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 NOON Thursday.

    Good afternoon, chatters. Hopefully we can round the bases without tripping over our feet and put together a nice chat here today. I'll be here for the next couple hours to take your questions.
    I think Jordan Geist just threw away two more passes as I typed in my logon. Anyway, enjoyed the article this morning about the Twin Terrors up front, but we still wonder: Who can be counted on to get the ball to them? Individually, I guess Tilmon is covered because the story says Jontay his ownself will actually be bringing the ball up the court sometimes. So maybe a better question is who's going to get the ball to Jontay? There has been no reportage on Pinson thus far that would cause us to be excited about him.
    I'll have more thoughts from Martin and the players on the site later today, but there's no debate about the point guard or the leader of this team. It's Jordan Geist. He's Cuonzo's guy. He's been especially impressed with his playmaking in the ball-screen offense. Pinson is a backup. He'll see the floor but Geist is the point guard.
    A couple of questions: 1) Locke had quite a few tipped balls against Georgia, and the one missile/interception to Johnson was tough to handle. Do you think Locke struggles more with the underneath throws than he should for being such a tall QB?

    2) Georgia brought the house on the blocked punt. Did it look like a designed play to you or did the Dogs just catch a break? If not for those two plays and the stripped ball from Albert O., we might have had a game like two years ago. It's great having a competitive team to watch. This could be a good year.

    Your notes columns are really well done. Lots good stuff in them.
    First off, let's lose that e at the end of the quarterback's name. He's only started 37 games. 
    I credit Georgia's D-linemen for being active and timing his passes. Lock needs to clean that up because he put on film that if a pass rusher can't beat his block, he can still disrupt the pass at the line of scrimmage. Lock is 6-4 and gets some passes knocked down occasionally. Blaine Gabbert is 6-5 and got balls tipped often. Chase Daniel was barely 6 foot and rarely, if ever, had balls tipped at the line, which says more about Daniel's uncanny accuracy than anything else. Height is overrated when it comes to throwing passes over linemen. It's all about ball placement and arm angle, not height.
    The pass to Johnson was thrown with some heat, but that's no excuse for the receiver not to catch it. It went right to his hands. I've never heard a receiver say after a drop, "Well, the quarterback threw it too hard." 
    On the blocked punt, the blocker on the right side of the wedge barely got out of his stance. If he sticks an arm out and attempts to block anyone, Fatony might get that punt off. Georgia might have seen something on film to attack that gap specifically, but an obvious breakdown from the punt team. 
    Dave, my calculator crashed. Could you tell me what the score would have been minus any points that MIZ gave GA?
    Well, just because Georgia scored a TD off a blocked punt doesn't mean the Dawgs wouldn't have returned the punt for a touchdown or scored an offensive TD on the next series. But if you take away the two non-offensive scores and it all happens in a vacuum with no other changed plays in the game ... then it's an even score. But that's just a hypothetical.
    Have you ever encountered something like what Coach Gundy just pulled at OSU where he threatened reporters with a season long ban if they asked questions about a transfer? I was pretty proud of the students and other paper that called him out on it.
    No, I haven't. There have been times when a PR person alerts me or the rest of the media that Coach X isn't going to talk about a certain subject so don't bother asking, but never with any kind of threat imposed. Gundy made a huge mistake here. First of all, college athletes have no trouble saying "no comment" when they're told to say "no comment." If anything it takes the off the hook for having to address a touchy subject. Also, if these young men can be trusted to handle the pressure of performing for a $100 million organization in front of tens of thousands of fans every week, I think they can handle some possibly uncomfortable questions from reporters. I've covered college sports for 20 years. I've  been around countless reporters who cover college athletes. I can say with confidence the OSU players would have been treated fairly in this case. This wasn't going to be an interrogation. They're adults. They can handle these questions ... or just say "no comment."
