Mizzou chat with Dave Matter

Bring your questions and comments about Tigers football and basketball, and talk to Mizzou beat writer Dave Matter in a live chat starting at 2 p.m. Thursday.

  • Good afternoon, chatters. Thanks for joining us today. I'll take your questions for the next two hours or so.
  • HODOR thinks the Mizzou point guards need to stop picking the ball up at 1/2 court as soon as they get pressured. The White Walkers would exploit that weakness even more. HODOR
  • SFA consistently trapped ball screens in the backcourt on Tuesday and Mizzou struggled getting out of those, even though they knew they were coming from film study. On one hand, the ball-security issues were alarming, but that's also SFA's specialty and MU made the Jacks pay when they were able to escape and avoid the traps. Martin said his staff conceded 13 turnovers going into the game knowing how SFA pressures the guards. MU was plus-8, which isn't good by any means. But those kind of struggles were expected in that matchup. Not every team is going to defend the same way.
  • You have mentioned that Drew Lock's decision will come down to the draft grade. But isn't there an opportunity for him to showcase his skills in the Texas bowl given he will be playing Texas in an NFL stadium? A game where he drops a couple 60-yd TDs to Hall would be unlikely to go unnoticed? Or is the draft grade process so rigorous that additional exposure is unlikely to change his draft outcome much?
  • He said this week the bowl game will have no input on his decision. Now if he throws for 400 yards and six touchdowns does he create more NFL buzz? It's not going to change his grade if he's already received it by then. It's also just one game, and I can't imagine one big game against Texas is going to change thoughts on him after what's essentially a three-season body of work. Plus, Texas is going to be missing some key players on defense, so the Longhorns won't be at full strength.
  • I realize how hard it must be to hire OCs, but isn't asking Drew Lock to coach the QBs and Finley to coordinate a bit dicey? What if, God forbid!, Lock gets hurt?
  • There are other grad assistants working with the quarterbacks. It's not just Lock running the show. Why is it dicey for Finley to run the offense? The whole offensive staff is involved. They script the practices beforehand and then a different coach runs different periods. He's been coaching in this system for two years here, so he knows the playbook. For one game, I don't think it's that big of a challenge.
  • What have you heard from coaches/parents/players on the new early December signing period? It really seems to have just relocated the original signing period without relieving any of the issues with the original. Players will still sign to schools whose coaches will bolt, players outside of the top tier are still left with no leverage, but the hassle just comes 3 months sooner. Do you think, or have you heard about it being more beneficial to have an early signing in august or september, and let the kids focus on their last seasons and finishing school?
  • A few random thoughts ... 
    1. Odom said he sensed parents and kids felt rushed and pressured to sign early. Maybe over time the schedule will settle in and it will seem more natural to sign in December. 
    2. College coaches aren't going to get any sympathy for having busy days. They're prepping for bowl games, hiring staff and recruiting. Boo hoo. They all make six figures, seven figures for the head coaches. We all work hard at our jobs. 
    3. Between Dec. 22 and Feb. 7, it'll be open season on the unsigned recruits. They're going to get bombarded by coaches because the inventory of available players is smaller but everyone will still have openings in their classes. 
    4. On the other end of that, coaches don't have to worry about their commitments getting poached between now and Feb. 7 - because kids who were "committed" but don't sign this week aren't really committed. Again, it's a free for all for the unsigned kids starting Saturday. 
    5. I agree with USA Today's Dan Wolken. Why does there have to be a signing day? If you want to sign in August or December or February, why does there have to be an arbitrary date? 
  • Hi Dave - It seems that we consistently getting three star recruits which many turn out to be very good players. Granted, GP was able to get a few four and five star recruits along the way, but that was it. As a long time fan of Mizzou football (and I am 59 years old), am I expecting a too much to think that four and five star recruits are going to start showing up when realistically - their not? And, why are their so many fans disappointed when we don't get the super football players to come to Columbia? Should I be expecting more higher skilled players?
