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 11 a.m. Thursday.




  • Hello, folks. Thanks to those of you who came out to last night's Sports Talk event in St. Louis. Good times had by all. Let's get to this chat. We'll talk Mizzou for the next two hours or so.
  • I saw Hochman's piece about the 1987 rap video. What was your favorite verse of the song and why?
  • Mike Sandbothe: I’m Sandman Mike from Washington, Mo. My shooting and passing can make the team go. My defense is mean and I can stop you cold. My Tiger tales are black and gold. Small time boys, we can rap, too. Just another Cat from Ol’ Mizzou.
  • What is Lock's problem with short passes? Too much on the throws? Can't see or read LBs? Johnathon Johnson doesn't want to get blindsided by a linebacker?
  • A few of the intermediate routes that have turned into INTs this year were mistakes by the receiver for not adjusting to the coverage. Lock needs to polish up on those shorter, medium-range routes, but I think he's got the qualities it takes to address those parts of his game. He knows to be a complete quarterback he has to make all the throws. Considering he's raised his completion percentage by 5 points this year and so many of his passes are hard-to-complete downfield shots, that tells me he's made obvious progress this year.
  • Hello Dave! I didn't even know Mizzou played Wisconsin last weekend in B-ball. How did we lose to them? We are supposed to be good. Fire Martin!
  • Wisconsin is one of the best programs in the country. No shame in losing that, especially when the main objective isn't necessarily to win but learn about your team.
  • Can you explain J'Mon Moore? Is it just mental when he plays against SEC teams? Against the cupcakes he's an ALL-SEC guy, against SEC teams he's more likely to have more penalty yards than receiving.

    Also, will Odom take credit for the quickest "turnaround" ever if the Tigers make a bowl?
  • Moore has struggled with some SEC defenses that play aggressive man coverage at the line of scrimmage and test him physically. I don't think it's a mental problem. It's about winning 1-on-1 matchups on the outside and being competitive every play. He's always had some lapses in focus, but you can't afford that against a strong secondary that's going to press you and be physical at the snap.
  • Does Mizzou BB have another scrimmage scheduled before the season starts
  • Yes, they'll play Missouri State here in the next few days. It's closed to the public and media.
  • Been hearing some rumblings that TBJ could leave early this year. If he gets the draft grade that would indicate he should go then I hope he does and cashes in, especially with the two previous knee injuries. If you had to predict if he stays or goes what would you say? It's also hard not to imagine how much the ceiling of our defenses raises next year with him back and having gone through a full off season where he was not rehabbing injury.
  • I'm sure he'll be among the five draft-eligible underclassmen who gets a draft evaluation. (Each college team can request up to five evals for underclassmen.) The grades are either first round, second round or they suggest you return to school. I'm not sure Beckner has played consistently well enough against the best competition to get that second-round grade. If he does, he might want to consider leaving, mostly because of the injury factor. But he's also a guy who seems to enjoy playing at this level with his teammates and coaches, so I don't get the impression he's in a big rush to leave MU.
  • As for the turnaround, a 7-5 finish would be far more rapid than anyone could have guessed when this team was 1-5 ... but there's a lot of football to be played before that's a serious possibility.
  • Dave - Have you heard anything about how the Mizzou administration felt about Odom referring to the condition of the program as a "rebuild.?"
  • If Drew Lock continues to perform as well as he has the last 4 games, does leaving early for the NFL start to become a likely reality given the physical tools?
  • I haven't gotten a good read on how that was interpreted, but big picture, it really doesn't matter. He has to win games, no matter how he spins the narrative. Will Sterk take into consideration the state of the program Odom inherited? Sure, but I think any reasonable person understands that it wasn't a disaster by any means.
  • Where does the '18 recruiting class go from here? The Alabama recruits have bailed and they may only get 1-2 of the "Tiger 10".
  • Everything's in a holding pattern. Recruits aren't going to jump on board if they don't know if Odom's going to be the coach. You're not seeing Florida or Tennessee get any commitments right now either. Odom can stick with his sales pitch to the kids they're targeting, but realistically those players will want to see how this next month unfolds before they'll commit.
  • With the firing of McElwain and the problems with the Florida offense, will the Tigers get their first SEC win? The defense did ok the last 2 weeks, but the opposition was weak. Florida is not Idaho or Connecticut. About a month ago I thought MU would get no SEC wins this year. Being. Overly optimistic one can see a path to win 3 of 4 versus the weaker opponents left - FLA, Vanderbilt, Tennesee and Arkansas. That would be 6 wins and bowl eligible. Not counting chickens before their hatched, but that seems like a possibility now with the offense clicking like it has in October.
  • I very much think Missouri can win this week. Now, the offense can't afford to regress to September form. The defense has to be competent, even against a horrible Florida offense. I'm not convinced Missouri is the better team, but given all that Florida has been through and the key players they'er missing this week and beyond I think Missouri can win this game by a field goal or more.
  • Dave, I saw that Mizzou was ranked #31 preseason. Do you think that is accurate? What is a reasonable expectation for them this year? Not that their ranking should be super important but it is a general reflection of their potential. Thanks
  •  
    Well, there's no such thing as an accurate preseason prediction. It's just a guess. I'm a voter this year and I had Mizzou in my top 25. Here's what I wrote about it: 
     

