Mizzou chat with Dave Matter

Mizzou chat with Dave Matter

Bring your Tigers football, basketball and recruiting questions, and talk to Mizzou beat writer Dave Matter in a live chat starting at 11 a.m. Thursday.

    Good afternoon, chatters. I'm just back from Mizzou practice. Have lots of injury updates to share. Start filing  your questions and we'll get started here soon.
    Hi Dave. We're headed to Laramie for opening game--give us the scouting report on eats and things to do
    Well, I have never been there, so I'm looking for a similar scouting report. I'll be staying in Cheyenne and driving over the game on Saturday.
    I think coach Odom is doing a great job so far. He has improved each year.
    But my question is what does it take to be considered an elite head coach?
    Win championships or have your team in contention for championships on a consistent basis. 
    Everyone can define "elite" differently, but I'd consider the elite company in college football to be Nick Saban, Dabo Swinney, Jimbo Fisher, David Shaw, Chris Peterson, Kirby Smart. Too early to tell on some of the young guys at blue blood programs, but Lincoln Riley is getting close to that status. 
    On that next tier I'd put James Franklin, Mark Dantonio, Mike Leach, Mike Gundy, Jim Harbaugh, Dan Mullen, Kyle Whittingham. 
    Quick injury update from today's practice. I'll have more online at STLtoday.com later this afternoon, but the chatters get the news first:
     
    Barry Odom provided an injury update after Thursday’s practice and, unfortunately, it’s bad news for one of the better stories in camp. Junior tight end Brendan Scales underwent surgery Thursday morning for a broken bone in his foot, the fifth metatarsal, he suffered Wednesday, Odom said. He’s expected to miss six to eight weeks. Scales had been working with the first-team offense while starter Albert Okwuegbunam and top backup Daniel Parker Jr. nursed injuries. The fourth-year junior from St. Louis had climbed the depth chart and carved out a role in the rotation. That climb is on pause for now.
    “I hate it because he had made up so much great and was really going to help us,” Odom said. “I hate it for the kid because he was really turning the corner.
    Okwuegbunam was limited again Thursday while recovering from the sprained right knee he suffered last week. “I think he's a lot closer to being 100 percent than not,” Odom said.
    Parker returned to most drills Thursday after hurting his shoulder in practice earlier in the week.
    Defensive end Tre Williams has been out with some pain in his left shoulder, the same shoulder he had repaired previously, Odom said. “If we would play Saturday he would play,” Odom said.
    Slot receiver Johnathon Johnson has been out of action with a sprained toe on his right foot. Johnson is the team’s most experienced receiver, but the Tigers have two capable backups in the slot in Barrett Banister and Dominic Gicinto.
    Odom called the toe injury “very, very minor.”
    “But still, the explosion he has coming in and out of breaks we've got to manage that to make sure it doesn’t get out of control,” Odom said.
    Defensive tackle Jordan Elliott, another starter, sat out most drills Thursday because of soreness, Odom said. Odom indicated Elliott would be back for Saturday’s closed scrimmage. “We want to get more out of him Saturday than today,” Odom said.
    Defensive end Trajan Jeffcoat remains out of action with a sprained elbow suffered on the first day of camp nearly two weeks ago. “He still would be day to day, maybe more week to week than day to day, but we're making good progress,” Odom said.
    Backup D-tackle Chris Daniels has been spending most of his time at practice working on conditioning. “He’s on the same plan I’m on: weight loss,” Odom said. “We’re trying to get him in that position.”
    With the issues at tight end, freshman Niko Hea can forget about taking a redshirt this season. Odom said he’d be “really surprised” if Hea “doesn't play the entire season.”
    Look for more updates later today.
    Are you concerned at all about the high elevation at Wyoming? I think Wyoming will hang with Mizzou in the first 3 quarters, Mizzou pulls away in the 4th. Thoughts?
    As long as my job in Wyoming is to peck away at my keyboard on deadline, I don't have any worries about the elevation. Then again, I'm not the guy who's paid to have those concerns. Odom talked about that after today's practice and said the team's nutritionist had adjusted the team's diet leading up to the game and will have the team take certain supplements to help adjust. Odom has talked to coaches from other staffs who have played games in Wyoming - he's got a former Wyoming QB on his staff now - to get some intel on playing in Laramie. "I want our guys to have all the information," he said.
    The SEC coaches preseason all-conference team came out today. Mizzou landed eight players on the teams:
    1st team: OG Tre'Vour Wallace Simms, TE Albert Okwuegbunam, LB Cale Garrett
    2nd team: CB DeMarkus Acy
    3rd team: RB Larry Rountree, OT Yasir Durant, DT Jordan Elliott, PK Tucker McCann
     