  • Missouri has a shot at the rare 4 and 5-star players that are homegrown in the state of Missouri, but it's always been difficult to attract elite out-of-state recruits - and it probably always will be. Mizzou doesn't have a national brand like other schools that can dip their toe in multiple states and land the elite player. Pinkel established the blueprint. Work like crazy to get the elite in-state kids, and whether you sign them or not, supplement Missouri recruits with out-of-state prospects you can develop. If you're going to take a chance on a lightly recruited player from Texas or Louisiana or Florida, make sure he's not a knucklehead who's going to hurt the program. Evaluate, project and develop. That's how great programs without natural resources build sustainable programs. History shows that you have to recruit at a top-10 level to consistently compete for the national championship. But you don't have to sign top-20 classes to become a top-20 program.
  • Obviously, there is nothing to confirm, but if Fisch ends up being the new OC, what can we expect from him?
  • He's coming off a couple strong performances working with QBs at Michigan and UCLA. He's had a lot of jobs in a lot of different systems, so that implies he's flexible and can adjust to personnel. In some ways, his UCLA offense was similar to Missouri's (three-wide formations with multitasking tight ends) but he balanced under-center snaps with shotgun plays. If Lock stays to play for Fisch, it's probably in his interest to take some under-center snaps to help prepare him for the NFL. But don't make the mistake of considering Fisch exclusively a pro-style coordinator. If you watch the NFL, you mostly see three- and four-receiver formations with the QB in the shotgun. Mizzou positioned its outside receivers farther out than most spread offenses, but MU also used attached tight ends, H-backs and fullbacks. Lock rarely worked out of empty backfield the last two years and more often than not played out of three-receiver sets, not four-wide looks. So, I think Fisch's background would be a solid transition for Lock and wouldn't be too disruptive to what Mizzou has done the last couple years.
  • 44 points in the paint by SFA looked like w-a-a-a-y too many. Even with Tilmon getting called for (as you put it, I think) breathing too hard on their players, they were getting to the basket much much too easily, weren't they?
  • I was impressed with how easy SFA got to the rim in that game. They ran some good sets inside to find ways to the rim. Their guards were really quick and decisive when they found a crease. It wasn't Mizzou's best defensive performance, but this is still a solid defensive team.
  • Do you expect that you will have to report on MJP's pregame shootaround and seat location at some point for each game for the remainder of the season?
  • I don't have to, but I'll take note of it because people are interested. That's why I'm at the game, to share with readers what's happening.
  • Hi Dave. Merry Christmas! So let's look past the Drew Lock Era at Mizzou. Based on the current roster of QB's, who has generated the most positive buzz? Should we be concerned going into the post Pinkel Era of stud QB after stud QB that Odom can keep that tradition alive?
  • Is the post-Lock starter on the current roster? I'm not sure of that. Lock has raved about the growth Micah Wilson has shown. He showed some good wheels when he had the chance to play late in games this year, but I haven't seen him throw enough to have a good feel if he can step in and run this team. What little that I've seen of Taylor Powell I like what I've seen. He's short - I don't judge we who aren't blessed with great height - but he seems to have some moxie, can sling the ball around. Jack Lowary has a big arm. Not sure about his mobility. It's hard to have a good feel for a bunch of guys who have rarely been tested publicly against live bullets. Once there's an OC/QB coach on staff, my sense is they'll work to add someone else, whether that's a transfer or an unsigned high school recruit - though not a lot of those are left on the market.
  • What happens now to the FB recruits who didn't sign? Does the staff turn their attention to others, and assume they aren't interested, or aren't worth the extra trouble?
