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.

    I'm not sure they'll go that direction. Rough year for special teams. No way to sugarcoat that one. Three blocked kicks. Snapping issues all year. Four kickoffs out of bounds. A lot of those issues come down more to execution than coaching. It's not like Hill called for bad snaps on field goals and PATs. Those are skills that position coaches can only offer so much insight. If you're good enough to land a starting job as a Power 5 specialist (punter, kicker, long-snapper) then it's up to you to do your job. 
    I think it might be healthy to take a look at the other kickers, if not for the FG/PAT job but the kickoff job. Four out of bounds penalties are too many. You're better off kicking short and getting the fair-catch touchback. 
    Any chance Blake Harris deciding to transfer was based on the rising play of Jordan Geist? I can imagine Harris competing against Geist in practice everyday and see the writing on the wall. Perhaps he knew that he was not going to hold on to the starting job for much longer. Happy that Geist is getting some good publicity and respect. I always appreciated his toughness, guts and willingness to do anything to help the team.
    There's not a chance that was the reason. That WAS the reason. He wanted more minutes. He wasn't going to get them without earning them. 
    Harris is on a better team now, a nationally ranked NC State team that's going to win some games in the ACC this year, but .... he's getting fewer minutes and fewer shots per game than he did at Mizzou. That doesn't mean he's not happier playing closer to home, but he's not getting the bigger role he craved at Mizzou as a freshman. 
    what's happened to mitch smith? I thought we would see more of him Tues nite when JT left early in foul trouble. I believe his height will be needed during SEC play
    Again, the staff doesn't see him as a five. He's more of a stretch four or three. They looked him as more of a perimeter player going into the season. And usually that's because of defensive reasons first and foremost. If a guy isn't playing for Martin, the issues usually begin on the defensive end.
    Can you evaluate TBJ's senior year, career and chances to be a 2nd or 3rd round pick? Thanks!
  • I say it all the time, but I'm not a draft evaluator, and his stock isn't created in a bubble. It'll depend on who else is available at his position. I thought he had a really good junior year and a pretty good senior year. He's a guy who can get into the backfield with his athleticism and quickness. You don't see it consistently every series, but he can change a possession with his ability to get into the backfield. He was productive in terms of tackles for losses (not so much sacks this year), and this year he had to do it without much of a threat off the edge. He was the guy offensive lines had to worry about. I think he'll make a good pro. Maybe not a Pro Bowler but a solid NFL player. Brick Haley has coached in the NFL and coached a lot of great college players and he's certain Terry will make it at the next level. He compares him to Bennie Logan, who's had a pretty good career with a couple different teams.
    Any chance Kim English comes back to MU in some capacity under Martin?
    I think Kim's next step is to become a mid-major head coach. He's already a high-major assistant and has a solid reputation in the business.
    Dave what was up with Alex Ofodile this season? Transfer and we heard he would contribute a lot in preseason. All he did was block. Can he not catch a pass?? I don’t get it...Barrett Bannister was way more effective and he’s a walk on.
    They play two different positions. Banister in the slot, where MU didn't have as much depth, and Ofodile outside, where he was behind Hall, Brown, Knox, Scott and Floyd. Ofodile didn't have a great camp, and once you're low on the depth chart, it's hard to get back up unless there's just a ton of injuries at your position. I wouldn't give up on him. All the wideouts have a chance to make a first impression with Bryant this spring and summer.
    Watson looks a little lost on the court at times, although he did seem to be moving without the ball a little better against the Vols (although it didn't lead to any scoring). From your perspective are you seeing any growth in his game? I know it is very early still and his stat line doesn't show much but sometimes you can see lights coming on in other ways when you are watching in person.
    I thought he showed some growth in December in terms of being ready to shoot and shooting with confidence. A few times he was aggressive getting the ball and creating his own shot. I didn't see any of that on Tuesday in 26 minutes. He was fairly invisible. He was matched against some really good veteran guards, so that explains some of his struggles to make an impact. But Martin noted this week that Watson has started to really invest in the process, the same way Pickett did starting back in the summer. He's still a guy who can get hot and give you 10-12 points in a flash. He's also still getting accustomed to having to play defense all the time.
    Dave, just got online and not sure you mentioned this but what is the status of Mitchell Smith? I had heard from someone close to the team in the Spring that Coach Martin was encouraged by his play. Is he in the doghouse?
    Touched on it earlier. Santos has clealrly passed him in the rotation. 
    I'm a little puzzled with all the questions about Smith. Because since the start of the season all the questions were about Santos and what he could contribute this year. Now that he's playing everyone wants to know why he's playing ahead of Smith. 
    Why does this chat client always mix up questions and answers? There are always several per chat that fall out of order. Nice work as usual PD.
    Because I pick and choose which questions to answer and when. Some are inappropriate. Many are repetitive.
    If Kelly Bryant had enough college credits for a degree could he still have transferred to Mizzou?
    What? He is transferring to Missouri. Did I miss something? He earned his undergraduate degree from Clemson.