    Matter's AP hoops ballot: Is Mizzou a top 25 team?

    stltoday.com: Arizona is No. 1 on this voter's preseason top 25.
     
  • It always felt like Alden, for all his successes, struggled to connect to the "older" fanbase (who possesses most of the donation money). With all the success that Sterk has had with fundraising, and especially after gestures like the Norm statue, the throwback helmets, etc... do you feel like that has been more of a focus for him than it might have been under the previous administration, to reconnect past and present? What is your impression of his relationship with the boosters?
  • I'm not sure I give Sterk credit for doing that above and beyond Alden. For one, the helmet idea was Odom's. If anything, Sterk's mission is to expand Mizzou's donor base and that means tapping into the younger generation. Sure, Sterk did a great job raising money from high-dollar donors to fund the south end zone complex, but Alden did the same for far more facilities. Alden's style might have turned off some older donors - reseating the Hearnes Center upset some years ago - but I'm not sure Sterk has done anything that much better than Alden. The key difference for this regime is they have announced publicly every major gift, so it gave the appearance that the department was raking in money like never before.
  • Thanks for all your coverage! 2 quick questions. First, how did Albert O seize the tight end job? I realize he has had several touchdown catches in the last couple of games, but to be fair, those were real easy shots down the seam that I think either Reese or Blanton would have had. When those other TEs have been given a chance to catch similar balls, they've responded. Is Albert O a better or more enthusiastic blocker or a much better pass catcher to warrant squeezing Reese and Blanton pretty much out of the rotation?