  • Odom said yesterday that they'll continue to pursue them, but you have to be realistic: If they truly wanted to play for Mizzou they would have signed this week. We're talking about DB Vincent Gray, a Michigan kid who picked up a Michigan offer this week. It's natural to think he's going to consider that Wolverines offer. The same for D-end Jatorian Hansford, who isn't ready to sign and could draw some bigger offers from SEC and ACC schools looking for an edge rusher. They're hardly the only "commitments" who haven't signed with schools this week, which means Mizzou can go and recruit the other unsigned players who fit their needs for the February date.
  • is the TE coach gone to join Heupel if he doesn't get the OC job?
  • Good question. The day that Odom lost Glen Elarbee to UCF, Finley strongly indicated that he was staying at Missouri. Heupel hasn't named an OC yet, but from what I've gathered he plans to call plays for UCF next year, so if he hires a coordinator, it won't be a play-caller. I asked Finley a couple days ago about working more with the QBs and getting an expanded role with the offense for the bowl practices/bowl game: "It’s great for me to just go through it and talk through everything with those guys and know exactly what they’re thinking and being on the same page. I’ve enjoyed it, and obviously it’s going to help me in the future." Naturally, he wants to be a coordinator some day and seems to be relishing this opportunity this week. Does that mean he's off to Orlando if he doesn't get the Missouri job? Not necessarily, though I didn't expect Elarbee to leave - and neither did Odom. As upset as Odom was about Elarbee leaving, I suspect he's made sure the other assistants are going to stick around. How would he respond if there was some wavering? Not good, I suspect.
  • What is your thoughts about MIZZOU almost getting shutout in st.louis recruiting football wise. I know Ballard, and Thompson but the 2018 class?
  • I think it would be much more alarming if the STL kids were picking lesser programs over Mizzou. But here's where they're headed: Ohio State (two), USC, Texas and Oklahoma. Those are better programs than Missouri any way you measure. That doesn't mean Odom shouldn't be concerned, but it would be troubling if those kids were picking Iowa State, Oregon State and Vandy. If Missouri doesn't start 1-5, I think it's a safe bet Odom's staff would have had a better chance with some of those players. But during that five-game skid, Mizzou lost all momentum with those guys, and the schools they chose made up ground on any early lead Odom might have had - if he had any. By the time Mizzou carved out its winning streak, it seemed like too little too late. Kids were already entrenched with the schools they picked. I'll say this, too, and not to pick on Trevor Trout because he's been upfront about the process, but here's what he told Ben Frederickson in late October when MU was 3-5: "The state of where they are right now, it is so unexpectedly worse than what we thought it would be. It’s kind of like, we can’t (go to Mizzou), you know?” Asked what it would take to change minds among the STL recruits, Trout said, "A miracle." I'm not sure what counts as a miracle, but Mizzou hasn't lost a game since then, finished 7-5 and owns the SEC's longest winning streak. There's probably some classic goalpost moving here when it comes to some recruits. They weren't going to consider Mizzou unless the Tigers made a bowl and Odom was retained. Then when MU wins six straight games, makes a bowl and Odom gets an extension, it's either too little too late ... or the wins came against weak teams ... or, I'm not really sure. Again, we'll never know if some of those kids would have been more receptive if the Tigers started 4-2 instead of 1-5. 
    Finally, there's still hope for Parkway North's Michael Thompson. He'll sign in February. Mizzou still in good shape. 
  • Has Andy Hill ever been interested in the OC position in the past? As important as he undeniably is, "OC Andy Hill" just doesn't sound right for some reason.
  • Pinkel considered Hill for the job after the 2012 season when he went with Josh Henson instead and reassigned Hill from receivers to quarterbacks. Way back in 1999 or 2000, I believe, Larry Smith made Hill the passing game coordinator, but that was shortlived when he brought in Bill Cubit to run the offense in 2000. Andy is a great receivers coach. He's a huge asset for this staff. He knows the game. Players love him. Can he call plays and run the offense? Of course. I have zero doubt he could do the job. But when you're the head coach, there's some risk in turning over the offense to someone who's never been an OC at this level - and sometimes an impulse to go with someone younger and untested because they might have more upside. Personally, I'd be thrilled for Andy to get the job. I'm not sure it's likely.
