Mizzou chat with Dave Matter

Bring your questions and comments about Mizzou sports, and talk to Post-Dispatch beat writer Dave Matter in a live chat starting at 11 a.m. Thursday.




  • Hello, chatters. Thanks for stopping by today. I'll be here for the next 90 minutes. Have to scoot out just before 1 to catch Kim Anderson's weekly press conference. Let's get to your questions.
  • Any thoughts if Mizzou makes an bowl game after next years season ? Care to think of a record ?
  • Well, after I said this team would win six games maybe seven, not sure I'm the one to listen to on predictions. I'd expect the offense to be better marginally next year assuming they're still running the same system and the same major players are part of the mix. Defensively, this season has been a wreck and they have to fill some major shoes at several positions. The schedule next year has obvious potholes: Auburn at home and Arkansas on the road, being the two biggest tests. Absolutely no gimmes in SEC play with road games at Georgia, Vandy and Kentucky and home games against Tennessee, Florida and South Carolina. When you're the worst team in the league, as Mizzou is right now, every game is a challenge. MU should win at least three noncon games if not four against Missouri State, UConn, Purdue and Idaho. Six wins should always be the baseline minimum expectation. I'd say it's possible for any team in the SEC East because the division is so bad.
  • Hello Dave! Over- under 30,000 on attendance against Arkansas on the day after Thanksgiving? (attended not sold)
  • Good question. I don't expect many students to be at the stadium after the Thanksgiving break. There's a die-hard quotient that will be at every game, rain or shine, 11-0 or 0-11, and I'd put that number around 25,000. Arkansas will have a big contingent. So, I'll go with over. But not by much if Mizzou loses the next two games.
  • You think our men's bball big men will hold up in the sec in regards to physicality. They look awfully thin.

    Btw great article on the Missouri transfers out west.
  • I'll pass along your regards to Jeff Gordon. That was his piece about the transfers, not mine. As for Mizzou's  big men, this team is going to have to play a lot of minutes with a smaller lineup. Russell Woods piles up too many fouls. I don't expect him to be a 30-minute-a-night guy. Nikko and Smith will get minutes off the bench, but I'm not expecting either to be huge impact players. Puryear is closer to 6-6 than 6-8. He'll have to play some minutes at the 5 in a smaller rotation. Wherever he plays, he needs to be a more physical rebounder.
  • Ever wonder what Mizzou would have been if all of those players didn't transfer. Do you think we wouldnt have been so horrible now.

    I.e. Jankovic, Torren Jones, Webster-chan, Dixon etc. would have been nice if we were co tiny ally top 30 at least
  • Well, sure, but some of them didn't "transfer." Their behavior off the court cost them their scholarship, Dixon and Jones especially. Jankovic was a big loss. The Haith staff bungled his situation immensely. Otherwise, I'm not sure they really lost anyone who would have truly changed the direction of the program.
  • How secure is Demontie Cross’ job right now as DC? It is a bit unsettling his job had to be taken over by Odom due to the lack of success. I would think he doesn’t have long at that position.
  • It's a major unresolved question. He was stripped of his play-calling role. Could Odom give it back to him after the season? That would be the unconventional move. You can't keep him at his salary as just a linebackers coach. It's a question Odom will have to answer at the end of the season when he evaluates his staff. I'd be surprised if the staff returns with everyone in the same role next year.
  • Got a question and you're answer can't be BOTH. Why the precipitous decline in attendance? Lousy record and bad football? Or still blowback from Fall 2015 CS1950/boycott/legislature punishment? Will attendance return to normal when football improves, remaining boycotters move on, or never?
  • It's naive to think thousands of people are making the same decision all based on the same exact factor. Humans don't work that way from my experience on this planet. Mizzou's fan base has a core that buys season tickets and shows up for games no matter what's going on with the team. Then there's a fringe element that hops on or off the bandwagon based on how the season is going. Without personally polling every person who's not attending games this year, we have to make reasonable deductions based on logic: The team is coming off a crappy season. The home schedule was not appealing. The boycott turned off a lot of fans. The Odom hire didn't generate much buzz. Every game is televised and it's cheaper to watch bad football at home than pay for tickets, parking and all the other costs. The bandwagon element will resurface when the team is winning and competitive in the division. I don't their return will have anything to do with the players who boycotted. If there are truly fans out there who are putting off attending games until certain black players leave the team, well, that's just ... I'm not sure how to describe such thinking.
