Hey folks, let's get this week's chat started. Much to discuss, I'm sure.
One quick note: The Mizzou men's basketball team is opening its practice for 30 minutes today starting at 1 p.m., so I'll have to cut out of here shortly before then.
You mean besides Mizzou Arena? An away game?
Fire a guy because he wasn't cut out to be a head coach for a guy who's never been a head coach? I don't see Jim Sterk making that kind of move. Yes, it worked for Georgia with Kirby Smart, but Smart is a Georgia alum, and the fans there looked past his lack of HC experience because of his connection to the program.
I'm going to lean toward Puryear. The staff likes his toughness and leadership. I think his role is more clearly defined than Barnett's role. Is Barnett a shooting guard? Is he a stretch four in a smaller lineup? Can he guard the perimeter effectively? Can he capitalize on Porter attention on the wing? I'm just not sure how Barnett fits in. He's a streaky shooter, and if he's not hitting shots from outside, where does he contribute most effectively?
It's never just one factor when the results are poor, especially when you see varying results from week to week. The offense looked pretty impressive last week, especially compared to the three previous games. Did the coaches get smarter over the bye? Did the players get more talented? Did the offense that played well down the stretch last season struggle against South Carolina, Purdue and Auburn because they lost their skills over the offseason? On defense, I think there's a severe lack of established talent on this team. That's not a surprise. I said the same thing going into the season. Maybe some of the younger players will develop, but right now, the veteran talent on this defense isn't good enough to compete for the SEC East. Other than Terez Hall and Terry Beckner Jr., I'm not sure another defensive starter would start for another SEC team based on this year's results. Roster attrition is a big factor. Some under-the-radar recruits didn't pan out. Some high-profile recruits haven't developed or gotten better. So, as always, it's a combination of recruiting, player development and coaching.
Good question, but I'm not sure there's an answer. You saw some elite throws from Drew Lock at Kentucky. His two deep balls to Hall and the 50-yard laser to Moore were NFL throws, no doubt. Now, of course, Lock needs to clean up his throws in the short to intermediate game. He's got to cut down on the turnovers. He didn't throw any INTs or come close to throwing any INTs at Kentucky. That was the Drew Lock people have been wanting to see. Can he take it one step higher and lead Mizzou to some wins? If he can finish strong - but not strong enough to where he's thinking about leaving for the NFL, which seems like a huge reach at this point - then perhaps Odom can point to Lock and say, "Mizzou will win in 2018 because this guy's making progress as a franchise quarterback." You throw in Crockett, Johnson and Hall and you've got a 2018 nucleus for what should be a potent, balanced attach each week - not to mention an offensive line that now starts two juniors, two sophomores and a redshirt freshman.
I'm not sure he starts, but he'll be in the running with Harris and Phillips. The staff really likes what Geist brings to this team and the way he's attacked the offseason. They're also very high on Harris and his upside at the position. Puryear will be a factor at power forward. They'll lean on his experience playing against college bodies. Phillips will play, but I'm not sure he's on the floor for 30 minutes a game. Harris and Geist will get minutes there. Hard to say how much time reserve bigs Nikko and Smith will play. Martin hasn't been known to play a really deep rotation at his previous stops.
A huge contingent? I didn't see nearly as many Mizzou fans in Lexington or at the game than what usually has traveled to SEC road games. Huge contingent at LSU last year. Huge contingent in years past at Vandy. I saw lots of Mizzou parents of players last week in Lexington but not as big a pocket of black and gold in the stadium as I've seen at a number of games the last few years. I thought Auburn had a much bigger turnout in Columbia a couple weeks back. Most SEC fan bases travel well to road games. I'm not sure it's a real sales pitch for a potential candidate. It can be a good job for plenty of other reasons.
Rupp Arena is an experience because it's so big and a historic place, but as far as a facility it's a dump. Arkansas is a great place to watch a game if the crowd is into it, which they usually are. I haven't been to Ole Miss' new arena yet but looking forward to the trip. A&M is an underrated atmosphere. When the Aggies are good - and they should be this year - that place is loud.
Quick note on something I wanted to clear up: During the SEC Network broadcast of the MU-Kentucky game, the sideline reporter said Odom had Gary Pinkel talk to the team during the bye week. Good story ... but it's not true. I checked with a few folks who would definitely know if Pinkel spoke to the team - not hard to figure this one out, folks - and he did not talk to the team.
Kentucky did have some defensive players leave the game and not return because of injuries, but it sure seemed like there were some conveniently timed cramps in that game. It's funny that you rarely see offensive players cramp up like that. It happens all the time against up-tempo no-huddle teams. Here's the thing I didn't hear many people mention since the Kentucky game: Mizzou severely slowed down the tempo. Lock was letting the clock tick down to 10 seconds on plays. They would sometimes rush to the line and run a play after a first down but Heupel has clearly pumped the brakes on tempo the last two games.
Yes, the UK receiver lowered his head at the last split second, but DeMarkus Acy didn't lower his and still aimed high. That was clear targeting. Now, if Acy had lowered his head and aimed for the receiver's chest, maybe he gets away with it. But he was going in high. The rule is in place to prevent the tackler as much as it is to prevent the ball-carrier and until the rule changes defensive players must adjust.
I'm really confused here. Strong isn't redshirting. He left the team before the first game because he was upset he was fourth string. Lee is starting over Prewett now. Hall and Mason were playing even snaps until Hall got hurt in back to back games. Seven starters on offense were Pinkel recruits. Eight starters on defense were Pinkel recruits.
If you don't have the Pac-12 Network, then no, you won't be able to watch. I have it on my DISH Network plan. Not sure what cable/satellite provider you use but I would think there's a package that carries the network.
Odom will sometimes drop a lineman into coverage but almost always when a linebacker is blitzing. It's still a four-man rush, at minimum, on most plays. Missouri did the same thing when Kuligowski was the D-line coach. Also, Kuligowski didn't call plays. Steckel called zone blitzes. So did Odom in 2015 when the defense was good.
Agree to disagree. Acy went in high and didn't attempt to hit the receiver below the head/neck area. That's going to be called every time. No matter if you disagree with the rule, the players are taught the rule and have to follow it or they risk the penalty.
Hall was wide open. Great play call by Heupel. He flipped Moore and Hall's positions on the field - Moore always lines up left, Hall on the right - and Hall ran a post pattern from the left while Johnson and Moore both ran in the backfield like MU was running a reverse or double reverse. To Lock's credit, he threw the ball about 50 yards while getting hit by a defender. Just threw it a couple yards too far. He can be incredibly accurate on deep balls, but even if you only hit 40 to 50 percent of those, that's a good rate considering the degree of difficulty. I wouldn't say the officials lost the game. Mizzou made some crucial stops in the red zone but Kentucky capitalized with a bunch of field goals. I wouldn't say MU's lack of depth on the D-line is the problem - because outside of one guy the starters aren't very productive. That's just overall talent, not depth. The line gets zero pressure off the edge from the two starting D-ends.
The staff had made it clear in camp and the first few weeks of the season that he needed to be more mature in practice to earn playing time. Tre is a good kid from the encounters I've had with him but a bit of a goofball. He admits that himself. If you don't take practice seriously, you're not going to play. Maybe he's come along the last couple weeks. He had a couple nice moves to get into the pocket at Kentucky. I'd want to see more of him, especially considering what little rush they're getting off the edge from the veterans.