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 1 p.m. Thursday.

    So anytime a team has a less than great season you just fire him and look for someone else because they make too much money in the first place? I understand being disappointed by the results, but context is important, too. Martin rescued Mizzou basketball from the worst three-year stretch in the program's modern history and produced a 20-win season and NCAA Tournament berth. Last year, he loses his best player to a season-ending injury and another starter in January and you want to fire him? Well, for one, he can't be fired without cause for at least two more years. Why? Per his contract, after the first time Mizzou wins 20 or more games and/or goes to the NCAA Tournament, MU does not have the right to fire Martin without cause until after his fourth year. Also, a meaningless preseason poll has no bearing on Martin's job performance or how the season will actually unfold.
    As for Odom, I get the frustration and disappointment. But rest assured, no matter if it's Odom or someone else, the head coach at Mizzou will never make less than $3 million a year ever again. That's the bare minimum for an SEC head coach in 2019. 
    Nice tip in for Reed last night, but i was disappointed to see him only get 4 minutes. Particularly because I didn't think Mitchell Smith was impressive when he was on the floor.

    Last year Reed usually only got double digit minutes when Tilmon was in foul trouble which obviously wasn't the case last night, but based on 1 game it seems like he may not even get those. Is the current decision that Mitchell the leading candidate for Tilmon's back up minutes?
    Martin said this week he'll probably only play one backup center in his rotation. For now that's Nikko or Smith. Now, that doesn't mean every game it'll be the same guy. Friday it might be Nikko. Next Tuesday it might be Smith. Smith can also shift over and play the four. Nikko is exclusively a five. Smith brings a lot of energy on defense. He's got a nice outside jumper. I'd say he has more upside athletically.
    Answer seems obvious, but is any part of Tilmon’s improved early play attributable to upgrade at the 4?
    In theory, spreading the floor with better athletes gives Tilmon more breathing room inside and less traffic to get in his way, but I give him the credit. He's worked on the mental part of the game as far as not getting consumed with negative thoughts about the fouls. And the staff has worked hard on proper fundamentals on both ends of the floor to avoid the kind of contact that draws whistles.
    Can you explain to me the staffs fascination with Jarvis Ware? All I ever see him doing is talking trash, missing tackles and committing PI. Christian Holmes should never leave the field.
    They see these guys in practice every day and decide playing time based on their game and practice evaluations. So they apparently believe Ware is the better player. The antics get old. It's one thing to be confident but it's another thing to hurt your team with penalties. For the record, I requested interviews with all three corners this week and Ware was the only one not approved to meet with the media. There's usually two or three requested players each week who aren't allowed to do interviews.
    Dissect the minutes at 5. Mitchell Smith seems the 3rd best option at best and seemed to play over Nikko who only got 4 minutes?
    I touched on this earlier, but Martin clearly liked Smith in that role more last night. It's something that could fluctuate from game to game.
    I saw the depth chart had Wallace-Sims back on the right side. I felt like his game dropped when on the left for whatever reason. Where the coach's just trying to get the 2 best next to each other instead of maintaining the chemistry from the first 4-5 weeks? He was blown up on some critical plays against Vandy with their stunt game. On one play he was basically run over. Let's not forget his penalties this year are way up
    Don't read into the public depth chart. He's been listed on the right side each week and continues to play on the left side. The depth chart is pretty much meaningless. Devin Nicholson wasn't listed anywhere on the depth all season and then in the last game started at middle linebacker. Odom hates the idea of a public depth chart and just puts one out because most everyone else does.
    I've asked a few times on why Simms moved from right to left and the answer I got was because Cook and Borom work better together as a tandem on the right side. It might be more of a matter that Cook is better on the right side more so than Simms is worse off on the left side. It's hard to really learn much about the O-line on this team because the position coach doesn't do interviews when he's requested by reporters. It's really disappointing. I've learned a lot about O-line play over the years and had good relationships with coaches in that position, from Sam Pittman to Dave Christensen to Bruce Walker to Josh Henson to A.J. Ricker. They were all helpful whenever I had something I didn't understand and provided color and personality to stories about their guys. That's no longer the case. 
    Dave - How much is Barry Odom owed if he is dimissed? Thank You
    His base salary ($450K) times the number of years left on his contract, which goes through 2024. Multiply that by the five years left on his deal and that puts a buyout at $2.25 million. He also gets all the money collected in his deferred fund that the university controls. That fund earns $150,000 every year that Odom is employed. He will have collected $600K through that fund through this season. In total, if MU would make a change after this season, he'd be owed a little less than $3 million.
  • Dave - I think everyone, both fans and sports experts, would agree that this year's schedule positoned Odom's football team to have a chance of 9 wins or better. At this point, that seems to be very unlikely, although I guess they could still win out. So going into to next year with a tougher schedle that includes LSU and losing our starting quarterback and other players at key positions, why should we think next year's reccord is gong to be any better then how we finish this year? Thank You
    First of all, Missouri doesn't play LSU next year. The Tigers play Louisiana, as in Louisiana-Lafayette. MU doesn't play LSU again until 2023. Here's the 2020 schedule:
    Sept. 5 Central Arkansas
    Sept. 12 Vanderbilt
    Sept. 19 at South Carolina
    Sept. 26 Eastern Michigan
    Oct. 3 at Tennessee
    Oct. 10 at BYU
    Oct. 17 Georgia
    Oct. 24 Kentucky (Homecoming)
    Nov. 7 at Mississippi State
    Nov. 14 at Florida
    Nov. 21 Louisiana
    Nov. 28 Arkansas
     
