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.

  • Greetings, chatters. We're pulling double duty here starting at noon when Mizzou tips off against Xavier in Orlando. I'm not on the road with the Tigers today but will be watching from home. Let's get to your questions.
  • Hi Dave, I am 57 years old and attended Mizzou for 2 years in the late 70's. Do I have any eligibility left? Because I could be a walk on kicker, and surely be able to kick better than what we have now.
  • I believe your five-year window for NCAA eligibility has closed, but I'm sure Odom would appreciate the offer.
  • Dave,
    A few questions for you:
    1. What do you do with the kicking situation? McCann was a very good prospect but seems to have the “yips”. Do you think it’s best for the team to sit him the rest of the season or do you keep sending him out there hoping he can conquer it and become the kicker he was recruited to be?
    2. How does Mizzou compare to the rest of college football in drops? Seems like we have to be among the leaders in that category. That’s something those receivers really need to improve on in the offseason…
    3. I know as a writer your gameday weekend experience is much different than a fan’s, but with that being said, how would you compare Knoxville to some of the other SEC towns you have visited? Gameday atmosphere, city life, people, etc. A few friends and I are going to Knoxville for the game this weekend.
  • 1. I understand Odom wanting to build up McCann's confidence by trotting him out there for field goals and PATs, but at this point, you owe it to the other 84 scholarship players to put a better kicker on the field. He's just not getting it done on kicks that should be automatic at this level. I say you sit him the next two weeks and have a serious talk with him after the season to identify the problem. If he continues to struggle in the spring, I'm not sure you can keep him on scholarship. If a running back isn't cutting it at his position you can move him to receiver or linebacker or safety. You can't afford to have a kicker on scholarship who can't kick. 
    2. There's no official stat for drops, so I couldn't tell you where MU stacks up. Lots of drops this year, but when you throw as many passes as Missouri does you're going to have drops. 
    3. I like Knoxville. It's got much more of a big-city feel than some of the other SEC college towns. I've been to a few restaurants around town. Good vibe and atmosphere. They do it right on game days.
  • What was your opinion of Nate Howard last game? Can he be another great pass rusher at Mizzou?
  • I'm not sure he'll be in the mold of Shane Ray, Kony Ealy, Markus Golden, but he's got a real burst off the line of scrimmage. If they can develop him into an every-down player on the edge, that shores up a position of concern as far as future depth. I was impressed with him last year and figured he'd be more of a factor this year.
  • I'll call it, Mizzou upsets Xavier today. Tell me why I'm wrong.
  • Really tough matchup for Missouri - and a touch matchup for most teams. Xavier will be the second-best team MU plays this year behind Kentucky. Maybe Arizona is better, but the Wildcats haven't been at full strength and might not be when they visit Columbia next month. Bluiett and Sumner might be the best backcourt tandem in the country. Two 6-6 versatile guards who can break down your defense.
  • By the way, Clemson and Davidson are just into the second half in Orlando with Clemson leading 57-39. The winner gets the winner of Missouri-Xavier ... and the loser gets the loser.
  • how many wins is a success this season
  • For men's basketball? I think you have to win 15-16. And you have to be competitive against the mid-tier and bottom teams in the SEC. To show promise you have to close out games you should win, play more competitively on the road and protect Mizzou Arena more often than not.
  • Did you see Pat Forde's assessment of HCKA? Any thoughts on what he had to say?
  • I did not. Did he write it somewhere or say it in a radio interview? Pat always has a reasonable opinion on things, so I imagine I'd agree with his take.
  • Which has higher chances of happening? Mizzou upsetting Xavier in basketball or Mizzou upsetting Tennessee in football?
  • I'd go with a hoops upset today. You see a lot of upsets this time of the year when teams are still working in new players, especially in these half-empty neutral site games. A lot has to go right for both upsets to happen, but I just don't see the football team playing well enough for 60 minutes to beat the Vols. If the game were in Columbia, I'd give MU a better chance, but not on senior day in Knoxville.
  • As a person living in Orlando, I'm excited to get to see Anderson's bunch in person this weekend. However...am I wrong in thinking that Kim will be looking for work after this season? Sadly, I just dont think Kim is the right person to get Mizzou BBall back. Compare his program to what Travis Ford has done already at SLU. Having a 'name' coach who can recruit is what MU should be looking for, not a True Son. Thoughts?
