Mizzou chat with Dave Matter

Mizzou chat with Dave Matter

Bring your Tigers basketball, football and recruiting questions, and talk to Mizzou beat writer Dave Matter in a live chat starting at 11 a.m. Friday.

    Good morning, friends. Hopefully you're all safe and sound, practicing your social distancing and washing your hands. The P-D's Columbia bureau is more crowded than usual for a weekday mid-morning, so bear with me if there are any disruptions. I'll be here for the next couple hours to talk all things Mizzou or whatever else is on the brain.
    Hi, Dave...How many wrestlers are going to make your Best of Mizzou list?
    Between 2 and 28. No spoilers!
    But you're going to have to wait for a while to get to the wrestlers.
    I was hoping to have No. 28 posted before the chat, but it should be up early this afternoon. 
    Any thoughts on Tyler Macon? What does he tell us about Coach Drink's QB direction?
    I've heard nothing but really good things about Macon. (I've had two phone interviews arranged with him and I'm still waiting for him to get back to me. We'll try again soon.)
    Obviously he put up outstanding numbers as a junior. He considers himself a pass-first quarterback but he clearly brings running ability to the job. He seems to fit the modern mold for a quarterback in the kind of pro-spread blend offense that Drinkwitz runs. He's got the tools to complete passes vertically and horizontally but can make plays with his legs, too. More than anything his commitment was enormous for Drinkwitz and the program's credibility. We all know MU hasn't always had success recruiting not just the St. Louis area but East St. Louis HS specifically. It's one thing to land a lineman or a receiver from a major program, but when you get a QB, who by all accounts is a natural leader, that can create momentum within a locker room and within a community and maybe lead to more commitments, not just this year but future years. 
    I realize it's mostly a guess, but do you think we'll see any more transfers from the basketball team besides Mario Mckinney? The transfer market is starting to heat up now.
    I have not heard anything substantial on any possible transfers. Odds are, most teams will have some turnover. But I don't like to speculate on any individual player. This is a challenging time for coaches because with classes moved online and all team activities shut down for another four weeks, teams can't have direct contact with their players. That leaves a lot of other influencers able to reach players and possibly sway them one way or another. At the same time, potential transfers can't visit other campuses for the next four weeks - at the minimum - during the NCAA's newly imposed dead period.
    What are you hearing about the one time transfer rule? Still in play or likely on hold? If/when it happens, do P5 coaches start recruiting the top non P5 kids more than high school kids?
  • There was some traction for the rule to pass, but it seems like it might take a backseat to all the other issues that have popped up in the wake of the virus. But there seems to be enough support behind the one-time transfer waiver that it'll become reality eventually. I'm not sure teams will all follow the same strategy when it comes to taking advantage of the rule, but the coaches with the most to lose are at the Group of Five/mid-major level. Their best players will have countless suitors from the big boys. That transfer door will swing both ways. You'll have young bench players at the high majors who don't want to wait for playing time ... and you'll have the best of the best at the mid-major level who want to play on bigger stages. You'd like to think it'll all even out, but like anything there will be winners and losers. The smart coaches will make the rule change work in their favor. But everyone will be impacted one way or the other.
    Who's development is most crucial for next year's basketball team to be successful?
    Great question. Start with Tilmon. Coach after coach in the SEC has made the comment that he's an All-SEC player when healthy. Well, staying healthy is part of the deal. But then he has to make good on all the promise. If he returns and comes close to matching his potential, then Mizzou is a much better team. 
    Two, I'd go with Kobe Brown. He's got tremendous upside as a slasher and scorer from the wing. You can still start him at the four and them move him around the perimeter based on matchups, but he showed glimpses this year of being a threat. 
    What are you hearing from HS coaching staffs in how Drink is recruiting the state of Missouri with an hands on deck approach. Is it positive, negative how about insight not waiting on PM to post an article
    I'm not sure what you mean by PM posting articles?
    As for Drinkwitz in the high school coaches, they've all been very positive. I've talked to a handful and they were impressed with the initial sweep he did through the St. Louis area and the early impression he made and the emphasis he's put on the state. That's really no different than what we heard from coaches initially when Pinkel and Odom took over. Over time, he'll have a track record that he has to either defend or promote on the recruiting trail. But so far, the early returns are very positive. 
    Hi Dave. I know it’s very hard to predict the NCAA, but what are your thoughts about whether the baseball and softball have served their penalties during this truncated season? Thanks
  • I can't imagine the NCAA committee members sitting down and analyzing the situation and coming up with the decision to extend the penalty to 2021. I'm not saying the NCAA is capable of compassion or common sense, but how can you go through this global pandemic and then decide to further punish a team of student-athletes, their coaches and their fans for another year - with the kind of punishment that could have an impact that transcends far beyond this year or next? From a legal sense, the NCAA's final decision on the appeal explicitly stated that the baseball and softball teams cannot play in the postseason for the 2019-20 academic year. Now, if the language said something along the lines of "the postseason that follows the 2019-20 regular season" then the NCAA gives itself some wiggle room to argue in favor of pushing the ban to 2021. But that's not the case. It would be incredibly unjust.
    Would the baseball or softball teams have impact players back if Sr's decide to play one more year?
  • The softball team has only one current senior, pitcher Eli Daniel. She's been a closer/reliever for the most part.
    The baseball team has five seniors: INF/DH Peter Zimmermann, SS Austin James, LHP Art Joven, RHP Lukas Veinbergs, RHP Spencer Juergens.
    Zimmerman was having an All-SEC caliber season. James was coming on strong with the power lately. Joven was a valuable arm. Will they all come back if given another year of eligibility? Hard to say. A lot could depend on the MLB draft. Baseball's scholarship situation is always tricky. I've said a few times this week that for college baseball coaches, splitting 11.7 scholarship among 20-something players is a 1,000-piece puzzle every year. If you suddenly give every player another year of eligibility, plus add your signed newcomers and have the complexity of the MLB draft and its uncertainties, you're talking about a 10,000-piece puzzle. That's why baseball coaches are voicing some mild opposition to the concept of restoring everyone's eligibility. Because they just don't know how it would work. What if you promised one of your newcomers a full scholarship but now you don't have that full scholarship because two players on half scholarship want to return for 2021? This could really complicate the process. 