  • Hypothetically if a football coordinator or men's bball job opened up would you apply? Seems like you don't need experience these days for jobs.
  • I like my job just fine right now. Though newspaper reporters and college coaches probably have more in common than we realize when it comes to job volatility ... just with different salaries.
  • Division success seems to be cyclical if you go back and look at the history of the SEC but the East is brutal this year, maybe worse than ever before. Do you think it gets better anytime soon? I thought McElwain would be a really good hire for Florida, and while their defense is really good, they still look lost on offense. Butch Jones is a good recruiter but clearly can't coach despite the immense talent he has. kirby smart, barry odom, and will muschamp are in year 1. derek mason is a great defensive coach by vandy's offense is garbage. Mark Stoops hasn't turned the kentucky program around despite some improvement this year.
  • The East-West discrepancy is only cyclical when multiple big boy programs in the same division make a series of failed coaching hires and set the division back . That's what happened in the East with Kiffin, Dooley and Muschamp (at Florida) and other teams all hired coaches with zero HC experience: Mason, Stoops, Smart and Odom ... where in the West, those schools went out and hired more proven coaches, like Bielema and Sumlin. Also, Freeze and Malzahn, who had proven some degree of competency as head coaches. There's this, too: I think the West schools have higher standards when one of their rivals is having elite success. When Bama is winning national titles, Auburn became less patient with Chizik even after he won a national title. LSU gave up on Les Miles because he had fallen too far behind Saban and a few others in the division. I'm not sure the East schools look at each other in light of the other programs as much as they do in the West.
  • I have recently heard reports that Mizzou football recruiting had really taken a turn for the worse since joining the SEC. I checked Rivals team rankings from 2008 till now and they seem to always be ranked between 30 to 45. Do you believe there has been a big falloff in talent and why?
  • Pinkel's staff titled the recruiting territory when MU joined the SEC and Odom has since readjusted the scope. But Mizzou's rankings will probably always been in the same range nationally. There just aren't enough highly rated in-state recruits under Mizzou's nose to get the team ranking consistently in the 20s. And the caliber of out-of-state player MU recruits won't boost those numbers considerably either. Mizzou is a program that can't afford to miss on many recruits and has to have incredible player development with its staff.
  • Providing MU has a bad basketball season and Coach Anderson is gone at seasons end... Who are some names to watch as possible BBall coaches to replace... I hope they give him more time, but don't see it happening... Travis Ford an option??
  • I'm not playing that game before the season's first tipoff. It serves me no purpose to start speculating on candidates .... until it's an appropriate time.
  • Reed Nikko looked a little better than I expected in the exhibition - granted he is a freshman off the bench and it was against UCM. I was hoping to see a little more of Mitchell Smith, though I'm sure we will in a few games as foul trouble becomes more of an issue. Thinking ahead, I thought I read something about us recruiting a Chilean big man, maybe Gabe DeArmond had retweeted something about it. If so, have you heard anything about him?
  • Yes, Felipe Haase, and he will reportedly sign with South Carolina today if he hasn't already. Mizzou was in the mix.
  • Is Nate Strong getting any closer to logging playing time. I think he is a special talent who can give them some more explosiveness out of the backfield. Marvin Zanders is another quality athlete who is languishing on the bench. We need all the athletes on the field.
  • I asked the staff about Nate Strong last week. Here's what running backs coach Cornell Ford said: "I think he’s got some special skills. It’s just slowly making sure he’s understood the system. We felt pretty comfortable and we’ve slowly put him in a little bit each week. Hopefully we’ll increase his reps and see what he can do. ... He was hurt for a few weeks. Right when his (ankle) injury came is when we thought he was going to play in the Delaware game. He was going to play a lot in that game but gets hurt. It’s an unfortunate thing, but here’s an opportunity and you never know." He made those comments before the South Carolina game ... and Strong didn't get any carries. On one hand, Witter and Crockett were excellent in that game, averaged 7 yards per carry between them. They didn't need another running back to do something they weren't doing. And that was the fewest plays MU's had in an SEC game in a long time. But, to your point, will Strong ever play more this year? It doesn't appear he will. The staff prefers the Crockett-Witter 1-2 punch. As for Zanders, defenses know that MU doesn't use him to pass, so he's becoming easier to defend when he comes into games. At this point, they're fully on board with Lock at QB. Snaps for Zanders are just gimmicks for a play or two.
