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.

    Hey, chatters. Thanks for stopping by. We'll talk all things Mizzou for the next couple hours. Be sure to check out the latest Eye on the Tigers podcast. Subscribe through iTunes or Google Play or go straight to the link:

    Eye on the Tigers podcast: Previewing Kentucky, and predicting Mizzou hoops' starting 5

    Post-Dispatch Mizzou beat writer Dave Matter and sports columnist Ben Frederickson cite signs of progress they want to see from Mizzou football after a bye week, and name their starting
  • With a bye week to prepare, is this week's game at UK close to a do or die game for Odom? With a likely unwinnable game at Athens the next week a loss against UK probably puts them at 1-5 heading into part II of the season and sentiment around the program likely goes lower. If Odom doesn't win more than 3 or 4 games, it seems there is more risk to keeping him around than letting him go if one looks at it from a pragmatic point of view?
  • Pivotal game for Missouri, no doubt. Can the Tigers show a pulse early? If they are can avoid getting drilled in the first half they should have the talent, at least on offense, to make this a game in the second half. I haven't seen this team play well enough to convince me they'll win,  but Kentucky's struggled to put away inferior competition every week so far. Did the bye week fix anything? We'll find out in the first quarter. A 1-5 start is very possible, if not likely. Georgia isn't messing around. The Dawgs look like Alabama on defense, and the offense is only getting better in Athens. But Mizzou needs to worry about this game first. Kentucky's been the better team each of the last two years they've played. The same is true now.
  • If B.O is released at the end of the year A.D. Sterk finds himself in a "cannot miss" hiring situation (much like Anderson/Martin situation). You disagree with this but Les Miles is a "cannot miss" candidate. Set aside LSU. Look at what he did at Oklahoma St. He took over for Bob Simmons. In 5 years Bob Simmons had 1 winning season. Simmons' last year was 3-8. Miles took over and had the following records in four years: 4-7, 8-5, 9-4 and 7-5. Two of his first three years he beat Oklahoma. Although you do not like his boring offense his philosophy is successful: 1) a strong defense and 2) a strong running game. Here in KC we remember a coach with the same philosophy. He never developed a qb, could not score many points, could not win a championship but consistently won everywhere he went. His name is Marty Schotenheimer
  • Agree to disagree. As I've said the last few weeks, there are reasons Minnesota and Purdue went with younger coaches who are on the rise over Miles this past offseason. He stopped winning at a high level with high-level talent. And he's not getting any younger. If a team signs Miles to a five-year deal next fall, they're banking on having a 70-year-old on the sideline. Can a 70-year-old recruit like a maniac and keep his program on the cutting edge, which is absolutely necessary at a program like Missouri that's underfunded compared to its peers in the SEC?
  • Dave, enjoy your chats and writings...all I can say about Mizzou athletics is: COME ON BASKETBALL!!!!!
  • Tip off is five weeks from tomorrow.
  • Dave, in my head I can rationalize why the defense sunk so fast. Rookie HC made a rookie HC mistake trusting and handing over his defense last year to his DC. Didn't work, and that's an understatement. As BO attempts to rebuild from that mistake, he is now this year dealing with a lot of young players, especially on the DL, and depleted talent with Holmes, Logan, Howard all gone from this D. So, I can rationalize this rebuilding of the D. It's the OFFENSE that has me so frustrated. 10 returning starters. But specifically, why the offensive system and play calling. Has there been any questions or any reasoning behind this offense REFUSING to attack the middle of the field in the passing game? It seems when they throw between the hash marks, they complete passes. But they only throw 5-7 passes per game between hash marks??? Why does Heupel INSIST on the majority of his pass play calls be outside the hash marks? Any insight to his reasoning here?