    That's similar to my AP ballot. I also had Wallace-Simms, Albert O and Garrett on the first team. One addition I had on my ballot was CB Christian Holmes.
  • Will only draft beer and wine be sold at football games this year, in regards to alcoholic beverages?
    No bottles or cans? Only plastic cups?
    The SEC rule allows for only beer and wine in cups. Not sure if paper or plastic off the top of my head. No hard alcohol or mixed drinks. 
    From what I'm hearing, 16-ounce beers will cost $8. Not sure on how many kinds of beer will be sold, but MU already has a standing contract with Anheuser-Busch for its products in the premium seating areas. 
    Hi Dave
    Can you provide us a little 'color' about Kobe Brown?
    Read some of the dated on-line material but wanted to get your insight into his playing style, fit, upside potential, more of a 4 year college player are opposed to a NBA type? What kind of player is he?
    Talk to me.
    John L
    He's not a one-and-done prospect. Talented for sure, but not at that level. The staff thinks he's versatile. He handled the ball a lot in high school as a point guard, but he's 6-7, which means he can be used as a larger wing player or maybe even an undersized power forward. When the media met with the veteran players a few weeks ago, one teammate called Brown "a four guard," which implies he could  be the biggest guard in a four-guard lineup and defend the four/power forward position.
    The basketball Tigers finished 12th in the SEC regular season standings, but are scheduled to play in the Big 12 SEC basketball challenge at West Virginia. I assumed the top 10 SEC schools would play in this challenge since the Big 12 has only 10 teams. Not complaining that they got this game because a game like this should be good preparation for the big dance, but I was surprised to see this matchup.
    The 10 teams that are chosen aren't based solely on last year's record. It's based on a combination of factors, including the team's record over the last two years. It's good for Mizzou - and the SEC and Big 12 - that the Tigers are part of the event.
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    Just a heads up here, but next week the Post-Dispatch is doing something special for our subscribers called ... Subscriber Week. Our four sports chats will be available only to subscribers. The Mizzou chat is scheduled for 11 a.m. next Thursday. 
    If you're not a subscriber, now's the time to take advantage of this deal: $3 for three months. The deal is good through Sunday. 
     