    With all of college basketball seemingly going small. Can mizzou truly take advantage of porter and Tillman? Can we win games without much success beyond the arc because of our front court
  • Who said this team won't have success beyond the arc? I don't think anyone expected Kassius Robertson to be a first-team All-SEC player last year ... or Jordan Barnett to lift his 3-point percentage from 30 to 41? This team's best players are Porter and Tilmon, but I'm not convinced the backcourt is going to be a glaring weakness. It's just a bit of an unknown. Porter can hit 3s. His ability to stretch defenses and knock down perimeter shots will take some pressure off the other shooters and clear the floor for Tilmon and others.
    How embarrassing is Ohio State football this year? With the latest "silence" tweet, as a sports/beat writer you've got to be feeling for their beat writers. Thoughts?
  • There are some real pros who cover Ohio State ... and others who are happy to carry Urban Meyer's water. 
    Sometimes when you're close to a subject it's harder to see his warts, but the way Meyer has conducted himself the last few months is hardly shocking. The "silence" tweet was an ultimate case of an athletics department being tone deaf.
    Mizzou Football: I heard on a sports radio show this AM that Mizzou has a "Power Ranking" of #26 in the country...is this team sneaky-good? Kentucky all of a sudden looks like a real threat in the East and Memphis is certainly no slouch...What do you forecast for our next four games @South Carolina, @Alabama, Homecoming vs.Memphis, and home vs. Kentucky? That stacks up as a pretty tough 4-game stretch...no?

    BASKETBALL: I know it's early and practice just started today...but what kind of feeling do you get about this BB team? Can we win 20 games and make the NCAA Tourney? If so...what are the big keys to that happening?
    I don't know what power ranking you're referring to, but I'd have trouble ranking Missouri as high as No. 26 nationally for a team that's best win came against 1-3 Purdue. A win at South Carolina would be huge for this program. It would clearly be the best win of Odom's three seasons, even if Kentucky beats USC this weekend. Otherwise, Mizzou is coming home to play Memphis on a three-game losing streak - and who knows how this team handles that scenario. (Sorry, nobody's touching Bama this year, except for maybe Auburn. I don't give LSU much of a shot, even in Baton Rouge.) Mizzou can't overlook Memphis - and won't as long as Odom is in charge. The Kentucky game will loom large, for both programs. UK has won three straight over Missouri. So far, UK is the more accomplished team this year. When you get UK and Vandy at home in the even-numbered years, you have to take advantage and go 2-0. That's non-negotiable. All that said, the South Carolina game is enormous.
    Hey Dave, here's a question out of left field. Your Twitter header picture. When was that taken and for what game?
    I believe it was 2000 or early 2001. That's my old boss Kent Heitholt on press row, and he was killed on Halloween in 2001, so obviously sooner than then.
    Good Day Dave:
    Could you comment on Derek D play calling. I assume it was the first game that the full playbook was available.
    I liked the play set, and the adjustments to the running game, especially given Hall and Brown were slowed at WR.
    I would like to compliment the O line play as well, overall against a premiere D line, a good performance.
    I repeat what has been said often, I appreciate your view and insight.
  • Nah, the full playbook was there for Purdue. Missouri isn't good enough to use a streamlined playbook for another Power 5 team. 
    Without Hall able to run deep routes against Georgia, I thought Dooley called a good game, leaning on the running game and throwing short, intermediate passes. The wheel route to Badie was drawn up perfectly. The screen pass to Rountree was a great call and great timing - but he dropped the pass. He seems to be pushing all the right buttons.
    Of the group of guards Mizzou will run out there this year, who is most likely to fill the voids of Barnett and Robertson's 3 point ability? We got 30+ points to find somewhere, minus the added production we should see from Tilmon and Porter of course.
    They'll count on Watson to contribute offensively. I'm not sure how much he'll shoot from deep, but Pickett is going to play. He's the first newcomer Martin mentions, consistently. He's already a favorite of the head coach. Martin doesn't get too consumed with offense. That will come along. He's all about defense. Guys will earn minutes if they commit to defense and rebounding. And don't discount Porter's 3-point shooting. There's no rule that says your tallest player can't be your best perimeter shooter. (It's worked for the Dallas Mavericks for more than a decade.) Unless one of these young guards emerges as a reliable shooter immediately, this team is going to be a bit unconventional offensively. But that's OK. That's what makes it interesting.