  • It's no secret that Anderson is likely coaching for his job this year as much as any coach in America. Not many coaches survive three straight years of horrendous results - if MU indeed has horrendous results again this year. As for the Ford comparisons, it's not like Anderson didn't have some positive recruiting moments two years ago when he first started. He kept four-star Jakeenan Gant and four-star Namon Wright from signing elsewhere then went out and landed four-star Teki Gill-Caesar. It wasn't the local splash that Ford has made, but things looked promising ... until they didn't.
  • Dave - Do you think Crockett is being underutilized? I'd love to see him regularly get 20-25 touches.
  • I think they're using him enough. He had 29 carries a games back. He's had a banged-up shoulder already this year. He's a bigger back but there aren't many backs in the country getting 20-plus carries every week. I think there's some value in handing the ball to Witter 10 times a game. He's put together a nice season, 4.6 yards per carry. Mizzou has run the ball 24 more times than it's thrown. I think most people assume they've thrown the ball significantly more. Only three backs in the country average more than 25 carries a game. You just don't see many guys getting that big a workload in today's game.
  • How does the coaching staff address the lack of production at the start of games vs. power 5? In 7 games they have manage to get points on the opening drive just 1 time and 5 games had just 5 plays or less to start. they have only had points when the first quarter ended in 2 of those games. back in the heyday of the 49ers they scripted about 15 plays to start games. Does Heupel give the impression he impression he has a script? Seems like the are flat week after week. why aren't they more on point after a week of practice?
  • It usually takes a few drives for this offense to get into rhythm and to diagnose how defenses are playing. That's not that unusual. The running game has been a slow starter. MU averages just 3.8 yards per carry in the first quarter of games and has only nine 10-yard runs in the first quarter, compared to 16 in the second quarter, 17 in the third quarter in the fourth quarter. That makes sense considering MU's offense is all about tempo. The idea of the no-huddle is to create a cumulative effect on the defense so that it's harder to play defense later in the game. It would obviously help Missouri's defense if the offense could score more points early and/or consume more time. MU's defensive line would get to pin their ears back and rush the pocket more if they could actually play with a lead - like the Vandy game.
  • Dave - Although we get most of our receivers back next year, it doesn't necessarily mean they will be better. In your opinion on who you have seen this year, what three receivers have the most up side. I like Johnson and Mason.
  • I'm not sold on Johnson yet. He might be the most explosive of the group but he's too reckless with the ball. A full offseason with Andy Hill could do him wonders. Mason has been impressive. When Moore is on his game, he's one of the best receivers in the SEC. He's an NFL talent. It's easy to see when he's got the ball in his hands. But he still has too many lapses. He gets frustrated and loses composure when he doesn't get the ball early. To his credit, he's the first to admit all these things. He's incredibly hard on himself. When he, if he, finally puts things together he can be special. He's as talented as any wide receiver to come out of this program the last two decades not named Jeremy Maclin.
  • The Cleveland freshmen appear to be the most physically talented players that Kim has recruited to date. Would your agree, if not Kim, a new coach is going to have some talent to work with next season?
  • It's not exactly a bold statement to call the Cleveland duo the most physically talented KA recruits. Who's the competition? Walton? Jackson is a horse. He's going to be the kind of player opponents hate to play. He loves the dirty work but he's skilled enough to do other things. Hughes is a natural shooter, but he's going to have games where he goes 1 for 9. Streaky. But not much of a conscience, which is good for this team that needs some alpha dogs. This team still needs some bona fide bigs.
  • Must have been radio- this was from a Ben Frederickson 5 column- Forde isn't optimistic about Mizzou coach Kim Anderson's chances of turning around the Tigers.

    "Kim Anderson is not the answer," Forde said. "Most people are fairly convinced of that right now. He wasn't dealt a very good hand, but he hasn't played it well either …

    "No disrespect to Kim Anderson. It just was not the right place for him, not the right fit. It's a job he always wanted, but it's not working out. We'll see. Maybe they shock me this year."
  • Not much there to disagree with. Anderson inherited a mess but hasn't done much to fix it from what we've seen to date. Maybe that changes this year. (Who knows, maybe it changes this week in Orlando.) But when you win 19 games in two seasons you put the questions in everyone's mind: Is Anderson the leader to turn this program around? Can he attract the talent it takes to make MU relevant again? Can he build a program while constantly reshaping the roster?
  • How much will you guys miss me this year?
  • Ha! There are going to be games this year when Mizzou will miss Rosburg's ability to post up and get an inside bucket. They'll spread the floor more this season and go with a smaller lineup, but he gave MU some solid minutes last year and some big scoring games down the stretch.