  • I don't think the defense deserves a pass. The D-line has veteran players in Harold, Frazier and Beckner plus some older juco transfers who are new to the program but not new to college football. As for the offense, I sometimes think the "doesn't throw to the middle of the field" criticism is overblown. Johnathon Johnson does most of his work in the middle of the field and he just caught 10 passes in the last game. Sometimes defenses clog up those areas of the field and give the outside receivers single coverage along the sideline. This version of the spread essentially looks for the best man-to-man matchup, and those usually come outside. True, the tight ends haven't been as involved lately. Heupel's explanation has been that they needed to stay home and pass protect more often the last two games - and the play-action passes to them don't get called when there's no running game threat. I'm not smart enough to understand why you can't design more passes to get those guys involved. Some of it falls on the QB's shoulder. The coaches can't read the defense for Lock and make him throw the ball. Bottom line, nothing's working very well on that side of the ball and everyone deserves some criticism.
  • RE: Drew Lock. I am so perplexed by Drew Lock. He can complete a dazzling throw anywhere on the field, jaw dropping throws at times. It's obvious he has the physical tools and talent to be a Sunday QB. What I don't understand is, why he doesn't display any of the nuances to playing the position. Why so few play fakes? Why so few designed pump fakes? Why does he never look off a safety say to the left side of the field, then come back and throw right (or vice versa, etc etc), And why does he never look off one receiver who may be covered and move to his 2nd and 3rd progressions?? To your knowledge, is this a system thing? The 1-read system? Or is this a limitation with Lock, that he CAN'T do those things?? I've never seen a QB with these kind of elite physical tools, that displays NONE of the subtlety and nuance of playing the position. I just wonder if this is LOCK, or is it what he is TOLD to do by the OC running the system???
  • For one thing, I never quite understand how someone knows for sure where the quarterback is looking on the field. Lots of reads are made pre-snap. He's looking for the favorable matchup based on those reads. Lock hasn't been very accurate this year, but other than a couple of the INTs, I can't say he's made really poor decisions. He's usually throwing to someone who's open or should be able to get open. These receivers don't consistently get great separation. Lock is not a good passer outside of the pocket. He's so much better when he's quick and decisive and unloads to his pre-snap read. That's by design. When things break down and he has to look for another option, especially when he's on the run, he doesn't freelance well. That's a big part of his game he'll have to develop before he can think about the next level.
  • Any reasoning as to why there are no exhibition basketball games? It is mostly to prevent Iowa State from doing any scouting with the numerous new roster player? With interest at an all-time high I would think a pre-season game versus a local college would so well this year. Do you expect one of those "secret scrimmages" versus another college like we have done with Creighton in the past?
  • There is a secret scrimmage planned, I believe with Missouri State. Martin and Bears coach Paul Lusk are close friends. Missouri wants to make a big splash with the Iowa State game. The buzz will be dulled some if Martin's first time on the sideline and Porter's first time on the court comes in an exhibition game against UMSL. They are planning some kind of preseason events, but nothing official yet.
  • MU beats UK this Saturday if ....? I think they need 200+ yds on the ground. Drew Lock will not win a tight game IMO. He has a terrible record as a third year starter. When will the coaches realize he doesn't have "it" and maybe see if someone else can make plays when things break down. Even when MU lit up Mo St it wasn't because Lock was shredding them down the field. he had half a dozen passes that were nice but that any D1 qb could make down the field. the others were screens that his receivers made plays on. The arm talent love affair may be how this coaching staff ends up out of work.
  • You're right, the record is really poor. 7-17 as a starter at Mizzou, 5-11 in Heupel's system the last two years. Three of those wins are against Eastern Michigan, Delaware State and Missouri State. On the other hand, these coaches see the quarterbacks in practice every day. They know their jobs are on the line. If they believed someone else gave them a better chance to win, they'd play the other guy.