    Dave a follow up: I appreciate that mizzou might be better beyond the arc than what I first implied but there’s just a lot of unknowns. I was just wondering more in general do you think a team like mizzou can win on a consistent basis if hypothetically they shoot poorly from 3. Can a duo like Porter and Tillman dominate a game enough to offset poor shooting if need be? Thanks!
    They're going to need perimeter shooting at some point. But 3-point shooting isn't really a specialty any more in today's game. It's a requirement. It has to be part of your game unless you're a classic post player - and this team has only two of those, Tilmon and Nikko. Geist can shoot 3s. Santos can shoot 3s. Porter, Watson, Pickett, Pinson. You don't need multiple 40-percent shooters, but enough guys who can make the right shots at the right time. Just last year I can think of a handful of really good teams that weren't elite 3-point shooting teams. Michigan, Florida State, Cincinnati, Kentucky, Texas Tech. Martin doesn't seem worried about how this team will score points.
  • Have you scrutinized the DE's in the GA game? I see the front four as real good against the run in all four games. But the DE's are not contributing to the pass defense which gives the QB's more time to find the open man. Have the Freshmen DE recruits played?
  • Tre Williams got into the backfield a few times against Georgia - and got one really good shot on Fromm that had UGA fans howling for a penalty. Nate Anderson got some pressure in this game. They're just not getting sacks and not consistently squeezing the pocket. This was a concern going into the season. Hardly a surprise. They just don't have elite, established pass-rushers. Going into the Georgia game Odom said the two freshmen were "days away" from playing, but they didn't see the field. I don't know what to expect from Jeffcoat and Hansford. I think it's easy to say on a Tuesday that they'll figure into the rotation ... but then in the heat of the moment on a Saturday during the game, they tend to stick with the trusted veterans.
    Rumors are swirling that Jake Fromm beat the blitz. How long does it take for a new d-coordinator to get feel for calling defenses? maybe it's not the calls so much as the players not getting it done? There were some nice plays made by a few Georgia receivers that get them comfortably in the lead and each time the MU defender was looking the wrong way. Again, coaching or the players?
  • Rumors? The game was played in front of an actual audience, so we actually have a body of evidence to base our opinions, not rumors. Fromm is a really good quarterback. He came into the game completing 80 percent of his passes. He only completed 56 percent of his passes, worst mark of the season by far - and one of the worst of his career. But he hit on three big plays where UGA protected him well and his receiver outplayed the defender to get the ball. On the TD to Riley, Sparks went for the ball instead of settling for the touchdown-saving tackle. Bad call. On another, Acy made a lazy tackle attempt and didn't get Holloman out of bounds. And on the deep ball to Hardman, Georgia took advantage of a favorable matchup in the slot and Hardman got Bledsoe to bite on the corner route and he switched to a post and got wiiiiiiide open. So, clearly those players made mistakes. I can't imagine they were coached to make those plays. Missouri's secondary got beat - and a better pass rush would have helped. 
    The defense made progress from the previous week, but Georgia has better receivers than MU has DBs. This was a mismatch. 
    With Pingeton's decision to rely on speed, quickness and penetration, do they have enough athleticism to pull it off and compensate for the loss of Porter and Fredricks inside? Looking at them against FGCU, I'd say no. Or do you think the magnificence of Cunningham could lead them to a Sweet 16 run? My thoughts is that we are looking at a bubble berth into the NCAA.
  • Really? A bubble team? Missouri is going to be preseason top 15, probably picked third or fourth in the SEC. Porter did not have a good junior year. Frericks is a much bigger loss for this program. I think this approach can work. Cunningham can play anywhere. Aldridge can afford to shoot more and she's a solid point guard. Grace Berg is going to help this team, and Haley Troup will provide some 3-point shooting. Amber Smith is the key. If she can rebound and play some post defense and take another step offensively, this can be another strong season.