    Even as a transition year with a new quarterback in place, MU should still get to a bowl game in 2020. There are going to be coaching changes across the SEC. Maybe at Vandy. Maybe South Carolina. Maybe Mississippi State. So, it's hard to size up the schedule now not knowing what teams will have coming back next year. We know Mizzou will be underdogs at home against Georgia, on the road at Florida and maybe at Tennessee if the Vols keep trending upward. Winning at South Carolina and at BYU won't be easy. The rest of the schedule is manageable. 
    You mentioned players not being made available for interviews. Why is that? Are they considered by the team to be unable to conduct themselves well enough to be interviewed?
    It's Odom's call on who's approved for interviews. I don't know exactly what goes into those decisions. I assume there are some players he doesn't trust what they'll say on the record.
    I hope Barry gets fired. In fact, I would like to see the university revoke his degree.
    I wouldn't hold your breath on the latter.
    Dave thanks for all the time you spend taking questions. Have the football coaches forgotten that they can make adjustments at halftime? It seems like nothing changes in the 2nd half of the last few games. Just poor execution , poor play calling , poor tackling, etc
    Coaches who wait for halftime to adjust are bound to fail. I've never been in a locker room at halftime, but I'm in the same press box as some of the coaches, and more often than not, the logistics of leaving the booth and getting down to the locker room and back before halftime ends realistically leaves them just a couple minutes to do use the bathroom and grab a soda, much less make any major gameplan changes and then relay those changes to all their assistants and players. Good coaches don't make miraculous changes at halftime. They adjust on the fly throughout the game. 
    The defense was much, much better in the second half at Kentucky after making some changes. Were it not for the fake punt, MU would have stopped Kentucky on every possession in the second half. 
     
