Hey, chatters. It's that time of the week again. I'll take your Mizzou questions for the next couple hours. Starting .... now:
Not sure there's a question here, so I'll just say ... thanks for playing. Next?
No update on his status. As I've reported all along, he was investigated for a discliplinary matter this summer, and his status is out of the hands of the football staff.
That'st just not a realistic scenario. If Missouri is 4-5 this time next week, this team still has a chance to play in a bowl and win seven games, and if the coaches believe that playing Drew Lock gives the team its best chance to win games, it would be unfair to the other 110 players - especially the seniors - to put the 2019 season ahead of the 2018 season. You can't sacrifice the rest of the season and tell the rest of the team the season is meaningless if you start auditioning players for next season. How would Terez Hall or Terry Beckner or Paul Adams react if Odom essentially said, "Guys, we're going to forget about these final three games and put a player on the field at the game's most important position who hasn't earned his playing time like you have, because we want to see what we've got for next year." You'd have a mutiny on your hands if that happened.
Part of learning how to win is managing decisions in the final minutes. You can change any one of about five or six plays late in the Kentucky game and Missouri wins that game by a touchdown or more. I don't know if there's anything magical I can come up with that would prevent the staff or the players from doing the opposite of what didn't work in the game. I didn't see anything late in the Kentucky game that we can say was a deeply ingrained trait that's shown up in other games. Was there a specific trend that caused that loss? I don't think there's any one or two things we can pinpoint. The wrong things happened at the wrong time. Like Derek Dooley said Tuesday, heck yeah there are things they wish they would have done differently on offense - because what they did didn't work.
The final season will be here soon enough. I can wait, I guess because we have to, right?
The administration wants to find ways to enhance the experience of attending games. What they're doing is smart. Find out what people enjoy about the experience and what they don't - in terms of things the school can control. Attending college football games is as much an event as it is a game. Other schools in this league do a much better job of entertaining the crowd before and during the game aside from the action on the field. Missouri doesn't get that. But Sterk is sharp. He knows Missouri can't rely on doing things the same old way of doing things to enhance that experience.
Pinson definitely won't redshirt. I don't know about the other two. Martin meets with the media this afternoon and it's something I'll want to explore. But with a limited bench, I've got a feeling it's too early to already decide if someone's not good enough to contribute this year.
Of course. That goes without saying.
No telling on Bryant. He's taking other visits, and there's no reason for him to pick Missouri until he knows who's going to be here to coach him next year. As for Lock, yeah, there's some truth to your premise. If Mizzou loses Saturday and then sweeps Vandy, Tennessee and Arkansas, his record as a starter will be 20-25 and 0-10 against ranked teams. Let's keep in mind, Paul Adams, Kevin Pendleton, Damarea Crockett, Albert Okwuegbunam, Terez Hall, Terry Beckner, Cam Hilton, Emanuel Hall and every other player on this roster are also winless against ranked teams. But the quarterback is the only player we attach a W-L record. Those 10 losses weren't all on Lock. He was hardly the reason Mizzou lost to Georgia last year. He was hardly the reason Missouri lost to Auburn last year. But reality is we measure quarterbacks by wins and losses.
Sterk really isn't tied to obvious football coaches other than the coaches he worked with at San Diego State (Rocky Long is pushing 70) and the bad hires he made at Washington State (Bill Doba, Paul Wulff). Sterk didn't have a natural relationship with Cuonzo Martin, so that's hardly a requirement for him to hire a coach.
Common sense says a 6-6 finish is the gray area where a decision on the program's future is hard to project. It's obviously a step backward from last season. On the other hand, it's hard to reason that this team isn't better than the 2017 version. This team is two plays away from being 6-2 and ranked in the top 20. That's not an excuse, but ADs look at things beyond the W-L record, and when you fully evaluate this team and the direction it's gone, this team has played better against better competition - it just hasn't finished two winnable games. Sterk has said he wants this program to be a perennial top 25 team that competes in the SEC. Ultimately, Sterk has to ask himself if Odom is the coach to get that done. And he has to answer that question whether the Tigers win five, six, seven or eight games.
Missouri's not in the class of Oklahoma, Texas or West Virginia, but I'd put the Tigers in the same tier as Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Iowa State. The Big 12 isn't very good. Let's not lose sight of the fact that three of MU's four losses came against teams in the top nine of the CFB rankings. Two of the four losses came on go-ahead points score with 2 and 0 seconds on the clock. Not all 4-4 teams are created equally. I still slotted Mizzou at No. 9 in my SEC power rankings this week - ahead of Tennessee, Auburn, Ole Miss, Vandy, Ole Miss and Arkansas.
The staff loves Smith and believes he would be its best all-around player this season. There's no real value in having your best player on the bench and missing games, especially when you're short-handed without Porter. The future is still bright. He'll have two more years of eligibility. Puryear and Geist are the only current scholarship seniors. Add Dru Smith, Tray Jackson and Mario McKinney to the mix, plus anyone else they add, and Mizzou will be just fine in 2019-20.
Odom said that coverage has always worked in end-of-game, end-of-half situations when he's called it before. I'm not defending the decision here, but I can explain the reasoning: From the 27 with 9 seconds left, Mizzou figured UK would get two plays. They didn't want to allow two shots to the end zone, because obviously they didn't feel great about the secondary's chances to make two stops on passes to the end zone. Instead, they'd concede one short pass, knowing UK's only way to stop the clock would be to get out of bounds. Best-case scenario, a DB comes up and makes a tackle and keeps the receiver inbounds as the clock runs out. Worst-case, the receiver gets the ball and ducks out of bounds leaving one last shot at the end zone. Ryan Walters said they hoped Kentucky would get the ball around the 15 instead of the 10. Odom said he'd run the same coverage if he had to again. Maybe that's just pride and he'd instead play man coverage and trust his DBs to make two stops. But that was his answer.
If Sterk decides to make a coaching change, it comes after the regular season finale against Arkansas, not after a bowl game. You don't wait until January to make a coaching change. You do it as soon as possible to get a jump on the market. Bowl game results are essentially meaningless in this case.
The games will not be on regular TV to my knowledge. I'll be in Knoxville for the football games that weekend, so I'm hoping to be able to stream the games myself.
There's no logical reason to expect Evansville to budge on this. The decision is made. From what I understand of the process, the NCAA can't grant the waiver without Evansville's cooperation.