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.




    Greetings, Mizzou fans. A bit of breaking news to report as the chat gets started. Albert Okwuegbunam is returning to MU for his junior season. I'll get to your questions here shortly.
    How many games will Mizzou win in the SEC this year? They are already 0-1, but should be 1-1 after Saturdays game.
    THey should win at South Carolina? I'm not sure I agree with that. The Gamecocks beat Florida and just beat Mississippi State in overtime. This is no gimme for the Tigers. Right now, Missouri has to protect its home court and steal a few on the road. That won't be easy. Road wins are going to be hard to come by in this league, as we've already seen since Saturday. A league record of 6-12 or 7-11 might be realistic.
    Did you see that high elbow that Sophie Cunningham threw against Tennessee? Wow, looked like that could have been a Flagrant One in the men’s game. Mizzou seems be to the bad boys of SEC WBB now with flare-ups against SC, Auburn and Tennessee. Not a bad thing maybe, but your thoughts?
    This is not a new development. Sophie's elbows have a reputation in the SEC. Pingeton told reporters yesterday that the officials were right to call her for the unsportsmanlike foul. That doesn't mean it was intentional. That's just the style she plays. Rough, aggressive and sometimes those kind of plays cross the border between physical and dirty, depending on your perspective - or what colors you're wearing in the stands. 
    In some ways, Mizzou wears this reputation like a badge of honor in the SEC - not that they're dirty but that they play a physical brand and get under their opponents' skin. That's been true for several years now. They embrace that reputation - but also fight back against the D word. Dirty. 
    What’s you’re ceiling for the football teams record next year. I really wanted that ninth win
    If we're just talking regular season, I'll put it the ceiling at 10 or 11 wins. Georgia is the only elite program on the schedule. Florida had a very good season, has a good team coming back - they just didn't look very good the day Mizzou beat them in The Swamp. That game won't be easy, even in Columbia. Let's also not overlook the fact that Mizzou hasn't beaten Kentucky or South Carolina in a while. Just because the Tigers return some talent doesn't make those games gimmes. West Virginia could be tricky. They made an excellent hire in Troy's Neal Brown. 
    That said, there's no reason this program shouldn't take another positive step next season - unless Bryant just isn't a good fit in the offense. But I suspect he'll be highly motivated to put together a great season.  
    Dave, I was not only disappointed with J. Tilmon's game Tuesday, but more so with Mark Smith's performance. He did not show-up. What happened? Talk to me.
    Two early fouls. And the second one was a cheap push-off on a jumper. He never got into any rhythm offensively. He'll have better games.
    Who has impressed you the most on the men’s b-ball team.

    Btw, your chats are amazing! They’re the best by a large margin.
    I'd say Jordan Geist is this team's MVP and most improved player, no doubt. He's handling the ball better than ever, shooting well and doing a great job of leading a young team. His assists are up, too. Without him, this team might be 4-9 instead of 9-4.
    If JP goes pro, any reason why MP Sr sticks around? Would love to see another good coach/recruiter.
    I had reason to believe there might have been a staff change last summer if Jontay stayed in the draft - and perhaps even by mutual decision. Stay tuned to this summer. I've come to realize there's no sense in making predictions when it comes to the Porter family. I like Michael Sr. I wish we got a chance to interview him more often.
    Dave, first off thanks for the chat. Don’t get me wrong, let me say that I think Dooley did a great job for most of the season. Took the offense a long way. But was he on vacation against OK State (and the second half vs Kentucky)?? Me and you could have gone out there and caught passes against that OK state secondary. I know Mizzou was a little short at receiver but come on, throw it all over the yard against them. We have a 1st round QB and we are playing conservative.

    And to end the game trying to milk the clock?? Score, take the lead and worry about holding it AFTER you get the lead! So frustrating
    A couple thoughts. Missouri attempted some downfield throws on the final drive in the second quarter, but the problem wasn't so much the play-calling as it was the lack of urgency to get off the next snap. I think that was because they knew OSU got the ball first in the third quarter and the last thing you want to do is give them two straight possessions, especially the way their quarterback was throwing the ball. Conservative, yes, but not the worst philosophy given the circumstances. 
    I never really had the feeling they were trying to milk the clock on the final drive. But if so, why give the ball back to OSU in that situation? That cost MU at South Carolina and against Kentucky. 
    Any updates on Chester Graves ?

