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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 wouldn't hold your breath on the latter.
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.
My prediction will be on the site tomorrow. I think Missouri scores ... but not much.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.