  • follow up on the Anderson vs Travis Ford comparison: you mentioned recruits Gant/Wright/TGC. The problem was that KA went out of his way during/after the first season of making it known that he either didnt actually recruit these guys or was rushed into doing so with the little time he had once he was hired. Basically saying that these guys werent 'his guys'. Compare that to Travis who was recently interviewed by Frank Cusumano, and said that every single SLU player was immediately 'his guys' and he supported them 100%. A stark contrast in my opinion.
  • Fair point. And the fact that Kim wasn't recruiting guys he necessarily wanted is another reason his program got set back in the early days. Fuller arranged recruiting visits for several high-profile recruits whom MU had no real shot at signing - and it was time wasted, visits wasted that MU's staff could have spent more wisely. We'll see if SLU can maintain the recruiting momentum after a five- or six-win season. It's going to be a brutal year for the Bills. I hope it works out. Maybe some sustained success will make SLU more attractive for a conference that makes more sense.
  • Dave- Assuming Mizzou parts ways with HCKA, do you think they're in a better position now to get a coach with some cache or an up and comer? The protests are behind us, administration is stabilizing/being hired, new AD, and the ethical cloud of Fraud Haith has finally been dissipated as well.
  • The way things look now, 2017 will be a better climate to hire a coach in any sport at Missouri than 2016, especially hoops now that the NCAA penalties are out and mostly fulfilled. I have no idea what kind of coach they'd look to hire if there's an opening. Do you hire an older coach who had some success somewhere else ... or an up-and-coming mid-major. So many different ways you can go with a hire. We'll have plenty of time to measure candidates once there's a job to fill.
  • Final: Clemson 95, Davidson 78. Clemson faces the winner of Missouri-Xavier. Davidson gets the loser.
  • Mizzou softball got a nice check and 11 recruits signed... is Coach E completely off the hot-seat at Como, or will the next issue be the end of his tenure at Missouri?
  • His leash is shorter than other coaches at Missouri. I'm not sure how athletics will define his status, but he can't have another string of controversies. For his sake, I hope he sticks around for a long time. He's a great coach, tremendous for the media.
  • He broke his ankle in camp and had surgery. This will be a medical redshirt year for him. MU never formally announced that but there's no way he's playing these final two games.
  • Pat Forde's recent comments: No sure thing that this job comes open, but the program has quickly become a quagmire under Kim Anderson. His record to date: 18-39. Anderson inherited a slew of problems from escape artist Frank Haith, including an NCAA investigation that resulted in the school self-imposing a postseason ban for this year. (Net result: Mizzou will miss one game in the SEC tournament.) But the former Division II coach hasn’t shown anything yet to prove he can get it done at this level. If Anderson has a chance to land local hotshot Michael Porter – the No. 3 recruit in the class of 2017 – that might earn him a third season. How good is the job: Iffy at present, which might also impact whether it comes open. If Mizzou can’t sell an attractive candidate on a program still working its way through the NCAA enforcement process, Anderson may get longer. Who might get the call: Jerod Haase of UAB might get a look, despite his Kansas roots. Maudlin alum sentiment died with Anderson.
  • That comment/passage is clearly from several months ago because Porter already signed with Washington and Haase got the Stanford job last offseason.
  • I agree with Super_Roop. Going back to the Middle TN game - the offense had no movement at all to start the game. But then Heupel starts to mix it up and runs Lock a few times, and we scored with hardly any effort. I think Heupel is a solid OC - but Middle TN had us on our heals the whole game with a variety of plays. What's the problem?
  • The way this season is trending I don't think the offense deserves a lot of criticism. They've steadily improved. It's not a finished product by any means, but Heupel inherited a unit with no offensive line, no running game, no established receivers and a battered QB. We can nitpick a lot of things that haven't gotten well at times, but for a first-year system that required a massive overhaul in scheme and personnel, they've shown some real promise on that side of the ball.
  • Choose which former player you think Frankie Hughes will end up being most like by the end of his tenure. Clarence Gilbert or Jabari Brown or Marcus Denmon
  • Good question. Gilbert evolved from a gunner to a floor leader and distributor. Denmon was a cold-blooded scorer. Brown was a complete scorer - could shoot deep, from midrange and penetrate. For now, I think Hughes is more one-dimensional as a perimeter shooter. Maybe he evolves into Denmon, capable of playing the point and taking over games as a scorer.
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