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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Thanks for the note and more important thanks for reading.
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.
I would expect one quarterback, just based on his history.
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.
They haven't set any dates for their commitments.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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!