     
    Is Jordan Geist playing basketball anywhere? I haven't heard any updates on him for a long time.
  • He's playing in Germany for a team called Romerstrom Gladiators Trier. He's the team's No. 2 scorer, averaging 19.1 points, 2.1 assists, 4.1 rebounds.
  • How is the ground game shaping up for next year? Do you think we'll get another year of Rountree?
    It all depends who comes back. Rountree isn't having a great year and is on pace for just under 1,000 yards. But if he stays healthy, he'll end the year with somewhere between 550-600 career carries. That's a lot of wear and tear on a body when you're playing for free. If he has NFL aspirations and gets a decent draft grade, he might want to think about leaving school - if he's in that big of a hurry to leave. I don't think he's come close to his potential this year, but that probably has more to do with MU's O-line. Here's what he'll have to ask: Will the line be any better next year? I'm not sure he's fast enough to be anything better than a mid-round pick. Will that change with another year in college on a suspect offense? If not, why stick around for another year when you already have a short shelf life? 
    Cornell Ford really likes the freshman, Anthony Watkins, but they decided he was worth redshirting. They have commitments from two more 2020 running backs. I would think one of them would have to play if Rountree leaves. But that's still a big IF at this point.
    Does Mizzou score at all Saturday? I mean— Kentucky’s D is not exactly a juggernaut...
    My prediction will be on the site tomorrow. I think Missouri scores ... but not much.
    As BB and has started I was wondering about Will Wade, the LSU men’s coach. I understand due process but sheesh the entire country has heard his scandalous phone calls! I am dumbfounded that he’s still coaching – how can this be? The damage it is doing to LSU’s reputation is significant – administration and alumni appear to be just fine with being viewed as liars and cheaters.
    What damage is the situation doing to LSU? He continues to recruit star players. LSU signed another five-star player this year and has a four-star guard committed for 2020. The school has clearly decided it will back Wade until the NCAA or the feds prove that he broke rules. Also, keep in mind: There's always money involved. If the NCAA or the feds can charge Wade with a violation or a broken law, then that gives LSU a reason to fire him for cause and frees up the school for paying him a buyout settlement.
    If Bill Self can continue to coach so can Will Wade....
    Earlier you mentioned an upgrade in athleticism on the basketball team and how it's helped improve the team's outlook.
    How do you perceive the football team's athleticism over the Odom era and the direction it's going? What about compared to the Pinkel era?
    That's not as easy to measure when you're talking about a 100-man football team ... and compare it to Pinkel's 15-year body of work. This Missouri team is more athletic in the secondary than we've seen in a long time. Not so much at receiver. There are some good young athletes at linebacker, but they're all unproven at this point. We haven't seen the elite athletes at D-end under this regime like we saw consistently under Pinkel.
    Dave, I just listened to some podcasts that were recorded after Mizzou’s win over Ole Miss game. UNLV had creamed Vandy in Nashville. The “experts” were dismissing Vandy & even KY & talking about the possibilities of beating UGA & possibly FL. BenFred, Gary Barnett, Bill Connelly & others assumed an easy win in Nashville & discussing how the NCAA decision would affect Mizzou’s chances to get into the SEC Championship game. In other words, expectations were sky high. Now we’re hoping not to get embarrassed at UGA. What the H happened?
    It used to be that punt a returner would stand on the 10 & if he had to step backwards, he’d let it go hoping that it would go into the end zone. Now I see returners fair catch on the 5! Why? How much worse could it be? If you let it go the worst-case scenario would only 4 yards worse than where you are & you’d have a 50/50 chance of being on the 20!
  • Odom and the players can't explain what happened between Ole Miss and Vandy, so I'm not sure anyone else could make sense of it either. 
    My explanation hasn't changed: The five home wins gave this team a false sense of confidence. I've wondered about this team's maturity and leadership, especially after Garrett's loss. The defense went from damn near elite with him in the middle to vulnerable without him. Offensively, this team went to Nashville clearly overconfident and expected to waltz to an easy victory. But Derek Mason did a great job getting his team prepared for a fight. MU talked a lot but proved to have a glass jaw. That's how you lose to an underdog. Overconfidence, false bravado and a lack of toughness. 
    At Kentucky, the Tigers didn't handle adversity well. First, Bryant's injury and then the elements. They stopped running and couldn't complete a simple pass. 
     