    Will MU have to score 40 points the rest of the season to win any more games the rest of the season? I was hopeful after the first 2 games that the defense might be coming around and could hold its own this season. Georgia scores lots of points against almost every team. Allowing 37 points against Purdue is the reason I ask the question. I assume Alabama will ROLL ove Mizzou. I have hope Mizzou can compete at SC, but the defense will have to turn this thing around quickly to get to the goal and f .6 wins or more. I’m hoping by the time Memphis comes to COMO in the middle of October that there won’t be a repeat of what happened 2 years ago at homecoming when Middle Tennessee st came to town
  • Missouri has eight games left. Seven are winnable. No doubt. South Carolina is beatable, but it'll take Mizzou's best game of the year so far. Memphis can score points. That could be a shootout. Kentucky, Florida and Vandy won't be easy, but, again, beatable. Tennessee and Arkansas are the worst teams in the league - and Tennessee might be the most dysfunctional Power 5 team outside of Rutgers. The defense has to build on last week's first half. The offense can't be so reckless with the ball. Without Hall healthy, Lock needed his other receivers to raise their game. They let him down with the drops and fumble. If MU's real defense is closer to the first half vs. Georgia than the first half at Purdue, then this team can still have a strong season.
    Tempering how high a talent potential the Mizzou QB is right about now, what bowl game is probably the best case scenario for this year's squad?
  • I doubt Missouri makes the Citrus Bowl, which takes the best SEC team outside of the Playoff & Access bowls. Then it comes down to the SEC Pool of Six: 
    Outback Bowl (Tampa, FL) vs. Big Ten
    TaxSlayer Bowl (Jacksonville, FL) vs. Big Ten/ACC
    Music City Bowl (Nashville, TN) vs. ACC/Big Ten
    Texas Bowl (Houston, TX) vs. Big 12
    Belk Bowl (Charlotte, NC) vs. ACC
    Liberty Bowl (Memphis, TN) vs. Big 12
    Mizzou just played in Houston, so any of the others would be fine destinations. Nashville and Memphis would be the easiest to reach for fans in Missouri. Liberty Bowl vs. Oklahoma State or TCU? That could be fun. Or Music City vs. Michigan State or Iowa or Miami or Virginia Tech? Lots of good possibilities. 
    Is Harry Ballard still with the team? If not, is it known why not?
    I'm told he's in school but hasn't been cleared to rejoin the team. As I reported in August, he was being investigated for a disciplinary matter. It's been out of the team's hands.
    Great point on the defense, with that being said, do you get the sense Martin is excited about this team's potential defensively? Just from a numbers perspective it appears we should have the dept at the guard position to get after teams in the backcourt more than the depleted team from last year could, for obvious reasons.
    Yes, this team is more athletic on the wings. There's no reason they shouldn't be better defensively, especially if Tilmon can stay on the floor for more minutes.
    Are the Tiger basketball coaches working with Tilmon on the way he sets up for position down low on offense, the way he sets screens, and eliminate his attempts to block opponent shots behind the 3 pt line. In most games last year Tilmon accumulated 2 early fouls in the first half and had to sit out. Sitting on the bench doesn’t do Mizzou any good. You want a guy with Tiilmon’s height in the game as long as possible. Even if he only contributes 10 points a game, he can be an intimidating factor the longer he stays in the game. My hope is that Tilmon is working on those flaws from last year and can make a bigger contribution to this year’s team.
  • Yes, it's something they work on all the time. The offensive end can be frustrating for Martin because Tilmon is taught to duck his frame into the post to absorb contact, but he's so strong that he more often than not moves the defender because he's so strong - and often gets whistled for a foul. It's a major emphasis with the staff. Tilmon starts practice with three fouls. They want him to adjust his approach, stay conscious of the foul factor without letting it take away his intensity and toughness.
    Early in the Georgia game a Georgia player grabbed MUs No. 70’s face mask and his helmet came off. The Georgia player was penalized and no. 70 did not half to leave the game for one play. I agree with the call, I just am questioning what the purpose of the rule that a player whose helmet comes off must leave the game for one play. The 300 pound lineman on both sides are hitting each other hard on every play. Sometimes a player’s helmet comes off because of the collision. What problem does this rule solve?
  • The rule is in place to encourage players to tighten their helmet for safety purposes. Before the rule, players had a habit of loosening their chin straps for comfort but they put their head at risk for injury.
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