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. Thursday.

    Greetings, my Mizzou chatters. Thanks for joining today. I'll be here for the next couple hours. Eli Drinkwitz is hosting a Zoom conference for the media at 1, so I'll have to depart the chat in time to visit with the coach. Bring on your questions.
    Assuming we play some football. What new frosh or redshirt removed players are you excited to see
    I look at the offensive skill positions first and foremost. Can young receivers like CJ Boone and Maurice Massey make an impact? JJ Hester and Jay Maclin from the freshman class? Can freshman running back Elijah Young carve out a role in the offense behind the two established veterans? Jalani Williams is one guy in the secondary they might want to groom to take over for one of the senior safeties.
    Where are mizz women's softball and basketball seated in sec conference?
    Not sure I understand your question. You mean where do those programs rank among SEC programs? Until this past season the women's basketball team was just outside of the elite tier of teams in the SEC. This was a transition year for Pingeton's team. If the transfers she's brought in are instant impact players and her freshmen develop into the stars they've shown the potential to become, then the Tigers can get back to challenging the top programs in the SEC (South Carolina, Mississippi State) and be squarely in that next rung, along with Kentucky, Texas A&M and Tennessee.
    As for softball, the team was off to a great start and has the makings of being a perennial top 25 program once again under Anderson. The SEC is loaded. No reason this program can't be an SEC contender like it was most seasons under Earleywine. 
    Hi Dave. Mizzou is considering starting school on August 12th and ending around Thanksgiving. For football do you think this helps starting on schedule? For basketball do you think not starting basketball until the second semester is possible? Thanks
    I'm not sure there's a great advantage or disadvantage for the football program on the proposed schedule change. If classes do indeed start Aug. 12 and some of those are on campus, that means there should be a much stronger chance of having a football season this fall. 
    If students are on campus through Thanksgiving, the only remaining regular-season football game is on Black Friday in Kansas City. So I'm not sure there would be any difference in student attendance for that game either way. 
    I haven't heard any strong case made for delaying the start of basketball season until the second semester. If MU is able to hold on-campus classes starting in August and the semester unfolds as planned without a severe virus outbreak on campus or in Columbia, I would think you could still start the basketball season on time. 
    I just wanted to say that Coach Drink, Coach Martin, and the rest of the Mizzou players, coaches, and administrators have made me proud to be a Mizzou alum. On another note, with all that is going on I feel it is very important that anyone who wants access to the stories in the Post can get it. To that end, I would be interested in donating some online subscriptions. Is there any way I can do that?
  • Yes, email me at Dmatter@post-dispatch.com and I can put you in touch with the right people. That's very generous and much appreciated.
  • Here are some links to some stories from the past few days ... 
    I talked to four former Mizzou players from the Pinkel years who are now educators - and with one exception - high school football coaches to talk about how they're discussing the what's happening in the country with their players. Really insightful stuff here from some of the smartest, most impressive young men I've covered at Mizzou: Will Franklin, Robert Steeples, Lorenzo Williams and De'Vion Moore. 

    Former Mizzou players, now high school coaches, lead their teams by listening first

    STLtoday.com: Amid coast-to-coast protests for racial equality, former Tigers-turned-coaches like Robert Steeples and Will Franklin keep their players engaged.
  • Not totally MU sports related, but what's it like in COMO now? I know just south of STL it's still weird, not crowded, masks, nowhere to go eat, etc. But in the rural areas it's normal day to day life. Just curious how it feels in COMO. Every time I've ever been there it's for an event so it's insane.
    The students aren't here en masse, so the town is not as busy and active this time of year under normal circumstances, but people are still wearing their masks in public at stores and restaurants. My family has only eaten out once since restaurants opened up - shout out to Booches! - but we do carry out a couple times a week and restaurants are abiding by the capacity rules and have their share of customers at dinnertime. My son's little league season just started this week. Pools are open. It's starting to feel like summertime. I hope we're not rushing the timeline, but as long as we're not, things will gradually start to get back to normal.
    Dave - Any word on when there will be the SEC coaches media day for football? I always look forward to it. Thank You
    The SEC has not canceled the event yet. It's scheduled for July 13-16 in Atlanta. Most of the other conferences have scheduled or suspended their in-person media days and will shift them online. The SEC will have to make a decision soon. It's scheduled to be in Atlanta at the College Football Hall of Fame, which sustained considerable damage to the first floor/entrance when protests turned violent last week. 