  • Hi Dave. I am encouraged by the signing of CJ Roberts to the extent that if Kim Anderson can build around young men like him, then I think a longer look is in order for HCKA. I may be in the minority, but I never expected him to lead us to a NCAA championship, but I would like us to be in the top 4 of the SEC. When you read Ben Simmons article about the disdain he had for the NCAA, and how once he secured first semester grades he quit going to class, then I personally don't want that from Mizzou basketball. MIZ!
  • Ben Simmons should be mad at the NBA, not the NCAA. It's the NBA's rule that he can't go straight from high school to the league. The NCAA doesn't require him to attend a college first. But if he's going to enroll at a college, he has to, you know, attend a class or two for the first semester. You can run a successful college hoops program and compete for championships without loading up on short-termers who only care about jumping to the NBA. The Roberts pickup was about the most positive thing that's happened to Anderson's program in a long time. Not saying he's going to save the program, but when you can get a highly recruited player at this stage, you're doing something right.
  • This offense looks like Yost offense in SEC, (can't score when game matters). Do you expect adjustments next year with greater emphasis on running the ball 30-40% of time.
  • This might blow your mind, but look up Mizzou's offensive plays this year: 51.7 percent run, 48.3 percent pass. It's been a pretty balanced attack, which is what Odom wanted.
  • Dave, really enjoy these chats. What's your take on Eric Beisel's first start? I think I read he led the team in tackles, but that can be deceiving. Thanks
  • I thought he played really well. He shoots the gap as well as any linebacker who's playing right now. He's the best tackler on the field right now. He can take himself out of the play sometimes  because he's aggressive to a fault, but he's made the most of his enhanced role the last two weeks. You lose a guy like Mike Scherer and have Beisel and Garrett to replace him, that's pretty good depth. Fortunate situation on a team that doesn't have that kind of depth anywhere else. Lots of credit for Beisel, who could quit and gone somewhere else like a lot of his former teammates who didn't play early in their careers.
  • Watched Cam Hilton play in high school and he was a very solid-to-very good form tackler. Fearless in the open field. Now he's like all the other defensive backs at Mizzou -- more often than not he just launches his upper body at the ballcarrier's upper body, or he uses his hands/arms to shove the upper body of the ballcarrier, or he hip-checks them out of bounds. The question, then: Is this something they teach at Mizzou? And, perhaps, everywhere else? That's how most of the D-backs who play on Sunday "tackle."
  • Odom is a proponent of the rugby tackle that's become very popular in the NFL and college football. It's safer and, when executed properly, effective. I wrote about it last year during preseason camp. Pete Carroll gets credit for popularizing the style.  http://www.stltoday.com/sports/college/mizzou/heads-up-teams-focus-on-safe-tackling/article_ea79eee0-c1d9-5809-9386-1bbe13532592.html
  • As for Hilton, he played pretty well in the Kentucky game. He tackles high a lot and needs to get lower. I think once he plays more defense at this level and gets stronger in the upper body he'll become a better tackler. He flies around the field and puts himself in position to make the play as well as anyone on the back end of this defense. He's shown some promise here late. I think he's one of the few guys on defense you can circle and say, here's someone you can build around for 2017 and beyond.
  • Do we have any good news football-wise. All I am seeing is negatives in the questions.
  • Well, the Tigers are 2-7 and I probably won't predict them to win another game. Not to be all doom and gloom here, but not sure what there is to be all that positive about right now.
  • Attrition is normal for new coaching regimes... so how many guys on the current roster transfer after the season? And to make up for the lost players, do you see Barry & Co going after more HS recruits, or hitting the JUCO ranks?
  • I think they need to  hit the jucos for defensive linemen. If spring football practices started tomorrow, they'd have just two D-tackles in Logan and Utsey, with Beckner still on the mend from knee surgery. They need help there fast. Yes, I expect roster attrition this offseason. It would be unfair of me to name players who I think could transfer, but common sense says, yes, several will leave. Just check out the roster and identify the scholarship players who aren't seeing the field. There's a bunch.
