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.




  • 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.
  • Dave,

    What's your favorite coaching cliche you hear immediately after National Signing Day? "We love our Class", "We filled all our needs", "This class is special", etc. There's so many to choose from!

    Also, fans are delusional if they think recruiting rankings don't matter. Occasionally you'll get a guy like Charles Harris who came out of nowhere to be a stud, but generally the collection of 4 and 5 star guys that Bama, OSU, LSU, etc get will win out because of the they simply have a better team as whole. I understand Mizzou will probably never be able to recruit like these schools do, but just putting things in to perspective. heard an interesting stat that 20 of the last 21 national championships have had at least 2 top 10 recruiting classes in the preceding 4 years prior to their national title.
  • Yesterday, we heard a lot of, "These guys just love football." Well, I guess that's better than say, loving golf or skeet shooting.
  • Dave -- I have a couple of observations and would like your take on them. It really doesn't bother me much that Mizzou missed out on nearly all of the of in-state recruits this year. It was a mediocre bunch at best. Even in Pinkel's best years, the program relied heavily on out-of-state players. But next year's in-state class, as you and others have noted, is pretty loaded. Mizzou would look inept if it struck out again. That's why this season is so critical beyond the obvious reasons, in my opinion. If the Tigers can bump up to 7-5 or 8-4 -- and I personally think that's doable with the schedule -- Odom and his staff have something to sell to those players. I know some will commit early before the season, but that's meaningless. We see guys switch their commitments all the time. I know some old-timers wonder why kids don't stay home and play for ol' Mizzou, but they have so many more options and they should take advantage of them, if they believe they're better. Mizzou has to show them it's a good place to be and that has to start next season. I don't want to go back to the '80s and '90s. Thoughts?
  • 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.
  • What about this draft's offensive skill positions. Don't you think the Tigers needed more in this area to produce more scoring punch?
  • 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.
  • Dave, assuming Mizzou Basketball continues it drought, would you agree that Jim Sterk has to hire a big name coach? I don't believe that Mizzou could gamble on a highly touted assistant coach. Thanks for your chats.
  • 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.
  • Is it a blessing or a curse that the state will have maybe the most talented recruiting class ever next year? I mean, the pressure on Odom will be intense to get just a respectable number and if that doesn't happen fans will be calling for his job. I guess that's the life of a SEC coach?
  • 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.
  • So are BB players, FB players etc employees of the athletic department or athlete students. They certaintly aren't student athletes like all coaches hide behind when they talk about the players. Basketball is the worst with the one and done prepping done for the NBA for elite players like Jayson Tatum. You know things are out of whack when Saint Coach K opts for one and done players so that he has the opportunity to win the NCAA championship. You say big time athletic programs are out of control and I agree. The colleges should take control of their athletic departments like they control their chemistry department and take in the money generated by the 152 million that Michigan FB generates, give FB $20 and use the remaining 132 million to lower the cost of tuition to the general student population. You wouldn't have 90% of the general student population up to their neck in debt when they graduate. It cost me a vey small fraction in tuition when I went to school. Colleges let athletic departments run amok and that is the problem.
  • 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.
  • Sounds like STL Area will have a lot of top talent football recruits for next year. Do you see Mizzou being able to sign a few of them? Or is a lot of them looking at bigger schools like Ohio State.
  • 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.
  • Re: Bill Self Tax Issue

    Tax policy varies from state to state. In Bill Self's case the KS governor changed tax laws a few years ago to decrease taxes on small businesses. BS created a corporation (an LLC, I think) in his name and has kU pay his corporation instead of BS the person to avoid the taxes. This is all very legal. I personally don't care for the tax policy but you can't blame the guy for doing all he can to keep as much salary as possible.
  • There's your answer. When in doubt, blame Kansas' backwards state politics.
  • Would you expect Terry Beckner to have a great junior year like Sheldon Richardson had? Is Terry the likely top NFL draft pick next year from the Tigers?
  • 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.
  • One other thing: I know we just came off signing day, but it's still kind of sad all your questions have been on football. It says something about the state of the hoops program. I, for one, am really getting into the women's program. Great win against Kentucky on Monday. Sophie Cunningham's overall game has really improved. I know you have covered a few games, but will you be doing more on the women as the season progresses? What's your take on this season's team?
  • 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.
  • Missouri's recent hiring of an individual designed to heal the relations specifically between the Mizzou football team, the St. Louis area and the African-American community, has raised the following question in my mind: How did the deterioration of the relationship happen, who is responsible, and what were the factors?