    What you think stats wise for Bryant next year. What stats would be needed for us to have an elite offense and record
    To have an above-average offense he's going to have to throw the ball. To have an elite offense he's going to have to throw it pretty darn well. Missouri isn't turning into Navy and only going to run the ball. You can't be one-dimensional in this league - and he'll have the receivers and tight ends to have a functional passing system. He doesn't have Lock's arm strength or downfield accuracy, so with shorter throws his completion percentage should be in the mid 60s, like it was at Clemson. No reason he can't throw for 2,600 to 2,800 yards and 20-25 touchdowns. (He threw for 2,800 in 14 games at Clemson in 2017.)
    Speaking of former Mizzou BB players coming back, is Laurence Bowers working in some capacity with Mizzou athletics? I see him at a lot if not all of the men's games.
    I don't believe he has an official job at MU but he's around the program a lot. He'd be a good asset to have in the department in some capacity.
    Parker stay as a TE this coming year or go back to defense ?
  • He was an asset at tight end and couldn't get into the rotation at the team's weakest position at defensive end. If the defensive staff thought he'd be an impact D-end this year, he would have played. I'd keep him on offense in that blocking role while they groom Swinson to be Okwuegbunam's successor as the primary receiving tight end.
    I think I have every book ever written about Mizzou sports...especially football. Really enjoyed your book on Gary Pinkel's 100 Yard journey, BTW. For Christmas I recieved a copy of your NEWEST book, "100 Things Missouri Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die" and I must say...it is OUSTANDING! By far...my most favorite Mizzou Sports book of all time! CONGRATS on that book...it is a MUST READ for any Mizzou sports fan! Any chance I can get you to autograph it some time down the road? Say, possibly at the Power Mizzou Spring Tailgate or at one of your many speaking engagements in St. Louis or Columbia? Brock Olivio did a GREAT job on the foreword BTW...good choice there!
    Many thanks. Yes, I'll gladly sign your copy. Thanks for reading.
    Surprised Men's BB is doing as well as they are considering preseason pundits thought Offense would need Tilmon to stay on the floor and score (no), Watson would have to score like he did in high school (no), and M Smith would need to hit 3's (some). Pretty amazing, yes? Hopefully, NIT would be a success.
    When Tilmon isn't on the floor and scoring they've lost to the quality teams they've played. So, some of that preseason analysis was spot-on. When he's a non-factor offensively (Iowa State, K-State, Tennessee) they've lost. Mark Smith leads the SEC in 3-point shooting, so I'd say he's doing OK there.
    I realize they are essentially meaningless but what do you think of Mizzou being ranked in every way too early top 25? I don't remember them being ranked before last year and they had arguably more returning proven talent than this team.
    Call it the Kelly Bryant factor. The folks putting out preseason Top 25s are mostly from national media outlets. The Bryant-to-Missouri storyline resonates with ESPN and their national peers because they're familiar with his path from Clemson. You add him to a nucleus that includes Rountree, Okwuegbunam, three starting O-linemen and a defense that returns seven starters and it makes sense to put Mizzou in the top 25.
    Hey, Dave ... if I remember right, Crockett was one of the five the university put in for NFL grades. I'd be shocked if he got anything other than, "Go back to school." His draft declaration must be a situation of, "I've been hurt every year, I better get my money while I can."
    As I reported, the NFL recommended he return to school. That's not the answer some players want to hear (Henry Josey), but when you combine different factors together - and injury history can be a big one - some are willing to take that risk of entering the draft.
    I wasn't surprised that Tilmon got called for a foul early in the Tennessee game, but the technical bother me. It was so early in the game - not nearly enough time for emotions to build up and spill over. I don't know if the Tennessee team verbally harassed the Tigers but I thought they looked like a respectful, classy group of guys. Why would Tilmon allow himself to be so unavailable for one of the biggest games on our schedule?
    The official gathered Tilmon and Alexander and talked to both of them about the talking they were doing on the previous play. It was a warning - and an obvious message to both players that the officials were going to be watching them closely. Not 30 seconds later, Tilmon made the obvious charging foul and when Alexander clapped at the call, Tilmon tossed the ball at him. That's going to earn a T more often than not - but ALWAYS when it happens not a minute after the official gives you a warning. Such a costly mistake. At some point, the excuse that  he's still young doesn't fly. He's played in 46 college games now - and started every one. He's such a conscientious guy, so I imagine he understands what he did wrong. But he's got to learn how to adjust on the court.
    People around me at the men's games are quite unhappy with some (actually many) of the refs' calls. But they are equally unhappy with the fact that it looks like Martin never challenges them or shows much emotion. Do you think he should get more upset with the refs? My guess is that dealing with cancer gave him a perspective on what is really important in life and maybe a few bad calls don't register too high for him. What do you think?
  • Cuonzo explained last year that he doesn't rant and rave at officials - and I think it's one of the best qualities about him. But he constantly works the officials. All the time. If you sit close enough you'll hear him talk to them all the time between plays and during plays about calls they missed or things they need to watch. He just doesn't humiliate them for the cameras. 
    He explained his demeanor last year. Share this with the folks in your section: "