  • When Barry Odom was hired, wasn't it inherently known he would need TIME to not only build HIS program, but also LEARN how to be a head coach? When you hire a first time HC, in the SEC, you are already putting him behind the 8-ball, no? Don't you NEED to give him time learn AND build? To that end, Tiger fans should realize no "big name" coach is coming to Columbia Missouri. Just look on a map. Nowhere NEAR the fertile recruiting regions in the SE, South, N, and West. So the program will need to focus on up-and-coming small school coaches, and maybe P5 coordinators looking for their first shot. Bottom line is, this program isn't recruiting top-20 recruiting classes every year. Where we sit on a MAP tells us so. We need a developer. Like Pinkel was. A coach who can get good players, and turn some into great players. To tie it together, we do NOT know yet how well BO can DEVELOP. He is still learning how to be a HC, he is still putting a stamp on his program, and so starting over to me seems like another 4 years to see if the new HC can develop? I'm one of the few.......but I believe you give Odom time. Your thoughts?
  • In theory, yes, a first-time head coach should get some time to develop his program, and I believe Odom would have a longer leash if the guy who hired him were still at MU. But Jim Sterk didn't hire a first-time head coach or make any promises that he'd get time to learn on the job. I think reasonable people would have more patience if Missouri was more competitive and making progress. But they're losing home games by 18, 32 and 37 points - and playing worse on offense and less competitively than it played at the end of last season. I understand the fan frustration and impatience. You're right, Missouri will never hire a high-profile head coach in football, not when other more established programs with better resources are also searching for a coach. But you can still find a proven head coach who has a system in place and can develop a winning program. It's happened before at Missouri.
  • Dave, is is possible Drew Lock isn't the QB we thought he was?
  • He's got a pretty sizable body of work to measure at this point. He's started more games at an SEC school than any QB in the league. He expected to play better this year. His coaches expected him to play better. I will say he played better against Auburn than he did against South Carolina and Purdue - and Auburn has a much better defense than either team. It's not enough progress to get anyone excited, but maybe he can build off that performance and start to lead more scoring drives.
  • Dave - A 3-9 season seems like a distinct possibility. Idaho and UConn seem like the only games Mizzou will be favored in. And UConn is showing a pulse. Would 3-9 be walking papers for Odom or one more year to try to get things in a positive direction?
  • Like I've always said, I think context of those losses will be a factor. If they're getting curbstomped at home by Florida and Tennessee in front of half-empty stadiums ... if Vanderbilt puts on a defensive clinic in Nashville .... if Arkansas wins big in Fayetteville and Mizzou limps home 3-9, then, yes, Sterk will have to decide if Odom is the right person to get this thing turned around. Fan support was a factor in his decision to fire Kim Anderson. Could be factor here, too.
  • Dave, you consistently bring up Les Miles' archaic, leather-helmet style offense as the reason he was run out of LSU. While we can agree to disagree on his offensive philosophy, I don't think it's fair to ignore the expectations at a place like LSU as a reason he was "ran out" of his job. I think considering this, and the expectations at Missouri, Les Miles would be a great coach for Missouri at this time. To briefly illustrate:

    Les Miles was fired after back to back season of 8-5 and 9-3 at LSU. At LSU, they have National Championship expectations every season. So 8-5 and 9-3 simply will not cut it there. I buy that.

    Gary Pinkel's Missouri teams averaged just under 8 wins a year (7.8) during his time at Mizzou. Considering this, I argue a large majority of Mizzou nation would be satisfied with routinely going 8-5 and 9-3. And the highest expectations Missouri would have for Miles would be to win the East once or twice in a contract period and put us in the conversation of the playoff, of which I believe Miles is completely capable. After all, that's the peaks that Pinkel reached.

    Yes, his age is a concern for a long-term stay. However, a single contract, five year stay would be beneficial for both sides. Miles gets to end his coaching career on a better note than getting fired at LSU, while at the same time stabilizing a program under considerable less pressure and expectations than his previous job.

    And even if he runs an "archaic" offense, can anyone reasonably argue that what we have now offensively is better than that?