    During Warren Powers' tenure as coach, there didn't seem to be any rumblings about it. Did it start with Widenhofer when Ronnie Cameron didn't pan out as the front-line starter at QB? Was it Stull? Is it possible that the St. Louis kids didn't want to come here starting in 1984 or so when the football team started to get bad, became worse and didn't have a winning season since 1997?

    I've heard the same grumblings that something happened with Missouri's coaching staff where they didn't ingratiate themselves with the St. Louis high school coaches and high school football players, but I don't understand what exactly happened or how. Have you learned anything during your time covering the team that could shed light on this for me?
  • 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.
  • If Mizzou FB doesn't make it to a bowl game this year, do you see Odom on the hot seat?
  • 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.
  • Good afternoon Dave. Of all the players that have transferred under KA, do you know of any of them that he truly was trying to convince to stay and was disappointed at the time that they chose not to do so? Or was it more of a thing that he really wanted them all gone so he could bring in all new recruits who would play his "style" of ball? Needless to say, that's not working out well for him and is leading to his downfall(if he did purposely run off all the guys that transferred).
  • 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.
  • Why was Malik Young so late to sign? Was he shopping, or was it merely a logistical issue?
    Along those lines, is it common for JUCO players to be a little less loyal to their commitents, or willing to hold off to see what comes up?
  • 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.
  • Lost in all the talk over KA's inevitable dismissal, what a shame that Brad Loos not only has to deal with the awful situation with his daughter battling cancer but has to worry about looking for a job after the season is over as well. I truly feel horrible for him.
  • 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.
  • Are we eligible for the SEC tournament this year or is there still a postseason ban? Who knows...maybe we'll make a run and win the whole thing. Remember the Chris Heller led run in the 1993 Big 8 tournament!? LOL
  • Missouri will play in the SEC Tournament. You might want to be drug tested.
  • Both Biesel and Garrett played MLB last year. Do you see both of them starting this year? One at MLB and one at one of the other spots?
  • 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.
  • Who cares where the football players come from as long as they are good, graduate, and stay out of trouble? I realize that is a lot to ask of teenagers.
  • 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.
  • Dave - Am I mistaken or did we sign a kicker yesterday? Does special team coaching still fall on Odom or will he bring in a special teams coach? I can't see how he can handle both special teams and calling the defense where they need him the most.
  • 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.
  • Onto basketball recruiting...of the Mr. Show-Me Basketball winners since 1990, we've only gotten one of them who was drafted into the NBA (K. Rush). That's got to change. David Lee, Bradley Beal, Tyler Hansbrough, etc. We couldn't get one of these guys?
  • What role will New Asst. AD Howard Richards play in recruiting the Stl. Area for Mizzou?
  • 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.
  • Dave - When does GP biography hit the stores? I'm really anxious to get my hands on his book!
  • 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.
  • So other than Thompson, Trout, and Babb... what other highly regarded in-state players are there in the 2018 class? I know its good and I keep hearing about how deep it is, but those are the only names I really hear about
  • Ronnie Perkins, D-end at Lutheran North ... Dallas Craddieth, DB at Hazelwood central ... Cameron Brown, wideout at CBC ... Ayodele Adeoye, LB at Ritenour. Then a few more in Kansas City area. 
  • Since you brought it up, in the category of Coach Steckel & "way past, dude", I've always wondered if the "gimmick" defense in 2013 SEC Title game (and sticking with it in the face of all evidence) is Coach Pinkel's greatest tactical regret. Has he talked about it in your many conversations (or do I have to wait for the book)?
  • 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.
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