    Thoughts on Crockett going pro? I’m concerned he may not get drafted.
  • No updates on Graves. From my understanding he's got a lot of work to complete before he can even be eligible to play Division I next year. 
     
    As for Crockett, I was mildly surprised but not stunned by his decision. The fact that he didn't play in the  bowl game was a bit of a red flag. He practiced leading up to the game in Memphis. Team officials in the press box were surprised when he wasn't in uniform during pregame. As I wrote this week, the NFL advisory committee recommended he returned to school. I would like to know more about his decision-making process but he hasn't responded to interview requests. The coaching staff was not just surprised but "very surprised," according to multiple team sources. 
    That said, he's already been through several injuries. He plays a brutal position in a punishing league. Four years of playing running back in the SEC, even with some games missed, is a lot of mileage on your body. Would being part of another timeshare at tailback help his stock any more for the 2020 draft? Unlikely. So he's going to take his shot this year. He'll also have extra exposure at Mizzou's pro day when teams flock to Columbia to watch Lock's workout. That could work for or against Crockett depending on how he performs. 
    Great news about Albert O. Any idea who might be our TE coach next year? Thanks
    It wouldn't surprise me if Garrick McGee becomes the permanent TE coach. He'll add value to this staff wherever they assign him if he stays.
    That defensive coordinator tree from Pinkel is crazy! Who knew all those guys would be crushing it !
    Matt Eberflus didn't get the Cleveland Browns head-coaching job but it might not be long until he gets a HC job in the NFL. He's done a great job in Indy this year.
    Dave, who will be punting for Mizzou next season? Fatony is gone now correct? Can we get a consistent long snapper also?

    Also, do you have an update on what Michael Sam is up to these days?

    With the two new football leagues starting up, I wonder if it would be a fit for a comeback for Sam or maybe a Maty Mauk?
    Michael lives in Dallas and is doing well. I'm not sure he'll attempt a football comeback.
    Maty has moved on with his life, working in real estate and doing some coaching. 
     
    Good question on the punter situation. Missouri has a walk-on commitment from Leawood, Kan., Parker Willis, joining the program for 2019. There are a few in-house walk-on candidates, too. Whoever gets the job obviously has huge shoes to fill. Fatony never reached the point where he was an All-American candidate but he put together four strong years and was incredibly reliable. 
    Good news about Albert O. For now, I'm in the optimistic camp, hoping HCBO can keep the positive momentum. But I have this nagging worry that he is nearing his peak. Similar to Pinkel, where he did great to get us near the top (certainly the top half of the league), but couldn't win a conf championship. In your gut, do you think BO has it in him to actually get Mizzou to win an SEC title (obviously only occasionally, I know we can't expect it frequently)?
    First off, Odom hasn't come close to reaching Pinkel's peak: five double-digit win seasons, four division titles, two seasons coming a win short of playing for a national title. If Odom ends his time at Mizzou matching all of those marks, he'll go down as one of the three or four all-time greats at MU. 
    Can Odom take Missouri to that level? I don't think the program has hit a ceiling under Odom. He's picking up momentum in recruiting and the staff is starting to prove they can identify and develop talent that's not as heralded. I think there's still room to grow in terms of game-day coaching. That's not all on Odom but comes down to staffing, game-planning and in-game adjustments. But I think he's got a lot of the intangible factors that will keep the program trending in the right direction. 
    Reed Nikko is probably one of the nicest guys on earth, but his lack of strength and lack of ability to respond quickly in a game is hard to watch. Is he really that much better than Mitchell Smith? I always thought Smith had potential and could hit an occasional 3, but he has hardly played in the last few games. Does he not practice well, is there an attitude issue, does Martin just not like something about him, etc.? Has Martin addressed this with the media?
  • Big difference between Nikko and Smith. Nikko is a five. Smith is a four, if not a three. Nikko can give you 7-8 productive minutes off the bench in the low post. He'll grab some rebounds, play some post defense and put in a basket or two. Smith isn't physically equipped to play that role inside. And he's apparently lost ground in the rotation for the 3/4 combo forward position and came in during garbage time on Tuesday, well behind KJ Santos. Smith can bring some energy off the bench, but he's not very polished and doesn't seem to have any one clear skill that brings obvious value when he's on the floor.
    Seems like Missouri is constantly rebuilding it's basketball team and that is why we can't seem to compete with the elite teams in our conference. How is it that Rick Barnes can rebuild Tennessee so quickly into a top team in the nation?
    Annual rebuilding is more the rule than the exception in today's game with so many transfers impacting so many rosters. That's what makes Tennessee's roster so unique. Also, when it comes to Tennessee, this hasn't happened quickly. Barnes is in year four. Those first two years weren't very pretty: 15-19 and 16-16. Those veteran players on the floor for the Vols now were the young guys two years ago on a team that didn't even make the NIT. By that standard, Martin is well ahead of Tennessee's pace.
    Have the recent MUBB games vs Xavier, Illinois and eve Tennessee improved your opinion of MUs ability to compete in the conference schedule?
    The Xavier and Illinois games proved Mizzou will be competitive against the teams at the bottom and in the middle of the conference. But I can't say the UT loss really taught us anything about this team in a positive way. The Vols are elite. They're going to smash a lot of teams like they did on Tuesday. Mizzou proved its margin for error is so small that it doesn't take much for a blowout to unfold when some adversity comes their way. 
    Let's not lose sight of this, also: Xavier and Illinois aren't all that good. The Illini are just 4-11. 
    Missouri should be able to hold its own at home, but winning road games is going to be a chore. And that's true for most teams in this conference. 
    You have mentioned in several chats that Travis ford’s son is on the Tigers basketball team. I looked up his stats and it looks like Brooks Ford has only 2 minutes of play vs Oral Roberts. I assume that means he is a walk on and not a scholarship player.?
    When does the women’s team play South Carolina this year? is it in COMO or COSC and will it be televised?
    Their only regular-season game is Jan. 21 in Columbia, S.C. on ESPN2.
    I know the Star system for football recruits is flawed, but it does in general give a sense of recruiting success. While I don’t expect, at this time, for Mizzou to compete with Bama, GA, FL, LSU, or TN I don’t see why we can’t keep up with SC, Ol’ Miss, Miss St, Ark, Purdue who all are in the Top 25 of recruiting classes!