    I haven't booked a trip to Atlanta yet. We'll see what happens. 
    Dave - Any word on how Daniel Parker is doing with recovery from his eye problems? He will be missed if he is not in the rotation. Thank You
    Drinkwitz will meet with reporters today and I'm sure he'll be asked about Parker. He doesn't give very specific info when it comes to injuries, so I wouldn't expect a very thorough answer. We'll see.
    This compliment is a couple of weeks late as I have missed the recent live chats. Just want to say thank you for the outstanding article about the impact of the pandemic on the non prime revenue sports at Mizzou. So very insightful and made me that much more determined to follow and support those sports also.
  • Thanks for the note and more important thanks for reading.
    Dave - Since I have never seen a football game in which Coach Drinkwitz was the head coach and/or offensive coordinator, I'm not sure what makes his offense so good or what it looks like. Do you have any insight or knowledge of what we can expect? Thank You
    He describes his base system as a mix between Gus Malzahn's spread offense and Bryan Harsin's pro-style offense that relies on motion, shifts and multi-personnel packages. Drink's teams have generally relied on one primary running back in a downhill rushing attack. He calls it a QB-driven offense. That's not exactly revolutionary, but he can tilt the offense in the direction of the QB's strengths. He's had pocket passers guide a vertical passing game. He's had running QBs who have added more run-pass option/zone-read schemes, too. What I found most interesting this spring - the very brief spring - was he described his system as a "game-plan specific offense." Every coach has a different game plan every week, but I interpreted that label as we can expect to see different looks, different schemes each week. 
    Do you know if all mizzou athletes will go through frequent and college paid covid-19 testing during trainings and the relevant sports season? If so will the college offer the same extensive and no cost testing to faculty, staff and the student body ?
    I don't know the frequency of the tests, but Mizzou has made a dramatic shift in plans on testing. For two weeks, MU insisted that only symptomatic athletes or athletes coming from "hot spots" would be tested before they report for voluntary workouts next week. MU believed it was a waste of money to test every athlete with the risk that one could catch the virus a day later and pass it along to teammates. That policy decision came directly from the advice of the school's medical experts. In recent days, though, MU has completely shifted gears and has decided to test EVERY athlete before workouts begin for their specific team. I was told by a trusted source last night that this decision came from the top of the university power structure. Those tests are not cheap. This will be a major expense for the athletics department. Will the university pitch in and help athletics pay for those tests? I'm not sure. If not, MU may need more cuts to its athletics budgets to afford more testing.
    Dave - Do you think Coach Drink will use a two quarterback system or rely on one? Thank You
    I would expect one quarterback, just based on his history.
    Dave - Can we expect Bannister to be our new Tommy Saunders, T.J. Moe, etc?. He plays with a great deal of intelligence and always seems to get open. Thank You
    Tommy and TJ were different types of receivers. Both were quicker and stronger than they were fast and big, but Tommy played on the outside and TJ was a slot receiver. Bannister was a slot receiver last year and that's where he lined up during the spring. He was MU's best receiver by season's end last year and I would think he'll have a good chance to start or be a core part of the rotation this year, unless some of the newcomers prove to be better, more consistent leading up to the season.
  • When are the two wide receivers from east stl supposed to say where they are going to school?
  • They haven't set any dates for their commitments.
  • Dave - Do you see any shortage of play makers on offense besides Larry Roundtree? I understand the transfer receiver coming from Virginia Tech is good. Thank You
    Damon Hazelton, the receiver from Virginia Tech, is by far the most accomplished receiver on the roster and one of the most accomplished wideouts in the SEC. Otherwise, outside of Rountree and Tyler Badie, this team doesn't have any established SEC playmakers. Jalen Knox had a very promising freshman season. His play tailed off last year. Maybe he rebounds this year and becomes a more potent outside threat. To have an above-average offense, Mizzou will need contributions from playmakers who haven't done much at this level to date.
    3 OK St FB players tested positive for Covid 19. This presents a lot of questions as athletes are allowed back on campus. Are players being tested on a daily basis? Since the NBA rapidly down their season in early March when one guy tested positive, how will college FB handle this situation as we contantly keep hearing about a second outbreak? Does each school have their own policy, each league or the the entire NCAA. Seems like there are a lot of hurdles that need to be cleared before the season starts if it ever does. Not the least of which is can college FB survive finacially with only 25% capacity allowed into stadiums if and when the season actually does start.
