Mizzou chat with Dave Matter

Bring your questions and comments about Tigers basketball and spring football, and talk to Mizzou beat writer Dave Matter in a live chat starting at noon Thursday.

  • I'm really optimistic on football recruiting right now. I know we cant land all the in-state guys, but what other school has the ability to host recruiting events like Mizzou has where all of these guys are in town together? That's got to be a huge advantage for us. If we could land 5 or 6 of the top 10 guys, team could be special
  • I think five or six would be a healthy expectation. Anything less and reasonable fans would probably be disappointed. Seven or more should send Odom doing cartwheels down Providence.
  • Hey Dave...Dawson downing looked pretty solid at running back...could he get some touches this fall? Looks like he might become a player
  • I thought he looked the part. The players love him. The staff apparently loves him, starting over him the scholarship guys. There won't be a lot of carries available as long as Crockett or Witter stay healthy, but between MU's fast pace and the pounding that position takes, you're going to have some injuries at some point. I think he gets some touches.
  • Dave,
    I have a gut feeling that Mizzou Football is going to surprise a bunch of people this year...much like we did in 2013 when few expected us to be any good.
    Lots of experience back on offense and I expect big things on that side of the ball. Defense has question marks but really improved the latter part of last season and we appear to have some talented guys coming in that can help right away in Prewett at the hybrid DB/LB position and Brandon at DT. Throw in the two Arizona JuCo DT's and the guy we just signed today and suddenly DT has gone from thin to pretty deep. If our kicker gets his mojo back (looked good in the Spring game) and the Defense gets back on track...I think we can win 7-9 games. The key game is week #2 at home vs. South Carolina...huge game and a MUST WIN to get the ball rolling IMO.
    I know earlier in this chat you mentioned a record of 6-6 for this Fall...but do you think a breakout is possible where we can contend for the SEC East? If so...what are the BIG KEYS for that to happen?
  • It's possible, and I wouldn't be shocked if MU is in contention when November begins. A couple things have to happen: The defense has to be significantly better than last year. That unit has to get off the field and force more turnovers. It was such a passive defense most of the year. That has to change. Two, the offense can't stall. Mizzou moved the ball at will between the 20s in a lot of games but struggled to punch in scores. Having no faith in the kicker affected the play-calling and forced Heupel to be more aggressive in the red zone because he knew they couldn't make a field goal. MU has to be better in all those areas. The offense has no excuse not to be among the best in the SEC. Talent and experience at all the skill positions and along the O-line. I'm just not sold on the defense yet, though it stopped the No. 1 offense on five of six possessions Saturday - without its two best D-linemen on the field.
  • Dave - Do you think we would have had a few more wins in 2016 if Odom would have not have stuck with the defense he went back to at mid season? I know the loss of Brantley and Brady did not help, but Charles Harris really did not make an impact until they made the change. (Sorry if this is a question you have answered in the past)
  • Possibly. But I don't think you needed a scheme change to pull out the Georgia game or the Middle Tennessee game. Mizzou was in position to win both games - with the new, less popular defense. Does the scheme help MU win at LSU? Probably not. West Virginia? Doubtful. Florida? Doubtful but maybe.
  • Ouch! Your right on, Dave. I guess I'm hopeful MP averages close to 30 PPG, and everyone is happy to rebound, take care of the ball, and play solid defense. Chemistry/Leadership could be a nightmare.
  • Chemistry and leadership will be crucial, but I don't think it'll be a nightmare. You don't have a bunch of me-first knuckleheads in that returning core. Jordan Barnett wants to win. He'll share the ball. The staff chose Phillips to be the host player when Harris, Porter and Knox took their visit. A point guard wants to be surrounded by scorers. I would think the older guys would buy in - because they know the alternative looks like.
  • Any updates on when GP's book with be in the book stores?
  • Late August or early September at the latest. We'll have book signings and promotional events all around the state this fall. I'll bombard my social media followers with plenty of updates.
  • Robin Pingeton is a solid coach, but without Larry Bird (Sophie!), her teams wouldn't be sniffing the NCAA tourney. I hope she has a better plan than the Celtics when she's gone. The C's went into a 20 year abyss.
  • Well, she's got two more years with Cunningham.
  • Thought I saw something recently about the 2019 MO football recruiting class being really good as well. I know we are looking way ahead here, but have you heard much about this? Any blue chips in that group?
  • Yes, it's another strong in-state class. Somehow most of them go to Trinity High School: Four-star WR Marcus Washington and four-star QB/athlete Isaiah Williams are the two headliners.
  • " Downing had 38 yards rushing on three carries on the opening drive, and finished with 47 yards on nine rushes" per MUTigers website. He ran 6 times for 9 yards after the opening drive. not very good. Isaiah M. was had an 18 yarder then went 13 for 31 on the rest of his carries. the starting dline was down several key players they'd expect to play in the fall. I still feel they were underwhelming most of the day.
  • Fair enough, but again, it's a spring game. Fans and media spend 10 times as much time analyzing the spring game than the coaches. It might be the least important practice of the 15. Odom said the defense only made three calls and the offense only a few more.
  • I realize Mizzou is not alone in this, but it's shameful how little access the media now gets to the players, coaches and administrators. It's a public, land grant university, for goodness sake. How is the media access compared to what it was when you started on the beat the Tribune? And, do you ever get to watch football or basketball practice?
  • When I first started at the Tribune, Larry Smith and all requested players were available at the beginning of the week during the season. We could go into the coaches'¬†offices and talk to them. If we missed a player on Monday, we could get him on Tuesday.¬†Practices were open during the week. We could write about what we saw. All preseason practices were open. Same in the spring and before bowls. Pinkel tightened things up a bit, but we could still request and interview every player and coach during the season/spring/preseason. We could attend and write about every spring and preseason practice. Flash forward to 2016-17. We can attend some or parts of some practices - but we're prohibited from writing about what happens at practice unless it's something Odom or another coach discusses after practice. This spring, we weren't allowed to interview position coaches - only the two coordinators three times over 15 practices. A handful of players were chosen for us for post-practice interviews, so on a daily basis, you can't decide what you want to write about. It's essentially decided for you. The days of 1-on-1 interviews are essentially over, which is unfortunate. Fans don't get very many interesting stories about the athletes because many of them are rarely exposed to reporters - and if they are, they're in a large group setting, which makes it difficult to talk about interesting/personal stuff that make for good stories. It's a shame, but that's the reality of modern day college sports coverage. Pro teams grant far better access than college teams in 2017 - and have for years. I should say Mizzou hoops is better at granting 1-on-1 interview access than football. I'm not sure how that will change under Martin.
  • To follow up, I don't want that last answer to be interpreted as typical media moaning and groaning about access. Access sucks now compared to the past. Coaches are more guarded, borderline paranoid at some places. Schools have also become competitive entities with their online networks and social media sites. That's the reality. Not everyone is cut out for reality. I still enjoy my job and make the most out of the rules. Those of us who covered Pinkel were probably spoiled with access because he was slower to tighten up access compared to his peers in the Big 12 an SEC. All I know is the nicest things written about Mizzou football in the last few decades came in 2007 - when access was wide open compared to now.
  • OK, folks. That's all my time today. Thanks for taking part.
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