  • If you want to fire Odom, then the standard to measure Miles shouldn't be Odom vs. Miles, it should be Miles vs. other candidates. Yes, LSU was going 8-5 and 9-3 - with the most talented rosters in America. LSU has flooded the NFL with players - and the program was getting progressively worse on the field. And those were players that Miles will have no chance to sign at Missouri. He's not walking into New Orleans and other talent-rich parishes in Louisiana and convincing four- and five-star players to come north to Missouri, which means he'd have to win by developing less heralded talent. And player development, especially on the offensive side, became his glaring weakness at LSU. He couldn't win big with Leonard Fournette or Odell Beckham Jr. on offense. On a personal level, sure it would be interesting to cover Miles. He's quirky. He's likable. He's interesting. He'd bring an initial energy boost to the program. (Heck, I already have his cell number!) But if I'm a Missouri fan, those final years at LSU would scare the heck out of me.
  • Mind you, I'm just answering questions here, not speculating on any candidates for the Missouri job. You ask me about a coach and I'll share my thoughts. It would be naive at this point for me to take your questions and refuse to share thoughts on coaches. These are the conversations Missouri fans are having.
  • I don't buy Odom's rant that this season is a turnaround season and he needs time to turn things around. When Pinkel took over in 2000 after only 2 winning seasons in the previous 17, that was a turnaround season. Sure MU had a losing non bowlseason in Pinkel's last season, but that was preceeded by 2 east division championships. Odom himself was invlved with MUFB during Pinkel's term and if I remember correctly the returning playing from the 2015 squad were backing Odom as Pinkel's replacement. There will be adjustments when a new coach comes in, but. Considering the above facts it seems to me the adjustments should be minor and the team should be able to continue to feed offthe success of the prior coach. That hasn't happened and I think it is expecting a bit too much to give Odom the entire5 year length of his contract to get this ship righted. It is disconcerting to watch the games on tvto see the stands on the MU side of the field to be deserted by halftime. This team is not competitive on offense or defense and unless there is a major turnaround in the on field performance, IMO Sterk should start looking for the Counzo Martin for the FB team after this season.
  • This isn't how you welcome a coach who takes over a turnaround situation.
    I disagree with his choice of words about this being a turnaround, which is synonymous for rebuild. He didn't phrase the job that way when he took over - or even before this season. After any coaching change there's a transition, but Pinkel laid a foundation for how to build a successful program. That came unglued somewhat during 2015, but Odom insisted the program was still on solid footing after the protests/boycott. The staff and player turnover that changed the roster the last two years were mostly Odom's choices, but he still talked about expecting to play in a bowl last year and this year. But now it's a turnaround project. I agreed with a lot of what he said after the Auburn game but not so much that part. 
  • Would you know if Cuonzo would be interested in Ramey? Don't know if there's space in the rotation or available scholarships
  • I've heard conflicting things about Martin's interest in Ramey in recent weeks. He's a talented enough player that if he wants to play for the state school you find room. But I don't sense point guard is a huge priority for the 2018 class.
  • Dave, with the scandals going on in CBB recruiting, could it be the reason Mike Anderson never had a banner recruiting classes at Mizzou, is that he was "playing it straight"? He hasn't had many banner classes at Arkansas either. Anderson recently did an interview at the Arkansas Democrat Gazzette that indicated that was why his classes aren't "banner classes".
  • Mike recruited a certain kind of player to fit his system and didn't chase a lot of five stars. I'm not sure that was an ethical choice as much as it was a style choice. He's had a very good career and continues to find players that fit his system.
