started. You reported that Albert O was injured this week but is back at practice - great to hear. Based on some of Dooley's comments of Albert being a little rusty and now recovering from the injury, do you think we will see some of the other tights ends getting game time if they are contributing?
    I think you'll see multiple tight ends play this year - but not because Albert is rusty or coming off injury. Parker will play a role in this offense - read more about him in the paper very soon. Scales is getting looks with the first two units. Swinson missed all of last year with the knee injury, but I could see him getting some looks. Tight ends coach AJ Ofodile told me this week that one thing he really likes about Derek Dooley is he'll give a player a role if he proves he can specialize in something. Everyone can have their own niche, so if five tight ends each have something they can do to help this offense, five will play. My guess is that number will be more like four, pending injuries of course.
    is Okongo practicing with the team now?
    Last time Cuonzo Martin talked to the media - a week ago yesterday - he expected Okongo to join the team in a couple days. I've been pretty consumed with football since then, so I haven't checked to see if he's practicing yet.
    I realize that it's hard to get the backup quarterback quality reps in. practice.
    But why couldn't the second team offense run it's offense at the same time the first-team offense is running their offense? Couldn't practice against the second team.
    There are some logistic issues there, especially with coaching. The offensive coordinator and position coaches watch every rep so they can coach their players on what they did well and what they did wrong. If you split the team up and have half the team on one field and another half on another field, your players aren't getting the same amount of coaching. Also, when the No. 1 offense or defense practices live drills, there are more than 11 players who are practicing. They sub in different packages and personnel on almost every play, which is what happens in a real game. If you split the teams in half, you don't have that option - and you can't practice at the same tempo and intensity if you can't substitute.
    Dave, Vegas has mizzou's win total at 7.5. Am I missing something or is that free money?
    I'd take the over, but I understand some of the trepidation out there about this team. I hear from a lot of fans that just expect Mizzou to sweep Florida and Tennessee because that's been the trend lately ... but they also expect to sweep South Carolina and Kentucky because Mizzou is due to finally beat them. Well, if that's the case, maybe Florida and Tennessee are due, too. Or South Carolina and Kentucky will beat Mizzou again this year because that's been the trend. It's hard to make both arguments in favor of Mizzou, that history will obviously repeat itself and that history can't always repeat itself. 
    Missouri should beat Wyoming, SEMO, Troy, Ole Miss and Arkansas. 
    It's not beyond a possibility that Mizzou loses to everyone else on the schedule. I think this team will be better than West Virginia, Vandy, Kentucky, South Carolina and Tennessee. But, again, it wouldn't be a shocker if the Tigers lose any of those games.
    Does the defense take a step forward this year. I feel like we are still waiting to see the Odom defense that we expected to see. Do we have enough talent?
  • I'm not convinced, especially at defensive end. I like the secondary. I like the D-tackles. I like the inside linebackers. I'm not sold on the edge rushers. This team needs a potent pass rush to have a better-than-average defense. D-line coach Brick Haley has been asked about the pass rush a lot in camp, to the point where he wasn't thrilled I brought it up on the third day of camp. But bottom line, this team needs a consistent rush up front. The front four proved last year it could handle the run - for the most part. But when you get to third and 7, can they unlock the edge to chase after the passer? So far, I'm not sold that will happen consistently. If or when it does I think you've got the makings of a pretty complete defense that can give you a chance to win each and every week.
    I've seen several prognosticators who have Mizzou ranked 3rd in SEC east.
    Do you think Florida is a better team than Missouri? I sure as hell don't, am I missing something?
    I've been saying this a lot lately, and don't take it personal, but Mizzou fans have a myopic view of Florida's 2018 season. The Gators won 10 games. They flattened a very good Michigan team in their bowl. They crushed Florida State. They beat a very good LSU team and beat a very solid Mississippi State team. Missouri outplayed Florida in every dimension last year ... but that game was more of an outlier for the Gators. Florida's only other losses were to 10-win Kentucky and 11-win Georgia. The Gators were pretty awful when Mizzou came to Gainesville, but otherwise, they had a better season than Missouri, a team that also lost to Kentucky and Georgia, as well as very average teams from South Carolina and Oklahoma State. Florida also returns the bulk of that team. Its only big losses to the draft were an offensive tackle and a pass rusher, neither in the first round. 
    That said, I picked Mizzou one spot ahead of Florida in the SEC East based on Mizzou getting to host the Gators in Columbia. If I were an AP poll voter this year - I am not - I'd have Mizzou and Florida ranked in the same vicinity, high teens or low 20s. 
    To me, Mizzou Florida is the most intriguing game on the schedule. Winning at UGA is a long shot but beating Florida at home, with this offense, is realistic. Which game are you most looking forward to?
    I have to cover them all, so I don't necessarily look forward to one more than the other unless we're talking about the road trips. I've never been to Wyoming or spent much time in that part of the country, so I'm looking forward to that trip. And I always look forward to any visit to Athens. It's the jewel of the SEC, best college town in the league without a doubt.
    Has Missouri ever considered having a hockey program or is it too expensive for them? We've had a lot of good talent come out of Missouri the past several years.
