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.

  • Dave, great job as always. What caused Greg Brown to leave Mizzou for Auburn?
  • He's hopped jobs his entire career. Some coaches just get bored being in the same place for more than a year. He liked Barry, but Auburn generally pays more - I don't know what they're paying him off the top of my head, but probably more. He has said it was a no-brainer to reunite with Auburn DC Kevin Steele, whom he'd work with in the past.
  • Dave...why do you hate me so much???
  • Don't you have a two-minute drill to screw up?
  • Following up on the passing game discussion, a couple things:
    1) One can't look at the passing game in isolation from the run game since in the RPO based scheme they are closely related. And one of the big reasons they don't use the "middle of the field" is by design to keep DBs away from the middle to provide run support
    2) that said they seemed to do a lot of different things vs Auburn (motion, some misdirection), with a lot less emphasis on RPOs. (And they actually threw to TEs 7 times btw). That's a good thing IMO, even though it didn't produce much due to some execution issues & a really good Auburn defense. My guess is part of that is Heupel realizing after SC & Purdue games that, despite some merits of an RPO heavy approach it's also too predictable & easy for decent P5 teams to defend. Any sense of that from your observations or talking to JH or others? And any sense if were likely to see more of tgat diversification moving forward?
    Thanks & love these chats!
  • I think you're absolutely right. They added some new wrinkles against Auburn. Lots of pre-snap motion for the tight ends, slot receivers and running backs. The concept of the RPOs is great, but you essentially let the defense dictate your play-calling, run or pass. Against Auburn it seemed like Heupel wanted to be more deliberate with the direction he wanted to take.
  • I have a feeling each week here on out the chats will go from 90% football 10% basketball chat....to 80%/20%....60%/40%....40%/60% and then the week the basketball season starts it will be 20% football/ 80% basketball chat.......ya think?
  • Perhaps, but if football keeps spiraling the conversation will shift from the games to the coaching situation.
  • Thoughts on how Prewitt's doing with the SLB/nickel position? Defense has had a tough year for lots of reasons - is that position struggling with coverage plus also making us smaller in stopping the run?
  • He's been in position to make plays but he doesn't make impact stops. Seems to be in the right position most of the time and he doesn't get exposed against the pass, but he's missed some tackles and struggled to get off blocks against the run.
  • I recall seeing Mike Leach's name thrown out there, maybe in the past. Is he even a possibility if they get rid of Odom at the end of this year? The job probably doesn't seem as attractive as it may have 2 or 3 years ago.
  • The big question with Leach is does he want to leave a place that's in a remote location where there's not much pressure to win at a national level? Does he have an SEC itch to scratch? Would he want to bring his system into this league and go toe to toe with the Floridas and Georgias? Hard to say what drives him at this point. He can win eight games a year every year at Wazzu with the occasional 10- or 11-win season and Pac 12 championship game appearance and they'll rename the stadium after him someday. Or he can take his program somewhere with more visibility and different challenges. He's 56, so he's still got plenty of good years left to coach.  What he's done at two programs that are in remote locations and near the bottom of their conferences is resources is nothing short of outstanding. Any AD who doesn't consider him for their job is not doing their job.
  • In a recent interview with Coach Pinkel, he brought up that the perceived race issues that affect St. Louis recruiting don't exist when recruiting Kansas City. Have you noticed this in speaking with recruits, coaches and players from the two cities? Is it ever mentioned by people you interview without being prompted?
  • It comes up all the time in St. Louis and I've never really heard it mentioned in Kansas City. I can't explain why. I feel some people in St. Louis, and maybe the high school coaches and the players, hold MU to a higher standard when it comes to recruiting and building relationships and establishing a presence in the market. You hear that chatter all the time from the east side of the state, far more than you do from the west side. I don't know why that is, but Missouri coaches have always recognized that difference.
  • I just don't think that Odom was equipped to jump into the HC position when he did, nor has he risen to the challenge. I really hate that a former player and alum is not succeeding , but that isn't enough to stand by and want it continue to happen. Everything I have seen of this team has been nauseating, other than Fantony. I am strongly reminded of Bob Stull's tenure in Columbia.