  • I tend to think stl kids are a little over hyped
  • Sometimes they are. I'll say this: There's a risk for STL kids or high-profile in-state kids coming to Mizzou, because so much is expected of them - and expected of them instantly. If in 1996 SLUH star quarterback Dave Matter signs with Mizzou (hey, it's my chat, I get to create my own fantasies here) over Michigan and Florida and Notre Dame, he'll be expected to be the next franchise QB at the state school. If not, he's a huge bust who let everyone down and failed with all his friends and family watching closely. If he goes to Ann Arbor and never cracks the depth chart, he's just a guy who came from out of state and never hit it big. There are some great advantages to playing at your hometown or state school - but it comes with a lot of pressure and scrutiny that some kids don't handle well. The examples are endless.
  • Any reason to believe that anyone either than Jedd Fisch is the new OC?
  • I was told today Mizzou is not expected to make a hire/announce a hire until after the first of the year. That's a lot of time. Fisch coaches his final game at UCLA on Dec. 26. Mizzou plays on Dec. 27. Would MU need another five days to make the hire official? MU sometimes works painstakingly slow with things like this, so it could just be some extra lag time - on top of the holiday breaks. The BOC would have to approve a salary as big as the one a new coordinator will command. At this point, all I can report is that Fisch was on campus over the weekend to visit about the job - and spent time talking with Drew Lock, whom he recruited shortly after coming to Michigan in 2015.
  • Dave - How would you rank the skills of wide receivers when recruiting them as being needed the most in a spread offense - speed, catching the ball, blocking, high aptitude, size of the player, etc.???
  • It depends what position you're playing. Outside receivers better have the speed to get deep and some size is nice to win one-on-one matchups against single defenders. If you're a slot receiver, you have to be quicker than fast (T.J. Moe, if you will) and you better be tougher than hell and plenty smart to read defenses and make adjustments on the fly. All receivers have to block, but when you play in the slot you're in traffic more and have to help block against the run.
  • Mark Mangino an option for OC or not? He probably hates the Jayhawks more than your average Missouri fan
  • He's been out of coaching for a few years, so I'm not sure he's a realistic candidate. I'd sure give him a call because he's a great coach.
  • i don't recall ever hearing about Norm, Quin, or any of the other MU BB head coaches going in the opponent locker room to speak to the team, have you?
  • Not that I can recall. That was such a classy move by Martin the other night. Here's the best part: Mizzou's media relations staffers had no idea he did it. He found SFA coach Kyle Keller in the bowels of the arena shortly after the final buzzer and they walked together to the visitor's locker room. Nobody else from Mizzou was in the room. The SFA media relations staffer recorded the scene on his phone. MU's folks were puzzled why Martin disappeared into the south wing of the building. And when Martin met with the local media minutes later, he didn't mention a word about visiting with SFA's team. Keller was clearly touched by the gesture. Hopefully his players were, too. MU's staff didn't even know the scene was recorded until it popped up on Twitter later in the evening. 
    Bold statement time: Not to get too over the top here, but I think Martin might be the best thing to happen to Mizzou athletics in decades, on par with Mike Alden handing his football program over to Gary Pinkel. The way Martin carries himself, the culture he's building in his locker room, the way he treats people around the program is all class and professionalism. And it appears the man can coach, too. 
  • Have you seen Godless on Netflix? Pretty good new show. Any other shows you recommend while we wait for GOT to start back up in 2019?
  • I've heard good things but haven't caught it yet. No time for TV when football and basketball seasons overlap. I caught a couple episodes of "The Punisher" on Netflix but haven't gone back yet. I have to catch up on a lot of shows, maybe in April once the schedule lightens up.
  • How many more scholarships does MIZZOU have left to give in football?
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