    Also would like your thoughts on how the fact that anywhere from 3 and as many as 5 other SEC schools could be looking for a new coach at the end of the year impacts Sterk's decision on whether to retain Odom. Suppose Missouri doesn't win enough games at the end of the year to justify retaining Odom in a normal situation. I can envision Sterk giving Odom one more year because he doesn't want to compete with the other schools in hiring a coach, especially since the perceived attactiveness of our job is likely the lowest.
  • Good question about the coaching market. I had a conversation last week with someone on that very topic, and the answer I got was what I suspected. When ADs believe they HAVE to make a coaching change that means they don't believe the coach in place is the right person to run the program. And if you believe that, you can't let the other schools' decisions sway your vision. If Sterk believes Odom isn't the right guy for the job, he's got to fire him, regardless who you're competing with on the market. You're always going to have some level of competition for candidates, but if Sterk is indeed looking for a new coach, it's not like he's only competing with his SEC peers. If nobody in the SEC was hiring a new coach but a dozen Big 12 or Big Ten schools were in the market, the competition is just as challenging. Plus, there are a lot of really good coaches in the game right now to fill all these expected openings. That's not to say you can't make a bad hire, but there should be no shortage of capable candidates.
  • As for Okwuegbunam, his blocking got him a bigger role a few weeks ago, but more than anything I think it's his combination of size, hands, blocking and ability to get open that's put him on the field more lately.
  • The last two games have given Mizzou fans a modicum of hope, but I still see the problems with discipline and consistency. Say that the best of all possible scenarios, Odom wins out or goes 6-6. I would say that would save his job, but does that give a real hope that the program has turned around? I would just say that meant that Mizzou wasn't as bad as the bad pieces of the SEC.
  • This is the called moving the goalposts. I think most would have agreed at the beginning of the season that a 6-6 or 7-5 record would be considered obvious progress after 5-7 and 4-8 the last two years. Now I'm hearing people say 7-5 wouldn't be impressive because the SEC East is bad. Gary Pinkel won a couple Big 12 North titles because of some bad hires and bad recruiting at the other schools in the division. That's how you make headway. You take advantage of your situation and beat teams you should be able to beat. A 7-5 regular season would be an unequivocal success for this program, even if Vandy and Florida, Tennessee and Arkansas aren't very good. I don't think Georgia will turn down its SEC East title because the division isn't very good.
  • What takeaways from the Wisconsin scrimmage did Martin get, other than Tilmon is going to be a foul machine? Anybody (Jontay or Nikko) that can take a few of his minutes when he gets into foul trouble?
  • Mizzou didn't release a box score and Martin only shared a few thoughts on the scrimmage, so it's hard to really analyze anything. TIlmon fouled out. Martin used four different point guards. The Porters didn't shoot all that well. That's about all that's come out.
  • Dave, greetings from Husker country. I am not an X's and O's guy so I ask a simple question about the defense this year. The struggles are because we have really sucky players or is it scheme or is it Coaches not coaching? No speed on defense? What? Help me to understand.
  • I don't think this is a scheme issue. They don't have NFL players, other than maybe Beckner. Maybe Frazier is a fringe prospect. On our podcast last week Corey Chavous is intrigued by Terez Hall and Demarcus Acy but both are far from complete products. The secondary doesn't cover well or disrupt passes or play very physical against the run. The pass rush has been better of late but non-existent early in the season.
  • A quarterback is seen as a necessity for every recruiting class. At present MU doesn't have one in the 2018 class. However, with a RS Fr. and a red-shirtting Fr. behind Lock isn't that less of a concern? Even in the unlikely event that Lock were to forego his Sr. year, next season shouldn't continuity at the QB position not be a concern?
  • They need a quarterback in this class. Generally, you need one in every class because you never know about roster turnover. There's still time to poach a QB who's committed somewhere else, but it's hard to do that when you can't promise the staff will be back. Don't forget, MU's last two quarterback signees were committed to Boise State and Wake Forest before Odom's staff got them to flip in January. Still time left to find someone at that position.
  • Say Odom goes 7-5 (again, best of all scenarios), does he get an extension? Also, what kind of recruiting spin can he put on the season compared to shiny new coaches at UF, Tenn, & Arkie?
  • Yes, I think he would get an extension. He'd have three years left on his deal and most coaches want to be able to tell recruits that they're under contract for the length of their career. Extensions are mostly symbolic gestures. Buyouts are included to protect schools that want to fire their coaches. Odom's buyout is cheap. Mizzou can afford to add some years to his deal without getting gouged. ADs don't get consumed with how other schools are recruiting and how their shiny new coaches are doing on the job. If under this scenario Mizzou is coming off a 7-5 situation, that's a more favorable sales pitch than telling a kid, 'Hey, come to Arkansas where we only won four games last year and play in the brutal SEC West.'
  • Do you think the fact that potentially schools like Florida, Tennessee, Arkansas, Ole Miss, and maybe even A&M might be looking for new coaches (just within the conference, not to mention outside) might be a key factor in Odom getting another year, even if the final record is only 5 wins? (It really seems like 4 wins wouldn't be enough)
  • I touched on this earlier. If you don't believe your coach is the right guy for the job then you don't let him coach another game, regardless of the market.
  • Re: your AP top 25.....didn't Arizona lose a bunch of this and next year recruits due to the Addidas/ asst. coach allegations?
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