  • Maybe this is a bad analogy, but is Drew Lock to the Tigers what Sam Bradford was to the Rams?? Undisputed #1, highly touted guy that keeps getting run out with not much in the way of production to justify it?
  • I don't get that one. When Sam was healthy as a rookie, he was rookie of the year. Injuries really defined his time with the Rams. When he played (2010, 2012), he was pretty good. Not elite but promising. Lock has shown glimpses but doesn't have a signature win, hasn't played well in MU's biggest games and hasn't willed the team to a win or made the players around him considerably better. That doesnt' mean he's a lost cause. As I wrote the other day in the paper, I just don't think we have any idea if he's a franchise quarterback who's going to make the program better or just a talented guy who will put up some numbers but not make a real impact with the program.
  • I realize MU is not Alabama and never will be. But, what will it take for the football program to be a fairly consistent top 25 team? I know facilities are not up to speed when compared with top programs and MU continues to build, but is it a futile effort? Will it take someone, President/Chancellor, etc to emphasize the program more, I know the athletic department is self sufficient, but it seems a larger priority is necessary for success. Does the fan base have to do more? I believe this can be a consistent top 25 program, but am frustrated how to get there? Ideas?
  • Revenue is critical. Empty seats aren't helping that matter, but that's a chicken or the egg question. Do packed stadiums support winning teams or do winning teams draw packed stadiums? Either way, Missouri's losing out on a lot of $ with empty seats, which means fewer burgers, cokes and t-shirts being sold. Then it comes down to making the right hires, which, again, requires revenue, and recruiting and player development. The equation never really changes, but you've got to have the right people in positions of leadership to get it done. Game-day coaching and Xs and Os is far down the list, in my opinion, of program building. You can't have a complete set of knucklheads on the sideline calling plays, but what happens on the dozen Saturdays in the fall is such a small piece of program-building.
  • I was at the game Saturday in Columbia (no, the other one) and the perception that came to mind was that the Mizzou defense and offense don't seem to be playing the same game. The offense either goes 3 and out or rushes to the line after a first down and runs only 1 play -- Witter/Crockett up the middle. they aren't catching defenses off guard at all. Another short run and an incomplete pass or turnover and the defense is back on the field. The time of possession was the key stat in the game -- with the score tied by the end of the 3rd Q, USC had the ball for 29+ minutes to Mizzou's 15 mins. The defense in the 4th was gassed -- they couldn't shed blocks and were 2 steps behind the entire Qtr. The Tigers lost because the team can't play a game together -- we have an offense doing their hurry-up thing and a defense that suffers because of it. CBO needs to run a game, not just half of the game.
  • That's been the case for several games now ... and was the case during the hurry-up days of 2006-10 sometimes, too. I thought this was interesting. After the game Saturday, Odom absolutely refuted the notion that the offense needs to slow down to help his defense. He thinks any time the defense is on the field it's that unit's responsibility to get off the field, whether it's 50 snaps a game or 100. But earlier this week, here's how DeMontie Cross went about answering a question about Vandy's defense. (He sees Vandy's defense a lot in cross-scouting, when his defensive staff has watched film of other offenses when they've played Vandy's defense): "I don’t think they’re playing as many snaps (on defense) as we’re playing if you’re trying to compare. Their offense does a good job of running the ball. They establish the run and shorten the game. When you get in that situation and get stops, they end up being in the teens (for points) most of their games. They’re really complementing each other in that aspect." Pretty interesting answer to a question about Vandy's defense, to instead focus on its slower pace on offense. You don't have to squint too hard to read between the lines there.
  • Just to look ahead. Who will be the next #1 QB for Mizzou down the road. Lets assume Lock plays out, then who would be next?
  • There are only two younger QBs on the current roster, Micah Wilson, who will be a redshirt freshman next year, and Jack Lowary, who will be a redshirt sophomore. I've never seen Wilson throw a pass in a live situation and have only seen Lowary in the spring game. East St. Louis QB Rey Estes is committed to sign in February. Is he a quarterback for sure? Let's say Lock is the quarterback in 2017-18. Who takes over in 2019? Wow, way too early to know at this point. If the staff doesn't believe either Wilson or Lowary is the guy, then the answer is still playing in  high school at this point. I don't see Odom getting into the grad transfer market unless there's some unforeseen roster attrition.
  • OK, folks. Gotta run. Will pass along any hoops news at STLtoday.com.
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