Yes, and he knows that. He also said he wants his classes to be ranked higher. I'm not sure I've ever heard a coach admit that publicly.
Yesterday, we heard a lot of, "These guys just love football." Well, I guess that's better than say, loving golf or skeet shooting.
The talent in Missouri for 2018 might be unprecedented but so is the competition. Schools are going to try and raid the state, schools that rarely make their way to Missouri. USC, Texas, Michigan, etc. When you have six or seven Power 5 prospects at schools that are within a 20-minute drive, you're going to see schools pounce on the area. If Missouri whiffs on all the St. Louis kids, that puts so much more pressure on Odom and staff to go into Tennessee or Texas or Georgia or Florida to find better players. And when you go into other states for elite players, you have to beat out the local teams for those players - and that's hard to do. Instead you end up with the second tier of out-of-state players. Sometimes that gets you a Chase Daniel or Sean Weatherspoon. Other times it gets you one of the countless out of state kids who came to Mizzou who were never heard from again. So, yes, Missouri has to capitalize on the 2018 locals ... because the alternative approach is hard to pull off.
Draft? You mean recruiting? Well, they obviously lost two receivers in the final days leading up to signing day. But they got two runnig backs they and targeted. They got a QB that a bunch of other teams had targeted. They got the tight end they wanted all along. It might have been a little harder to recruit offensive skill players this cycle because of all the returning players coming back this fall.
I don't think it's a choice of A (big name) or B (assistant coach). The C option is a mid-major head coach who's run a successful program and is ready to step into a high-major program. There are lots of enticing C options. Steve Forbes, Kevin Keatts, Will Wade, Pat Kelsey, Dan Muller, Eric Musselman. I would take a close look at all of them - and forget about hiring an assistant with zero HC experience. You need someone who's run their own program, who understands the demands of the job. personally, I'd prefer someone who's hungry to prove himself at this level, not necessarily a retread who's already done it once before somewhere else. There's a reason schools were eager to hire football coaches like Jeff Brohm and Tom Herman and PJ Fleck and Willie Taggart ... while Les Miles is still unemployed.
It's absolutely a blessing. Look, he's an SEC head coach at his alma mater at a time when the two major sports are down, down, down - and with a new AD with no deep-seated loyalty to his head coach. Now, that's pressure. You're coming off a 4-8 season in the SEC. That's pressure. Your specialty is defense and your defense just flopped big time. That's pressure. Having at least 10 power conference recruits within your state border? That's a freakin' luxury. You don't get into this coaching business if you're afraid to compete.
Agree to disagree. College sports have become a major business. It's a free market. Nobody is required to attend games and donate money to the athletic department. I understand the desire to spend more on educational costs, but I also like college sports, and if I'm Joe Fan and I care about the football team more than the chemistry department, my money will go that direction.
Competition will be fierce. If Missouri has a winning season, they'll have a chance with the in-state guys. Let's not forget, Mizzou signed five St. Louis area players this time last year. It's not like the staff suddenly cut off the region. Most of these high-profile kids are going to put off their commitments until closer to 2018 NSD, so Mizzou's season results will be pivotal.
We've got a ton of questions left but I'm short on time. Ill get to as many as possible. Maybe I'll save the rest for a blog feature.
There's your answer. When in doubt, blame Kansas' backwards state politics.
We'll see how he recovers from knee surgery. He's got great potential. He can do things athletically you don't see many D-tackles do. But he's got to bring it play after play. The staff would like to see more consistent production from him. But they love his attitude and leadership.
Yes, I'll be covering more MU women's games. There's a growing audience for that team. We had them on the front page in Tuesday's paper. They're a fun team to watch because they're skilled and scrappy.
Personally, I can't truly answer those questions because (1). I haven't spent a day in the shoes of a black athlete/student/coach who's felt alienated by Mizzou and (2) These problems don't seem to exist when Mizzou is competing for championships with a nationally ranked team. It seems the murmurs of friction get louder after a 5-7 season, when one or two high-profile players decide to go to college somewhere else. Suddenly, there's this St. Louis epidemic that requires all sorts of summit meetings and special care. Gary Pinkel and his staff did a lot to repair some of the underlying issues that resonated in St. Louis. He's quite proud of that. But then you go 4-8 and somehow the band aid gets ripped off and old scars are bleeding again. At least that's the impression that takes shape. Some might say it's a high maintenance market. Temperamental for sure. You don't hear about the same issues in Kansas City. I'm not sure why St. Louis is so unique. And to some degree, I think we in the media work too hard to turn one incident or one example into a sweeping "issue." I had a STL coach tell me recently that a lot of this talk is overblown. Where's the truth? Hard to say. Hard to know. It probably depends on who you ask because everyone's experiences are different.
Yes, at least luke warm. Now, if they go 5-7 because of major injuries and are competitive in most games, that's a different kind of hot seat than 2-10 or 3-9.
He was disappointed that Jonathan Williiams III left. I'm not sure how hard the staff worked to keep him from leaving. From what I recall, J3 was wavering some. They definitely liked him a lot. It wasn't a case of addition by subtraction. Some just checked out without any communication, namely Gill-Caesar. He's another guy they would have liked to keep. Namon Wright was salvageable because of his talent but he never seemed all that happy at Missouri.
We didn't talk to the coaches on the record about him yesterday beuase he didn't sign until after the media access had ended. From what I understand he was wavering between Missouri and Florida and ultimately chose MU. Keep in mind, NSD is just the first day they can sign. Players can delay the decision for months if they want.
Yes, it's unfortunate. But I'm sure he's much more concerned about his family and his daughter. He's very well liked in the profession. If the entire staff is let go, I think Missouri will make sure Brad has the support he needs financially.
Missouri will play in the SEC Tournament. You might want to be drug tested.
Missouri's offense uses two inside linebackers that aren't necessarily interchangeable but much different from the storngside position, which is more of a hybrid safety role. I think they can play both of the inside spots, but ideally you need one of them (the WILL) to be better in space for coverage assignments. I'm not sure they can both play at the same time.
I'm no in-state purist like many are. So, yes, I agree for the most part. We make such a fuss over the kids we know and see all the time, but we're also quick to call them busts when they don't fulfill our expectations.
No kicker was signed. A kicker from Lawrence accepted an offer as a walk-on, but that's not a binding deal like a letter of intent. Missouri has a special teams coach, Jonathan Rutledge, who was hired from North Carolina's staff last year. He's not one of the nine position coaches, but he's chiefly responsible for the kicking game.
He can't directly recruit players, but he wants to create programs that will enhance Mizzou's exposure not just to high school players but junior high and middle schoolers. I'm sure Howard will reach out to coaches in the area and work on relationships to help the coaches build continuity.
When the college football season kicks off. It's been a great experience so far. I'll sleep when the manuscript is shipped off to the publisher in a few months. We're exploring a lot of topics that Gary has rarely discussed publicly in his career.
We don't get into Xs and Os decisions. He didn't get into the weeds too much back then or now.
OK, folks, I've gone overtime. I've copied some questions that went unanswered and will address them not he blog later today or Friday. Have a great weekend.