    How was the WNBA impressed with Sophie , after her first year, is she considered as someone with potential to succeed in the league?

    Also, Cartwright be considered to the UCF , what does it say about Mizzou? Is he not happy in his position? Or UCF is considered a step above Mizzou?
    All I know about the Cartwright situation is he's considered a candidate at UCF. It's a huge school with one of the biggest enrollments in the country. I imagine it would be able to pay him a lot of money. Better weather, too. 
    Should he leave I wouldn't consider that good or bad when it comes to Mizzou athletics. He's been supportive of athletics but doesn't really get too involved one way or another. 
    As for Sophie, she had a promising rookie year in a league that can be very tough for first-year players to even make rosters. She had a slow start but got more productive as the year went on. I'm not sure she'll develop into a starter or All-Star anytime soon, but if she can become a more consistent shooter and reliable defender then she'll have a niche in the league. She's not going to be an elite athlete at that level or a real prolific scorer like she was in college but can make a career by being a valuable role player. 
    Mizzou football in 2020: Seven (or more) wins? Six (or fewer)? What sayeth thee?
    Six should be the minimum expectation. Anything less will be disappointing and will raise some doubts and concerns about Drinkwitz. Sounds harsh, but he didn't exactly inherit a broken program. Last year's team underachieved and was still bowl eligible. Anything less than six is a troubling step backward - especially given a fairly tame schedule. 
    Seven is possible. Maybe eight. So much will depend on the development at quarterback. If Shawn Robinson - or whoever wins the job - is among the top half quarterbacks in the SEC, then Mizzou should have the running game and the defense to win seven games and play in a mid-tier bowl game. 
    Dave, if unemployment shoots up to 20% and even if they open up bars and restaurants in a couple months the virus will come back and we will have another perhaps smaller outbreak. Did we ever get rid of measles outbreaks until we got the vaccine?

    How many people will want to drive 220+ miles round trip to sit in stands with thousands of people in late August from St. Louis or other areas of the state?