  • Are internal hires at fault for our poor records. Ie Kim Anderson and BO. Ie would someone else been more successful
    Anderson wasn't an internal hire. 
    Odom was, but let's not dismiss the unique circumstances surrounding the program and the campus in 2015. The pool of coaches interested in that job at the time was pretty shallow. 
    I wish we could bring back the excitement from mizzou football from 2007 and men’s b-ball from 94
    It starts with having the kind of talent from 2007 and 1994. If Chase Daniel and Jeremy Maclin and Sean Weatherspoon were on this team I guarantee it would be more exciting.
    Is men’s b-ball losing hype? We can’t seem to get the players that keep us in the top tier of the sec. recruiting or coaching more at fault
    I don't know what losing hype means. Martin really likes this roster. I think Missouri could be the surprise of the SEC. If Tilmon stays on the floor and the sophomores don't play like freshmen, this team could make the NCAA Tournament. That's not just Martin's opinion, but mine too.
    If football ends at 6-6 thoughts on BO being retained?
    I assume that means they lose the next three and beat Arkansas. If that happens and I'm Jim Sterk then I have a big decision to make. I have to ask myself: Should this be a mulligan year for Odom and attribute the struggles to a funky schedule, a couple injuries and the looming sanctions as obstacles that the team could never overcome? Or is this as far as this staff can take this program? You also have to think about the job market, the timing, the finances and the implications of the sanctions. Lot of factors at play here, not just beating or losing to Tennessee.
    Do we miss lock that much or has our run game really stunk it up
    This offense was good enough to beat South Carolina and Ole Miss when the running game was functional with Bryant at quarterback. If the run game was functional at Vandy and UK, this team could easily be 7-1. Or even 8-0, because the running game struggled at Wyoming. That's not to say the passing game wouldn't be better with Lock at QB, but the real problem here is the run.
    Hotter seat right now? Off coordinator or def coordinator?
    I'm not getting into hot seat talk, but why on earth would Ryan Walters be on the hot seat? He lost his best player and his defense ranks ...
    No. 11 in yards allowed per game
    No. 10 in yards allowed per play
    No. 16 in points allowed per game
    No. 4 in passing yards allowed per game
    No. 4 in opponent passer rating
    Those are national rankings. 
     
    In reference to players being available to the media, you said you requested to speak with three CBs. Do all of the media's access requests get lumped together or are they treated separately. I find it a little ridiculous that the O line coach and others would place such limits on you. In the years I've followed you I don't recall ever seeing you practice poor journalism and run with a misquote or try to make something out of an off handed remark from an 18 or 19 student athlete. Managers and coaches who are prickly or unapproachable by good journalists almost always are reflecting their lack of confidence.
    The list of players who are approved for interviews is universal to all media, not individual reporters. If Jarvis Ware isn't available to me, he's not available to anyone.
    The O-line coach doesn't talk to anyone. I think he did interviews right after he was hired. I didn't talk to him that particular day and he's never talked to reporters since then to my knowledge. I don't know why. Mizzou's other coaches are all very good with the media. It's not their favorite thing in the world to do, but I appreciate their cooperation. 
    OK, friends. I've got a lot of writing to do and a 5:30 a.m. flight in the morning. Look for some hoops takeaways later this afternoon. More football coverage tomorrow from Christina, and coverage from both of us in Athens. 
    Lastly, check out the latest podcast: 
     

    Eye on the Tigers podcast: Will Mizzou quarterback Kelly Bryant play at Georgia? Does it matter?

    Mizzou quarterback Kelly Bryant's up-and-down, one-and-done season is up in the air after the bye week. His team is headed to Athens to face No. 6 Georgia, and the status
    'funky schedule'? This season's schedule was a lay-up. Should be 9 wins for sure. Team 'messed' their shorts in 3 games so far that they should have EASILY won.
    Just saw this question pop up before I logged off. I wasn't commenting on the caliber of the competition, but I meant funky as in the five straight home games, which I think ended up working against this team. This team got overconfident because things got easy at home for five straight weeks ... and then they go 35 days in a row without a home game. That's funky. Auburn is the only other SEC teams with three straight road games this year.
    The schedule was bad for business, too. Five straight home games is a lot to ask for fans who travel from out of town. A more traditional schedule with more regular breaks between home games is more appealing when it comes to selling season ticket packages. 
    Again, not an excuse, but it's a factor that worked against this team. 
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