Hello, chatters. I'll be here for the next couple hours to take your questions to talk all things Mizzou.
There's room for improvement but Missouri was really good in both of those areas last year: No. 18 nationally in third down conversion rate (only Alabama and Georgia were better in the SEC) and No. 40 in time of possession, compared to No. 129 and No. 130 the two previous years. Converting third downs comes down to setting yourself up for shorter distances on third down with positive plays on first and second down. That means no penalties, no tackles for loss, no sacks. Mizzou's offense was pretty disciplined last year and that'll have to continue for the offense to be good on third downs again.
Bobby Petrino was in Columbia observing a spring practice in March. That's it. He's close with Garrick McGee. They worked together at Louisville and Arkansas. Odom has not hired Petrino in any capacity. Former Arkansas QB Tyler Wilson was on Arkansas radio this morning saying Petrino was "coaching quarterbacks at Missouri." Maybe he met with the quarterbacks the day he was here. Maybe he's done some consulting with Derek Dooley and McGee, but he's not part of the coaching staff. (Wilson also referred to McGee as Missouri's offensive coordinator, and that's clearly not true.)
He's a perimeter player with good size at 6-6. He's taken a lot of 3s. Decent but far from elite shooter at 37 percent from 3. He's a tremendous rebounder for a guard, one of the best in the A-10 last year for any position. As long as he can defend, he's got the makeup of someone who'd fit into Martin's system.
It's a concern. The good news is Rountree proved last year he can handle 20 carries a game. He does a good job taking care of his body and can deliver blows without getting hurt. He's the single-most important player to this team not named Kelly Bryant. Badie showed some flashes last year. He's smart, quick, fast. He can do a lot of things. He'll block, he'll catch passes, he'll get tough yards. But he's not the biggest guy, so you have to wonder if he can hold up physically with an expanded role. The staff really likes Bakare. He spent the first half of last year on the scout team and the defensive coaches kept telling the offensive coaches how tough and physical he was. He took a beating every day in practice from the No. 1 defense and kept getting back up for more. He'll have to get some touches this year. MU knows it'll have to get Anthony Watkins ready to play - as long as he's got the maturity to see the field immediately as a freshman. Cornell Ford has done a good job the last three years getting freshmen ready to play immediately. Crockett in 2016, Rountree in 2017 and Badie last year. I'd like to see Downing get some chances but it might take an injury or two for him to get carries before garbage time.
I think a lot comes down to the pass rush. Can they generate a rush off the edge so that the secondary doesn't have to spend all day in coverage? The corner tandem of Acy and Holmes have the potential to be as good as any in the SEC. They're experienced. They've got unique size. They've learned to make plays on the ball without getting penalized. But they can't be asked to cover for 8-10 seconds one every pass play.
I presume you mean Mario McKinney? Jimmy's out of eligibility. I hear a lot of things, most of which don't turn out to be true. Cuonzo hasn't indicated there will be any issue with Mario. Freshmen usually move to Columbia in June, so if there's any kind of hold-up I'll report what I know when I can.
I'm not sure there's much of a market for grad transfer kickers. Tucker McCann will be the kicker in 2019. There doesn't seem to be much doubt about that. The punting job is up in the air. MU's got some walk-ons coming in this summer to compete for the job. They've known all along they'd need to bring in a new punter for this year once Fatony's career was done, so they've had plenty of time to prepare for this.
Who are you going to fire? Teams can only have 10 full-time position coaches. He's not on the staff and from what I understand he won't be joining the staff.
I hit on the tailbacks with an earlier question, but I do agree that identifying the talent there is critical because I agree that another big year for Rountree could vault him into next year's draft. It's probably for the best if you're a running back with a lot of mileage on the tires. It's a punishing position, and if you've had multiple 1,000-yard seasons in college - especially in the SEC - you've already put your body through a lot. And if he has another 1,200-yard season this fall, I'm not sure how he'd improve his stock with another college season. Badie, Bakare and Watkins are your top backups for this season, but I agree, this staff would probably like to add a bigger body, more of a feature back in the 2020 class.
I've seen Cook projected as a mid-second round pick, in the same vicinity as Jontay Porter. Cook is an above average athlete at 6-9. Can finish at the rim. Good rebounder, good defender. He doesn't have much of a jumper, so I'm not sure if he's very dynamic on the offensive end.
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Don't think so. You've got Pinson and Dru Smith on the roster now and for 2020-21. McKinney isn't a pure point guard but can handle the ball. It just doesn't seem like a position of need.
It's hard to put a finger on what caused the breakdowns last year. Blocked kicks. Missed PATs and short field goals. Kickoffs out of bounds. Penalties on so many punt returns. One challenge with coaching the special teams is identifying personnel. You have to find guys who want to play on the kickoff and coverage teams, but you also can't just stock up on some gung-ho walk-ons who aren't fast or quick enough to get the job done. And more than anything you need to have really good specialists in place. Are your long-snappers reliable? Do you have the right guy holding on field goals and PATs? It's easy to blame the ST coordinator for plays that break down, but it also falls on the head coach to make special teams a priority in practice every day.
Knox and Nance will start on the outside and Johnson in the slot. I would think Okwuegbunam or Johnson will lead this team in receptions. They know how to get open and I don't think you'll see Bryant taking as many deep shots as Lock did the last few years. Banister and Gicinto are next in line at the slot, but Johnson is clearly the starter. He was outstanding in the Liberty Bowl. If he gives you that kind of output every game he'll be an All-SEC player.
Martin has indicated he doesn't play all 13 guys who are on scholarship, so I don't sense much of an urgency to add a player to the rotation this year. He seems content to add a sit-out transfer. If that's Eric Williams from Duquesne, then that's probably the final piece to the recruiting class. If so, Parker Braun most likely gets the last scholarship. Now, if Tilmon should stay in the draft, you've got problems. There's no pure post player on the roster other than Reed Nikko. But by late May, when Tilmon would have to make his decision, it's too late to go out and find an available impact recruit or transfer who can help you this year, especially if you're in the market for a 6-10 center.
Off the top of my head, no. He was a senior, so he's out of eligibility if you're asking could he resurface at Mizzou.