    "I’m not a guy who’s going to swear, curse or cuss out an official. I’m not doing that to another man, because he’s a man first, and he’s doing a job. If I can’t talk to you the way I need to talk to you then we’ll live to fight another day. Because if you’re officiating the game the way you’re supposed to officiate then I shouldn’t have to say certain things for you to change what you’re doing, because that’s your job to do. And you’re hired by this league to do your job.

    “I’m not going to demean another man just to get a call, because I am teaching young men what it looks like to be a man, how you act and how you’re perceived.

    “Now, is it tough? Yeah, it’s very tough. Imagine how tough it is to restrain sometimes. But I have to do that. It’s not an easy thing to do, and there’s a lot of prayer just to keep my focus and composure, especially when I feel like (the officials are) doing that to my guys. That’s painful for me. There’s not a lot I can do about it. You get a tech and then what? You change a call? Then you’re not doing a very good job in the beginning. That’s how I look at it.”

    That's not to say he doesn't get upset at officials. This was taken Tuesday night by an AP photographer: 

    As a former sports anchor/reporter, I've covered a fair number of coaches and their staffs. Some you could see real potential in, right away during their early years as assistants (Mark Richt, Kevin Gilbride, Roy Williams in hoops). Others, you got the idea they were, "three-foot high jumpers." How do you rate HC BO and his staff in their ability to grow and improve - in particular, I'm talking about getting, "Pinkelesque" in having disciplined teams that don't turn the ball over, don't commit big penalties and can play with consistent emotion?
    For one, I think Gary's staff was especially unique because of his organization and structure and philosophy, they coached ball a certain way - and because the staff rarely changed, their way of doing things became institutionalized. 
    That's harder to do when you have staff turnover every year. 
    That said, sure, I think Barry's got good, smart coaches on his staff. Dooley has turned out to be a strong hire. I've always admired and respected AJ Ofodile and Andy Hill. Same with Cornell Ford, who obviously learned under Pinkel. Brick Haley is widely respected. But I'm not a player and I'm not on the field for every practice or in the meeting room, so I can't say I have first-hand knowledge to answer how these guys go about their job on an everyday basis to really evaluate. 
    Any predictions on how far the women's BB team will go this year? The season started out a bit rough but it is looking better all the time. Robin is a great coach. And getting Cierra back is a good thing.
    Winning that game Sunday in Knoxville was huge for many reasons. This team had three really tough games in SEC play: at Tennessee, at South Carolina, at Mississippi State. Losing all three was probably expected. You win one and it's like you're playing with house money. It's huge for RPI/NET rankings come seeding selection time. Plus, it's huge for potential tie-breakers for the SEC tourney. And, you can't really measure this, but it has to be big for the team's confidence, especially a player like Haley Troup, who had a breakout game. 
    It's still a tough schedule for this team. Those two aforementioned games. Georgia, at Kentucky, at LSU, Tennessee at home. 12-4 is possible. A .500 record gets them into the NCAA Tournament. Win 11 or 12 and maybe you're hosting the first two rounds. 
    If Alabama and Clemson play for championship next year who wins? I'm hoping Bama's loss means years of mediocrity.
    Well, if Alabama gets into the championship game that's not mediocre. 
    Let's not count out the Tide. How would you like to be one of Saban's assistant coaches this week? They'll be back and probably as good if not better than they were this year. It's possible we're watching two simultaneous dynasties. Like the Lakers and Celtics in the 1980s, when they combined for eight championships over nine years. 
    But Dabo has a monster program going at Clemson. They're going to have to replace that D-line, but as long as Trevor Lawrence around, they'll be a co-favorite. 
    Since Jontay Porter can't play this year and most likely will go pro, does he do anything with the team now? I haven't seen him on the bench at home games, but I assume might be somewhere in the arena. Just curious what his connection to the team is at this point.
    He's been on the bench for a couple games, including the Braggin' Rights Game. He's not at many practices to my understanding. He was in Colorado the other day, presumably getting some treatment on his knee. That's not uncommon for a player who's out with a season-ending injury to be on his own schedule apart from the team.
  • OK, friends. Time is up for this week. We'll chat again next week. Look for hoops coverage from Columbia, S.C., on Saturday, assuming the first great snow of 2019 doesn't keep me grounded tomorrow.
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