    Do we not try to get 4 & 5 star recruits. Is our philosophy that much different? How can that change?
  • If you look closely at what separates the teams in the high 20s and 30s in the recruiting rankings, the point differences is pretty marginal. Missouri recruits the 4 and 5 stars in the region, but there's not a lot of them in the state of Missouri most years. And MU has historically struggled to land 4 stars, much less 5 stars who are from outside the state or well beyond the state border. A lot of it comes down to branding and national appeal. A five-star recruit in Florida or Georgia or Texas or Ohio is exposed to so many other high-profile schools compared to a program like Missouri. It's hard to crack that market when you can't pitch proximity.
    How would you rate our defensive coordinator in football this year.

    Do you think the loss of our football consultant will impact us? I heard he was great.
    The staff really loved working with Ted Monachino, the defensive analyst, who's now the new coordinator at Kansas State. He brought a lot of NFL concepts to scouting and personnel evaluation. As for Ryan Walters, I thought his defense made progress this year - and had to do it without any whiff of pass rush from the defensive end position. Trying to play defense in today's game without an edge rush is like playing baseball without a pitcher who can throw strikeouts. It puts so much pressure on the rest of your defense to make plays all over the field on balls in play. MU went from first to 12th in the SEC in tackles for loss this year. A lot of that falls on not having anything more than ordinary play at D-end. This was the best secondary play MU's had under Odom. The bowl game was rough, but for most of the regular season, that unit played well enough to win games. (By their season averages, Oklahoma State had just an average day against Mizzou's defense.)
    I don't think another couple thousands fans were going to change anything about that game. Tilmon took himself out of the game early and that changed the complete complexion of the game. 
    Instead of letting fans move down to the pricy seats, the folks who don't use those good seats need to make sure they give them to someone who can use them. 
    As for the students, the ESPN2 broadcast crew during last night's Auburn-Ole Miss game couldn't stop raving about the great student crowd in Oxford. I looked up when Ole Miss starts classes: Jan. 22. So it is possible for students to attend home games during the semester break. Not so much at Mizzou, though. 
    Dave,

    Special teams were less than stellar this season for the FB Tigers. No significant runbacks that weren't called back. Special teams cost us a few games in my opinion, particularly the botched punt against Georgia and on-side kick snafu against USC. I understand the importance of Coach Hill as a recruiter and fine lifetime representative of the program. He seems to only be an effective WR coach. Any chance that Ofodile takes over the TEs (his position), which allows Hill back with the WRs? Then they can get a real special teams guy and use these 2 coaches at their natural position. I'd appreciate your thoughts. Thank You!
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