    I get asked this every so often. A few obstacles here:
    1. Schools in the SEC don't play hockey. For the most part, teams in the Power 5 don't play hockey. The only Power 5 conference schools with Division I hockey teams are Boston College, Michigan, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Notre Dame, Penn State, Minnesota and Ohio State. So, there's a very limited pool of teams to play in the region.
    2. There's not an ice rink in Columbia. Closest one is Jeff City.
    3. Mizzou athletics has been in the red the last few years. The last thing they need is another non-revenue sport that takes away resources from the two teams that make money for the rest of the department: football and men's basketball. 
    In a perfect world where money and resources and facilities just take care of themselves, sure, it'd be a lot of fun to have a college hockey team to cover. But it's not realistic for Mizzou. 
    How much help (any?) is the SEC in Mizzou's fight against the absurd punishment handed down by the NCAA?
    Mizzou has received cooperation and support behind the scenes from the SEC office in this matter, which is customary in an any sanctions case.
    I see the new 2020 schedule has been released for Missouri's football team next year. I can't see it being any tougher than the one we're playing this year. And this year we have an easy schedule but I think next year will be just as easy. Agree?
    Disagree. The way the SEC scheduling cycle works, odd numbered years, in general, are more difficult for Mizzou because Florida, Tennessee and South Carolina are harder places to play than Vandy, Arkansas and Kentucky. Again, that's a bit of generalization, but the way the programs are constructed right now, Mizzou should always capitalize on the odd-numbered years when three of the four road games are at places where there's less of a home-field advantage, that being Vandy, Arkansas and Kentucky - UK's recent 10-win season notwithstanding. 
    Plus, Mizzou gets Ole Miss at home this year as opposed to a road game at Mississippi State in 2020. MSU is a much better program as they're constructed right now - plus it's a road game. That makes the 2020 slate harder. 
    All four noncon games are at home this year. Next year Mizzou goes to BYU. The Cougars are almost always competitive against Power 5 teams and are tough at home. 
    So, yes, I'll give you that MU's 2020 schedule isn't overwhelming, but it's not as favorable as 2019.
    One thing I've wondered is when Bill Laurie after donating millions for Mizzou's basketball arena why he stipulated that it not be named after any Mizzou past coach or player?

    I speculated that he wanted to make sure it wouldn't be named after Norm Stewart. It's been several year now and after the scandal of naming it Paige Sports it still was never clear about that stipulation.
    His money, his choice. I don't think it was more complicated than that. When one person gives you $25 million for a $75 million arena, he has some sway in the naming rights. At least that was the agreement at the time.
    "Mizzou admitted to Level I violations." Pardon my ignorance on this topic, but what's a Level I violation vs. other levels?
    Level I is the most severe level in the NCAA's four-level structure of violations. Here's what the NCAA lists as examples of Level I violations: 
    • Lack of institutional control.
    • Academic fraud.
    • Failure to cooperate in an NCAA enforcement investigation.
    • Individual unethical or dishonest conduct.
    • Head coach responsibility violation by a head coach resulting from an underlying Level I violation by an individual within the sport program.
    In Mizzou's case, it was academic fraud. Mizzou did not deny that the former tutor and 12 athletes committed academic fraud. That was never in dispute. 
    follow up question, I don't think a chance in hades the NCAA will overturn the decision they wont admit fault . this is a punch in the gut to all Missouri fans .
    Keep in mind, the four-person panel of the appeals committee that heard MU's case last month and will eventually make a final ruling is not the same panel that sat on the infractions committee and decided on the sanctions. Different committee, different people.
    Your predictions for Kansas football this season under Les Miles...
    Three wins, no more than four. He has severe scholarship/roster issues there, and I'm not sure he was the best coach to dig KU out of those problems. I like Les. He's an interesting cat and has made the game more interesting to cover. But I think he's lost his fastball - and that program needs a Jordan Hicks two-seamer.
    heres what the NCAA has taught all of us , do not be honest , your better off to lie, hide the truth do not help them in any way,conceal any info you might have basically its better to be dishonest they will punish you less
    That's an argument Mizzou has made in its appeal, that the sanctions could influence how programs in the future self-report their own problems. Of course, that's just a projection or hypothetical and can't be based on any raw data or evidence. But is it a compelling argument? We'll find out when the appeals committee makes its ruling.
    I am still miffed about Kim English ending up as an Asst at TN, much rather it been at MU. Any other recent players standout as potential MU coach possibilities? I would think having younger, former players recruiting would be a good thing.
    Missouri hasn't had an opening since Martin took over, so there wasn't a job for Kim at Mizzou. 
    I think the idea of needing former players as recruiters is overrated. It makes for good PR with the fans and media when a school hires a former player as an assistant, but recruits don't really care where the assistants went to school. Can they make a more compelling sales pitch on the recruiting trail? Maybe - but that's not always a given. It's different for a head coach - like in the case of Juwan Howard at Michigan or Penny Hardaway at Memphis - because head-coaching jobs are about inspiring the fan base and building the brand. But basketball assistants are grinders. It's all about the work they put in behind the scenes. I think it's more important to have a guy who's going to work relentlessly as a recruiter and a teacher than where he want to school. 
    You had mentioned Connor Bazelak has looked impressive in practice. Is that throwing accuracy, the deep ball, or what in particular has impressed you thus far? Could he potentially compete for the starting job next fall?
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