    Maybe the fans weren't the target of Odom's rant, but I thought he was disingenuous about his comparisons. The program that he inherited was substantially better compared than when Larry Smith or Gary Pinkel started. Therefore, expecting the same time frame to return to winning should also be different. Do you get the sense that he truly believes that, or is that just fodder for the players?
  • I don't know for sure. I asked him about those comments this week and specisfically asked how he guards against paying attention to the outside criticism. He cited two examples after the Auburn game: the third-string left tackle at Rock Bridge HS with 12 followers on Twitter and the "dark days" comment he heard from a fan after the game. Here's how he answered my question Monday: "The only thing I’m worried about is our team. I want them to stay focused on what happens in these walls and what happens in our locker room. That’s the only message that was meant for, for our team to focus on what matters on us taking care of each other and working to become a good football team." Maybe so, but when he made those comments two weeks ago he sure seemed to be talking about how the criticism affected him personally. And that's OK. We're all human and nobody likes negative criticism. But you don't hear head coaches acknowledge that stuff publicly. That was unusual. To his credit, Pinkel put himself in a bubble and purposely avoided all media coverage of his team for this very reason. Ignorance is bliss sometimes. Then again, it's harder to avoid in 2017 when you're a head coach and you have to  be on Twitter to communicate with your recruits and you're getting slammed by fans all the time on the same medium.
  • It seems from Sterk and the Chancellor's comments that a decision on Odom won't be made till the end of the season. I was a little surprised by the Chancellor's comments... usually wouldn't they defer to their AD? On another note, the assistant coaches have buyouts as well? What would be the expected total cost of switching the coaching staff?
  • Buyouts are wiped out once a coach gets another job in coaching - or at least the school owes the fired coach only the difference between his current salary and his new salary. Heupel makes $700K, so they'd owe him that for next year, but not the whole sum if he lands another job. Odom's buyout is relatively cheap, about $1.35 million if he's let go after this season. Sterk has made it very clear he doesn't do midseason coaching changes. I take him at his word here. He sat staring at empty sections at Mizzou Arena and didn't fire Anderson after dismal loss after dismal loss. In fact, he didn't fire him until Anderson told him he wanted to know his fate with about two weeks left in the season. As for the chancellor, he doesn't seem all that consumed with athletics or very experienced with athletics, at least not like some of his predecessors at Missouri. I'm not sure what else he's supposed to say in that situation other than what he did last week.
  • If Odom returns after this season how does he recruit as a lame duck coach? Mizzou will have sacrificed 2 years for a guy that is not head coach material. Regardless what the players say. The players loved Woody
  • That's always a challenge, like it was when Rhoades stalled before deciding to bring Anderson back for a third season.
  • How unusual is it for a Coach and his entire staff to visit a recruit? Did that happen just due to the unusual situation at Louisville?
  • The fact that Webster Groves has two DI recruits probably played a factor. The FBI scandal has opened the doors for a lot of coaches to get involved with recruits who were committed to the schools being targeted. It makes sense for Martin to put on a full-court press.
  • My gut feeling is that Odom is over his head as a head coach. There are countless individuals who were very effective assistant coaches and even effective head coaches at smaller programs(Brady Hoke at Michigan was a perfect example of this) that just could not ascend to the head coaching level. How long to you feel the AD who did not hire him will wait to make a move?
  • There are eight games left that could spell his fate. Sterk will want to see progress. He'll want to see a competitive team. If he's going to buy the "turnaround" narrative he'll need to see evidence that Odom is the right guy to turn it around, that he has pieces in place on the roster and on the recruiting trail to make this a relevant program sooner than later.
  • is there an explanation for mizzou basketball playing division II Emporia State on 11/20 instead of before the season?
  • It's becoming more common to see DI teams play D2 teams in regular-season games in lieu of exhibition games. If I'm not mistaken Emporia State has also played or will play Kansas this year and Arkansas. I'm not sure the official reasoning behind it, but it's not unprecedented.