    Join

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    I'm excited to see coach Gibbs take over the defensive backs and help the team to create more turnovers. I'm optimistic that he can do that. I was curious where was Mizzou ranked last year in turnover margins?
  • Last year, Mizzou was plus-1 in turnover margin. That ranked No. 57 nationally and tied for ninth in the SEC.
    MU was also ninth in the SEC in takeaways with 16, down from 17 in 2017 and 20 in 2016.
    Thanks for the chat Dave! There seems to be a lot of disagreement across the sports pages nationally how Mizzou's regular season will turn out. The predictions go from 5-7 and missing a bowl (if ban is removed) to possibly making it to the SEC championship game at 11-1. That's a pretty wide gap. What do you expect (depending upon known injuries) a fair assessment would be and who would you see any losses to? Thanks again!
    Honestly, I haven't seen any reasonable person predict anything less than 7-5. The schedule is way too favorable to expect a losing record. There are enough proven pieces on this team that fans should expect nothing less than eight wins. The offense should  be every bit as good, if not better. The defense has plenty of room for improvement and returns some of its best pieces from last year. The special teams have to get better. But looking at the schedule alone, two of the three toughest SEC games are at home: Florida and South Carolina. The toughest noncon game (West Virginia) is at home.  I say this every week, but odd-numbered years should always be in MU's favor because three of the road games are at Arkansas, Kentucky and Vandy. 
    So, I think this team should be 9-3. That, of course, is working under the assumption there aren't major injuries to key players. 
    What’s the update on Albert? He needs reps with #7.
    How bad are the injuries? Concerned.
    Hey Dave if we go 12-0, but the ban isn't lifted and we can't make playoff... Will the mayor of Columbia and the rest of the Mizzou higher ups pull a UCF and have a parade and claim that they are the national champions? HaHa!
    So no issues with #7 hammy? Odom didn’t bother to mention?
    Bryant has been fine and  hasn't missed a practice since he left with the hamstring scare 10 days ago.
    I fully expect Odom to fall flat on his face again in the early portion of the schedule and be back on the hot seat heading into next year. Perhaps we can fire Odom at seasons end and promote Dooley.
    That tells me you don't believe in the defense. If it's the offense's fault for another slow start, nobody is promoting the offensive coordinator. It's completely fair to wonder if this defense will be more consistent this year and look more like the defense from last year's losing streak or last year's winning streak. Until this team gets off to a strong start, it's fair to wonder if the slow starts are coincidental or something systemic within the program. I'm more optimistic that MU will handle the first month of the schedule.
    Dave do you think Mizzou will leave for Wyoming a few days earlier then to give them more time to adjust to the elevation? Having 3 or more days to adjust rather than 1 is obviously a huge advantage.
    I don't think so. They always practice on Tues-Thurs in Columbia then leave on Fridays. I'm sure the elevation could be a factor for some players, but I'd be surprised if this is a major issue. It's not like Wyoming has a reputation as a hard place for visiting teams to play. If they did, they'd win more games. Just 33-28 at home over the last 10 years.
    The need for 2-3 rbs in the SEC that can run between tackles. Badie is more of an outside back. Who are potential rbs that step up and help the offense other than Roundtree?
    It's going to be a whole lot of Rountree and Badie and then most likely Simi Bakare as the No. 3 option. He's a bigger back than Badie, but don't get caught up too much in Badie's height. He's closer to 200 pounds this year and is a tough runner for his stature. I looked this up for a recent story, but SEC teams that employ a QB who provides ample rushing yards usually don't need a third running back to do much heavy lifting. That wast true last year for Mississippi State, LSU and Texas A&M - and could be true this for Mizzou with Rountree, Badie and Bryant all as running threats. Of course you need a third and a fourth back ready to get touches. Bakare looks like No. 3. Dawson Downing or the freshman, Anthony Watkins, would be No. 4.
    Is this the year we finally beat SC & KY?
  • I will have a more definitive answer on both Sept. 21 and Oct. 26. 
    I expect Mizzou to win one of those games. I wouldn't be shocked if they stumble in the other. Not much is expected from Kentucky this year, but I don't think it's wise to completely write off the Cats. 
    Kobe Brown can play out on the floor but he plays with a physicality for a 6.6 guy. He's not a guard, but a big guy that can put it on the floor. Do you think Mitchell Smith with his liabilities plays much this year?
    Yes, Smith is one of two power forwards who will play, along with Tray Jackson. Not sure yet if Parker Braun will get many minutes as the other four. Smith is also practicing at the five position. I could see him being an option if Tilmon is in foul trouble. Smith played pretty well in a few games late last year in the role he was asked to play.
    Hey Dave, I have heard a lot of optimism from the different media outlets covering the team around a couple of position groups in particular that could take a step forward this year. Those being WR, CB, Safetys, and LB. Of those mentioned or possibly one not mentioned, which do you think is most important for that to come to fruition. I see the potential and am excited but what group needs to meet that potential more than the rest for this season?
    The safeties. They have to make impact plays for this defense to be better than average. The athleticism is there with Gillespie and Bledsoe. Can they turn it into production? The corners are solid. This team has three starter-caliber corners in Acy, Holmes and Ware and a veteran fourth corner in Sparks. As long as Garrett is on the field, the linebacker unit will make plays. I don't expect to see Garrett leave the field very often. Bolton will be the guy next to him in base down situations. You might see Aubrey Miller get some series in relief of Bolton, but Bolton is clearly the starter at WILL. Garrett's backup, for now, appears to be Cam Wilkins, and not the older Jamal Brooks.
    When you speak to the veteran offensive line players for this team. What are they saying about the defensive line they're going up against every day? I think we have a pretty good offensive line and I would think they would be a pretty good judge of how or if the defensive front has improved.
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