Hey chatters. Apologies for changing up this week's time. Let's get started here. I'll take your questions for a couple hours.
I think it's always wise to pump the brakes on preseason hype for a program that's been down as low as Missouri. But there's plenty of reasons to feel good about Martin and what he's done so far to build the roster. Could another head coach have lured the Porters back to CoMo? Sure, of course. But Martin got it done and he also landed Tilmon, Harris and a grad transfer in Robertson. Nobody's building a statue of the guy just yet, but the optimism is more than warranted.
Wow. Now there's a bold opinion. I admire Odom for showing his emotions. I admire his passion and his confidence. If I were to give him some advice - and he's not asking, so I'm just blowing hot air here - I'd suggest he put himself in a bubble and tune out the Twitter criticism from the third-string left tackles of the world. It doesn't do him any good to get consumed by the countless opinions outside of his program. It was curious to hear his mission now branded as a turnaround. There was always going to be a transition period between the two coaching regimes, but a year ago he talked about the urgency and expectation to win immediately. Now we're hearing about "25 players" who have left the program over the last few years. The 2015 season was full of problems, but the program itself wasn't in a steep decline. Not to the point where two years later they should be getting crushed at home by every FBS team to visit.
Never say never on Gordon. I know he's visited SLU recently and reaffirmed his pledge on Twitter, but until pen goes to paper in November, I'm not 100 percent convinced Missouri is out of the picture. As for Ramey, I don't have a strong sense from either side - Ramey or Mizzou - that he'll end up in Columbia. Missouri doesn't have a pressing need for a point guard in 2018. It's all about getting athletic wings who can score.
I agree. The 2015 team was much closer to playing in a bowl than it was crashing to the floor of the SEC. The '15 team had some weaknesses - instability at quarterback the biggest one - but the program wasn't a complete disaster in terms of depth and talent. There has been a lot of roster turnover over the last couple years that contributed to some of the personnel problems now, but you can't blame the past on Mizzou's offensive struggles. This same group of players led the SEC in total offense last year and, more important, was playing pretty good football down the stretch last season.
Just touched on Ramey. I'd be surprised if there's a lot of mutual interest, but these are especially uncertain times when it comes to basketball recruiting.
Nobody's safe. Nobody knows what the feds have, so any fans out there are being naive if they think their program can't become the next one to have its skeletons exposed. No telling if this moves over to football. No telling if Mizzou can benefit from this. Keep in mind, the FBI is going after individuals who have committed crimes, not teams or schools. The NCAA could sweep in after the federal investigations and arrests are competed and carry out its own justice aimed at the teams involved. It's still too early to speculate on how this will shake out.
There could be some sweeping changes as far as how the recruiting process unfolds, the role of AAU circuits and the influence shoe companies have in the system. It's going to take years to unwind. I haven't had many conversations with Mizzou folks yet. I'm sure MU's compliance department is making sure coaches are up to speed on everything that's happened and making sure their house is in order.
UAB? They have a 20-point loss to Ball State, which lost to Illinois. Enough said.
I was impressed with how clean a game South Carolina played at Mizzou. Solid in all three phases. And then I was surprised to see the Gamecocks lose at home the next week to Kentucky. Right now, I think there's one potentially elite team in the East (Georgia) and five teams that are interchangeable and capable of beating any of them. Then there's Missouri.
I would strongly consider talking to him. Proven winner. Exciting brand of offense. His track record and personality and brand name would excite a sleepy fan base.
Like I said earlier, nobody's safe from the FBI. Brown to Cal was one of those out-of-nowhere commitments when he left the South for Cal, but fans will drive themselves crazy if they worry about potential violations with each and every kid who signs with a school outside of their region.
They have a new staff and the No. 1 player in the country and his five-star younger brother and a couple four-star freshmen teammates. Plus some battle-tested veterans. Is that enough sunshine? Mizzou should be competitive with the best teams in the SEC and should settle for nothing less than the NCAA Tournament. Plenty to like about the potential for this season.
The NCAA has to wait in line behind the FBI to get their hands on Louisville, but I don't think the death penalty should be out of the question.
I don't think these are outliers. There have been whispers of this kind of activity for decades across college hoops. "Blue Chips" was a fictional movie but based on reality. The difference now is there's an organization with subpoena power and wire taps that's interested.
No chance. I spend a lot of time with Gary. Was just with him earlier today. He's not returning to coaching - at Missouri or anywhere.
Like I said, there have always been whispers of coaches paying players, of shoe companies paying players, of agents paying players. Plenty of coaches have been busted for paying players. Mizzou's been penalized for similar violations in the past. The FBI's role is the game-changer this time around.
I would suggest reading Mark Schlabach's story on ESPN.com for how the investigation started. Last year, a financial advisor was charged by the feds for wire fraud for stealing money from pro athletes. He eventually flipped and become a cooperating witness for the FBI and helped bring down the four assistant coaches who were arrested this week.
But they're not playing that many young guys. What he might do is start playing a lot of young guys. The starting D-line features two seniors, a junior and a sophomore. The starting linebackers are a sophomore and two juniors. The secondary is three seniors and a sophomore. Earlier this week Odom pointed out that some freshmen are playing who normally might not be playing if the defense had more established depth, but that's not what the staff was saying during the preseason. The staff praised those freshmen throughout camp (Whiteside, Turner, Byers, Ulmer, Sparks, etc.) and said they were good enough to help this team. Now it seems they're playing out of necessity.
That's true about Heupel having autonomy over the offense. Wilson did replace Lock late in the Purdue game for the final series, but all he did was hand the ball off. Bottom line, the staff is set on Lock as the quarterback. They're not going to give a backup a few looks and open the competition. Lock hasn't been good enough for come close to matching the preseason expectations, but he's not THE reason the offense has struggled so much, especially in the Auburn game.
There's a reason Minnesota and Purdue passed on Les Miles when they had openings this past offseason. He's on the wrong side of 60. (He'll be 65 next fall.) He couldn't develop a quarterback. He ran a prehistoric offense at LSU and refused to evolve. Game management was a consistent problem. Plus, ADs saw all that talent wasted in Baton Rouge the last several years. Miles had an NFL minor league team the last several seasons - at one point last year or early this year, LSU had more players in the NFL than any college program - yet LSU stopped winning championships. He doesn't have the up-and-coming profile that ADs want to hire. He recruited elite talent to LSU because the program sits in the backyard of elite talent. That wouldn't be the case at a mid-tier, mid-budget program like Missouri that's in a state that produces a limited number of Power 5 prospects.