  • I don't see any SEC victories in the remaining 8 games based on the Tigers performance vs SC, Auburn and Purdue. I know MU is counting on wins vs Idaho and Connecticut, but remember how MTSU came into a MU homecoming game and unexpectedly spoiled that party. CT is a road game. Rmember when CT was last here it was expected to be a early season walkover that turned out be a low scoring close game that MU finally won. This years contest is in CT and with the anemic offensive and defensive performances MU has given so far, I'm not real optomistic that either ID or CT will end up with the result everyone thought when they first lookes at the schedule. Remember everyone thought Purdue would be a cakewalk which actually the final score of 35-3 turned out to be even though they thought MU would be the one with the 35. This team has not been competitive so far. It kind of reminds me of the last 3 basketball seasons.
  • There are absolutely no gimmes on this schedule. Nobody can confidently say Missouri will definitely beat Idaho or UConn. Neither team has played well, but neither has MU.
  • There were rumblings from Coach Odom about potential depth chart changes for this weekend and some younger players with increased roles, but the depth chart came out and is nearly same as for past games. Most weeks the depth charts don't match up with what happens during games as well. Is this gamesmanship from the coaching staff or something else?
  • This is true for most coaches but especially Odom. He's got zero interest in putting out a public depth chart. One week this season he never gave the media relations staff an updated depth, so they just ran with the previous week's depth, even though one listed starter had lost his job and hadn't even played in the previous game. I put zero stock in the depth each week. Heck, Nate Strong was still on the roster two weeks after he quit the team.
  • Any younger players that you predict will see more expanded roles this weekend? Coach Odom mentioned Brooks and Gillespie amongst others. Think those 2 will get some defensive reps against a quality opponent and a chance to fight for more game time?
  • He mentioned Ulmer, Gillespie and Brooks. Brooks backs up Garrett and Beisel, so if Brooks plays, that means fewer snaps for one of those guys, unless he moves over to the weakside and takes reps from Hall or Burkett. Who plays less in the secondary if Ulmer and Gillespie get into the mix? Wilson has played OK back there. Sherrils is better than he was a year ago. Maybe we see the freshmen play a series for every two series the veterans play.
  • Some noise from Porter Jr. about staying two years...is this just stuff we fans are making up? In terms of football, I would like to see BO get more time, but I think fan apathy will speak just as loud as wins/losses the remainder of this season. Hope he can turn it around, if not let's go get Butch Jones hahaha!
  • Fake news. There's a Porter Jr. Facebook page that has nothing to do with him that's run by a random fan and it posted a message saying he's staying two years. The account has no affiliation with Michael or his family. He's not staying two years. Martin said last week he doesn't even waste time having the conversation about it because the world knows he'll be a top pick next summer. Since the NBA started requiring high school players to wait a year before entering the draft, every top-ranked recruit has been one-and-done - and not all of them were as highly regarded as Porter.
  • Dave: So far, BO's his tenure has been marked by sloppiness, poor execution and missed assignments. My observations have been that these things don't tend to change with coaches. Typically, they make their stamps in terms of quality of play (not necessarily wins) early on. Jeff Fisher was a great example. From day one, it was penalties, poor line play and ill-timed mistakes. None of that ever changed. On the flip side, when Mike Anderson took over the BB team, I was struck right away in regard to how he was able to get his to operate his system, to compete defensively and value the ball despite their pace of play. The talent wasn't there, so they were mediocre those first couple of years, but got better when talent caught up to execution. To the negative, his teams played poor situational basketball at the end of games, fouling far too much with leads late in games, and that never changed. With Pinkel, right away he was able to get his team's to play cleanly (few penalties/turnovers). This is all to say that I would be shocked if things changed appreciably under Odom. When the quality of play, which was not good in year 1, declines in year 2, that's an ominous sign.
  • There's some truth to that with your examples. I will say Pinkel had some teams that began the year committing a lot of penalties and turnovers and were able to clean it up during the course of the year. Odom's 2015 defense was very sound and made timely stops, so it's hard to understand why that would change when he takes over as head coach and still hasn't been fixed now that he's running the defense again. Part of it is talent. Having Kentrell Brothers at linebacker made those coaches look pretty damn good in 2015.
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