    It will likely ruin most of the season unless there is some miracle drug and still the economic disaster with unemployment claims shooting up to millions soon.
    I'm not qualified to make those predictions. I'm not sure anyone can see the future that well. I think it's worth wondering (worrying) if there will be a 2020 college football season. If this virus is still spreading this summer, colleges are not going to open their 100,000-seat stadiums to potential carriers and patients. They're not going to endanger the athletes and the fans if this is still a threat. 
    I pray we don't get there and see these numbers start to level off soon. Hopefully our leaders make the right calls to get us there and citizens do their part to keep the virus from spreading. 
    It looks like defensive backs are heavily coached, more assistants than offense. Do you anticipate dropping a secondary coach on defense and adding an offensive coach in this next year?
    No. Ryan Walters coaches the safeties, David Gibbs coaches the cornerbacks and Charlie Harbison coaches the hybrid strong safety position, while helping with the rest of the secondary. 
    With Drinkwitz being so invested in the offense, it seems he wants more coaches on the defensive staff to handle that side of the ball. (Five assistants on defense, four on offense, one special teams.) Drinkwitz is the offensive coordinator and also essentially serves as the QB coach. When I asked him a couple weeks ago about his role with the defense, he even referred to that side as "they."
    "I mean, I like to joke around (with the defense) in pre-practice. But I stay in my lane," he said. "I mean, I'm aware of what they're doing. I know what they're doing. But right now in spring, I've got my hands full running the offense. We watched the film all together. We point out effort and technique, but schematically, they worry about what schemes they want to put in. I’m not going to worry about it."

    Your assessment of Drew Lock first season in Denver?
  • He got better as the year went along as a rookie starter. I follow the Broncos pretty closely and watched most of his starts. He'll have a better feel for the job in year two and it looks like he's going to have some better pieces around for him. I was disappointed to see Denver let Connor McGovern leave in free agency, but they spent big on an interior linemen and just signed Melvin Gordon to play running back. I imagine they'll consider a receiver with their first round pick.
    Lock has al the tools - and all the intangibles. He seemingly won over the locker room pretty quickly. He's confident but a hard worker, too. He earned respect within the organization in year one. I expect more in year two. 
    A lot of comments about QB competition seems to assume Robinson will start. Are you hearing this from internal sources or is it just because he has starting experience? Wasn’t Bazelak recruited but the new coaching staff, I would assume That would help his chances? Isn’t he considered more of a strong arm QB and the current staff likes an exciting offense, whereas Robinson is more of a Duel threat? What type of QB works better with the type of offense the new staff run? Also, as Bazelak is recovering from injury this spring does the fact that now Robinson/others can’t get playing time/experience with the 1st team give him a better chance to start? I would hate to see a guy recruited by Georgia transfer out of the program...
    Define "exciting offense." The staff wants the guy who can lead the offense to the most touchdowns and victories. If Bazelak proves to be that guy, then he'll be the QB. But for now, I'd give Robinson the edge based on his combination of experience, health and upside. There was no pecking order in the abbreviated spring - at least not publicly. Drinkwitz didn't allow his quarterbacks to do interviews and barely said a word about them when asked. It'll be a bit of a mystery leading up to the first game, I suspect. But if there's a silver lining to the canceled practices, that should give Bazelak more time to heal and a better chance to compete for the job this summer once he's closer to 100 percent.
    I feel bad for Josh(ua) Christopher that the excitement and planning around his announcement has crumbled because of coronavirus. Must be hard on him.... Maybe we'll find out this weekend that he isn't coming to Mizzou.
    There will be excitement among the fans for the school he picks regardless of the virus, but he's not going to be able to take any visits over the next month - maybe longer.
    I'll piggyback on your Drew Lock response. I'm a lifelong Broncos fan and was thrilled when Denver got him. I thought he was good, but hampered by a completely vanilla offensive scheme unsuited for his talents, and lacking on O line to make the running game work. If he had an Andy Reid-type to work with, I think you would have seen some big numbers. My biggest surprise was seeing how much more accurate he'd become on almost every type of throw. And I was surprised at how many teammates praised his leadership. Those to things bode well for the future, I think, but they need more weapons.
    Reid's offense works a lot better when he's got elite weapons around the receiver. Sutton looks like a legit No. 1 NFL receiver. Noah Fant can get there at the tight end position. They clearly need other receivers to emerge. Lindsay is a playmaker out of the backfield, but I like the addition of Gordon if he's got any productive miles left. He's only had one 1,000-yard season - but he can get you 50 catches, too. I'd like to see one of the Bama receivers in Denver, Jeudy or Ruggs. That could really open up the entire offense.
    OK, folks, slow day here. We'll get back on our Thursday schedule next week. Be sure to check out the latest countdown story of the top 30 athletes I've covered at Mizzou. I think you'll enjoy No. 28.
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