Mizzou chat with Dave Matter

Mizzou chat with Dave Matter

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

    Hello, chatters. I'll be here for the next couple hours to take your questions to talk all things Mizzou.
    Yo, Dave! It looks like Dooley is lining out the
    staples on offense. Do you think MU can continue
    to develop on time of possession and third down conversions
    with more consistency than last year?
    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.
    You've covered your favorite/best spots in the SEC and Big XII but since you've been at this a long time, I thought it might be fun to go non-conference.

    Where I live in the southeast, Clemson has a great atmosphere for football as does (believe it or not) UNC, when the team is good (lots of buzz around Mack Brown's return - the powers that be claim, "He's picking up right where he left off" ... I'll believe it when I see it).

    Out west, when I was a sport anchor, I thought the Univ. of Washington had a great atmosphere and I also really like Washington State - underrated.

    For basketball, there's nothing like Cameron Indoor, though when NC State played at Reynold's Coliseum, that was a close second. What are your favorites?
    Missouri hasn't played many nonconference football games that have been too memorable. Let me think .... I've been to Clemson for a football game a long time ago and that was a great atmosphere. Huge crowd. Loud. Great scene at the stadium. Michigan State, nothing really stands out other than it was freezing. Arizona State? Much warmer. Nothing special about the football atmosphere. 
    As for basketball, I haven't been to nearly as many noncon arenas. Xavier is impressive. Not the biggest gym but the students show up in full force. Arizona was impressive. Students show up hours before tipoff to get their seat. The rest of the crowd was sleepy. Utah? Meh. Nothing memorable. 
    Petrino rumors? Tell us more
    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.)
    Looks like Mizzou made the final two for Eric Williams. What kind of player is he, and how does he fit?
    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.
    I'm a bit concerned about RB depth, if Larry Rountree goes down for an extended period. I know the coaches are high on Badie. But they'll need at least one more - if not two - to make things work (4-deep). Are they sold on Bakare? I wonder why Dawson Downing doesn't get more of a sniff - I realize he's not a 12-carry-a-game back but he is a bit bigger (could help in pass protection) and seems like he could take 2 - 5 carries with some success ... he seems to have decent hands, too. Any thoughts?
  • 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 know it's early to talk about Gibbs
    effect on coverage, but your early
    general observations on the whole MU
    defense would be most appreciated.
    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.
    Dave, Barrett bannister is a factor every time he sees the field. Same with Gicinto, Johnson. Too many slot receivers? Or can Dooley find a way to get a couple of them on the field at once? Seems like a strength on this team could be inside receivers and tight ends...Dooley is a smart guy. Very impressed with him for the most part last year...

    If Mizzou has a good year and the offense is as good as most think, will we see Dooley get some head coaching interest? A bit surprised his name didn’t come up after last season
    You can go four wide and use two slot receivers - but then you don't have a tight end on the field, and a big reason those slot guys can get open and find space to make plays is because of the attention Albert O gets. I'd expect Johnson to get the bulk of the snaps and then Gicinto and Banister split the rest. Receivers need to come out of the game with all the running they do, so there should be chances for those backup guys to come in fresh and make an impact. I'm not sure either of them are big and physical enough to deal with SEC cornerbacks on the outside. They're better as matchup guys on the inside where they can use their speed and quickness to get open against slower defenders. 
    If Missouri has another good year offensively we might see Dooley's named mentioned for some mid-major/Group of Five jobs, but I'm not sure he'd be that appealing as a head coaching candidate at a Power 5 school. There's a big difference between running an offense and running a program, and the last time he ran a program it wasn't pretty. That's  not to say everything that happened a Tennessee was his fault, but I'm not sure an AD is going to hand him a good head-coaching job just because his offense was a hit for two years at Missouri. 
    Dave, heard rumors that Jimmy Mckinney might not be coming to Mizzou. What are your sources saying?
    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.
    Wow! Thanks for the info on 3rd downs, I didn't know Mizzou was at #18 !! I see short but more consistent gains as crucial, yes. - - I know special teams has been a question mark for several reasons. I've always been a
    Coach Hill fan, but do you think MU is prepared to seek JC or grad transfer kicking skills if the walk-ons don't deliver in the summer? or soccer league if necessary.
  • 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.
    Dave- I'm down for Bobby Petrino as our QB coach. Any chance he's actually brought on board?
    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.
    Do you think Tilmon is testing the NBA waters just to get feedback on what he needs to improve this year or do you think he has a shot at being drafted this year? Were you surprised by his announcement?
    I wasn't surprised. There's no harm in getting the feedback.
    That said, I don't think he'll be drafted. What is Tilmon especially good at doing on the floor? He's not a shot blocker. He's got great feet in the low post but he doesn't have a polished offensive game. He doesn't run the floor. He doesn't hit jump shots. Those are all things that 6-10 players are asked to do in some capacity in the NBA. He hasn't learned how to play defense without fouling. He's still a raw college player in some regards.
    I'll be interested to see if he's invited to the NBA Draft Combine. If not, then that's a pretty strong signal that he should return to school. But I think some feedback can be valuable. 
    Hello Dave, I see Missouri going after more and more big bodies in recruiting on the O Line. It seems like Odom and company understand you need to be stout up front to have a chance against the Alabama or LSU's of NCAAFB. That being said I really hope they can land at least one playmaking back in the 2020 recruiting cycle. I know it's early however I feel like there is a good chance Larry 3 Sticks as they call him will jet for the NFL if he has the kind of season a lot of MU fans are expecting/hoping for. I love Tyler Badie but do the coaches see him as a player that could touch the ball 15-25 times a game in the SEC as a feature back. Could you touch on the current RB situation and maybe talk about any possible backs on the roster that could carry this team into the 2020 season with a proper threat lined up in the backfield?
    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.
    With all of Tilmon’s problems with turnovers and foul trouble, I was surprise that he is making himself available, although he has one thing toy can’t teach and that is he is 6’10” and some NBA bottom feeder may be desperate for that. I would be surprised if he actally makes himself available for the draft. A more serious candidate is Chaminade grad Tyler Cook of Iowa who also is making himself available. Have you heard anything about how desirable he is to NBA scouts?
    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.
    Dave, as a matter of info (Matter) :) I'm in Ukraine for years many years, but moving to Bulgaria this summer. You are the #1 source of info and analysis on the msm for Mizzou, in my opinion. SDS (Saturday Down South) cut out internet to the EU, which was my second best source - claiming international rules and laws (??) So, I'm hoping the Post has no such limitations in the near future. Thanks for your professional bearing all the time.
    It's my pleasure and thanks for reading.
  • Would mizzou take another PG this year? I know St Johns lost some recruits when Mullins exited.
    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.
    Any insight to why our special teams has been lacking ? Fatony was awesome and our kicker had a good year. But to get to the next level we need s more consistent regimen
    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.
    you think our receiving yards are spread out this year? Or will one guy lead the pack. Bannister Knox and Nance all could be “that guy”
    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.
    Any other rumblings for grad transfer.

    I can’t see JP returning next season. But I do think Tilmon returns
    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.
    Will the south expansion be done before the season. Are the suites sold out?

    Will the writers move or you all staying up top
    The press box is staying put. They won't want any part of the ink-stained wretches in their sparkling new building.
    The plan is for the facility to be functional for the start of the season. First home game is Sept. 7. 
    I'm not sure about the suites status as of today.
    Isabell has a reasonable season at SLU. You know of a player going back to his old school (left for a few years) and then came back with a new coaching staff?
  • 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.
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