  • Any word on progress or lack thereof on football recruiting? It has been talked and written about with the high level of talent in this and next years classes in MO. I would think if we are completely whiffing with all these players that would factor into the equation of BO's status.
  • Missouri has one in-state commitment. Several more players with offers are still undecided. Obviously the season isn't trending the right direction to be able to sign those players who have offers from more successful, more established coaches. Here's the interesting twist for hot-seat coaches this year: With the December signing date, ADs have to be decisive with their firings and hirings. Any AD who wants to fire his head coach has to act fast to get a new coach in place so he can (1) salvage the team's commitment list and (2) hit the road immediately to sign players by late December. The market's probably going to be severely picked over by the time the traditional February signing date comes around.
  • kudos to you Dave for patiently answering these ridiculous Les Miles questions. LOL at Les Miles to Missouri. He isn't coming to Missouri!
  • There's no reason schools shouldn't kick the tires on Miles, but I just don't think his recent track record suggests he's a good fit for a Power 5 program. It's an offensive game, a QB-driven game, and that was Miles' weakness at LSU.
  • With regards to fan support, we have already seen Memorial Stadium essentially empty. If somehow Odom retains his job past the last game of this year, I don't foresee that changing next year. I think they would be looking at a situation similar to the last year of Kim Anderson's time, nobody paid attention, because it wasn't worth the frustration with the bad play.
  • Yes, that very well could happen. There will always be a cluster of 30,000 fans who show up regardless of the head coach or the record. Unlike basketball games, football games are a social event. Fans come for the tailgating and for the experience. That core will always be there six or seven Saturdays a year. But when things are bad on the field, Missouri doesn't have a strong enough or loyal enough fan base to expect huge crowds. That means less revenue for your entire department, which makes you less competitive in every sport in the SEC.
  • Any chance of stealing a FB coach from a P5 school (ala Martin)? Or is the Mizzou job such that Sterk would have to go after a non-P5 coach?
  • It all depends on the coach's situation. If a head coach doesn't like his AD or he's trying to get out of town before he's fired, you might find a P5 coach willing to leave for an SEC job. Generally, I think the Missouri job is the right place for a proven Group of Five head coach who has experience as an assistant at a Power Five school.
  • I was already high on Neal Brown before he went into LSU and won last week. Power 5 coordinator experience, in areas of the country Missouri would/does recruit, and now is setting school records at Troy in his first shot at a head coach gig. What do you hear about his moving on from Troy this year, possibly to Missouri?
  • I have no idea if he'd be interested in the Missouri job, but he's done a great job at Troy and will be attractive for Power Five ADs. And I would have said that before his team outplayed LSU for four quarters last week. He learned the Air Raid system as a player under Hal Mumme and Mike Leach at Kentucky, then coached under Tuberville at Texas Tech and under Mark Stoops at Kentucky. He runs an exciting offense. He's got SEC ties and he's worked under some proven winners. He checks a lot of boxes that Power Five ADs will want filled.
  • Dave, what is your sense, if any, on what effect the FBI investigation will have on the college landscape? I'd like to think that the threat of jail time might actually get coaches to rethink their approach, but I also tend to think that there will just be new ways to cheat.
  • You're probably right. They'll find new shortcuts. I think the NCAA will have to somehow step in and rethink how significant a role the shoe companies have in the process. There might be some legislative changes to add more oversight to the AAU circuits. It's going to be a fascinating few years to see how this falls out. You know the coaches and others who were arrested will give up names. So many more coaches could get roped into this.
  • Seems that AD Sterk is keeping a low profile on HCBO, and for good reason. Avoiding the dreaded Vote of Confidence is wise. Or, perhaps he's more involved with monitoring that the BB program has clean hands?
  • Sterk is low profile by default. But actually he made the rounds in St. Louis two weeks ago and did a bunch of interviews and addressed questions about Odom and the football program. He met with a couple writers at the Post-Dispatch and did our podcast. He faced some tough questions about the direction of the program after the Purdue loss. That said, he's not the type to make any bold statements during the season. I don't suspect that will change this fall.
  • What was your take on HCCM's "I am compliance"? Hope it doesn't become a source of mockery if something is found out, even minor stuff.
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