    I touched on the testing topic a bit earlier. There is no NCAA policy on testing. There is no conference policy on testing in the SEC. Instead, the SEC's medical task force (14 doctors from each school) have composed guidelines for testing, quarantining and other preventive measures. But it's up to each school and their medical experts to decide each school's policy. I suspect the three positive tests at Oklahoma State impacted Mizzou's change in stance on mandatory testing.
    Dave,
    Mizzou's first four games should tell us a lot about where the program fits in the 2020 SEC-E. It would be exciting to head to Tennessee 4-0. South Carolina played a brutal schedule last year and was better than their 4-8 record. After losing to Mizzou they beat UK & UGA. (The Mizz game was closer than the final score indicated). USC lost their best players on both sides of the ball to the draft. Do you like their QB Hilinski? Can Drink win in Columbia East two years in a row?
    I was impressed with Hilinski early on last year, though he really struggled against Mizzou's pass rush. That won't be an easy game by any means. South Carolina has to play with some desperation this year, more of an edge, if they want to keep their head coach. A 4-0 start would be ideal for Mizzou and very possible. I'm not sure we really know enough about Drinkwitz's team to expect the Tigers to march into Williams-Brice and win their first SEC road game under a new regime.
    i was the guy that loved to chirp on Nebraska football and other programs (USC, FSU) as never getting back to the level they were due to various changes in the college scene (weights, recruiting, etc.). Then after watching the Norm SEC film, it clicked in my small brain - maybe Mizzou basketball is like NE football, never to return to the sold out arena every conference game, crazy crowds, and full lower bowl seats. And just a delusional fan base keeps hoping to return to glory. Your thoughts?
    In Martin's first year, Mizzou sold out of basketball tickets for every game. Now, a lot of that was related to Porter Mania, but there was genuine excitement and buy-in from fans just three years ago. The Mizzou fan base is still there. They just need a reason to invest. That's the culture Sterk and all his coaches face now. The fan base hasn't evaporated, but they're not going to buy in (at least not en masse) until there's tangible reasons to invest. 
    Can you rank the top 5 running backs and top 5 wide receivers in your time covering thre Tigers? A couple of us are having a polite argument about the best players we've seen. Thanks!
  • I'll take a stab at it. 
    Receiver (are we not counting tight ends?)
    1. Jeremy Maclin
    2. Danario Alexander
    3. Justin Gage
    4. Bud Sasser
    5. TJ Moe
    In the running: J'Mon Moore, L'Damian Washington, Emanuel Hall, Will Franklin, Tommy Saunders
    Running back
    1. Devin West
    2. Henry Josey
    3. Zack Abron
    4. Tony Temple
    5. Derrick Washington
    In the running: Damarea Crockett, Larry Rountree, Kendial Lawrence, 
    Dave, time to put on the prediction cap. If you had to place a percentage chance on if the football season starts on September 5 what would it be? Also, what are the chances there are fans in the stands that same game?
    I believe the SEC would start the season tomorrow if it could. So right now, on June 4, I expect there to be a football season. I'm not putting it at 100 percent, but all the wheels are in motion to have a season. As things stand right now, I expect there to be fans allowed at games. Not to full capacity. Maybe not even at 50 percent. Mizzou is preparing for multiple scenarios. They're looking closely at the possibility of 50-percent capacity. The real motivation for having a season is the need to sell tickets. It's not the same as MLB or NBA or NHL where those leagues know they can survive financially without fans. Colleges need to sell tickets.
    We have talked about the limits in the stands - what about on the sidelines? Surely there will be some complexities in determining how many can suit up and stand along the sidelines. You can quarantine the players - what about the refs and support? Will be interesting to see how all this works out.
    Yes, I would think there will be some guidelines for the sideline and maybe fewer people allowed. Too early for the NCAA and conferencs to finalize any rules just yet.
    Cole Garrett. Has he signed with a pro team?
    He signed with the Tennessee Titans.
    The Drinkwitz zoom meeting has started. I'll have coverage. Thanks for joining this week. I'm on furlough next week so we'll chat again in two weeks. Talk to you then!
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