Happy Thursday, folks. It's time to chat. Already a lot of questions in the hopper. I'll get to as many as possible over the next couple hours.
Nothing official. The baseball and softball coaches do not expect the postseason ban to carry over to 2021, but the NCAA has not informed Missouri of any decision at last check.
Players returned June 8 for voluntary strength and conditioning workouts. Teams that start their season Sept. 5 — Mizzou included — can conduct up to eight hours per week of weight training, conditioning and film review from July 13-23. Then from July 24-Aug. 6 they can have 20 hours per week of team activities. Then they can begin regular preseason camp on Aug. 7.
I think the media coverage from the best reporters and writers is better than ever. There's just a lot more "coverage" that, to use your word, drowns out some of the boots-on-the-ground reporting that's done by journalists who actually cover teams in person. Look at our staff at the P-D: Rick Hummel has been enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Derrick Goold is a former president of the Baseball Writers Association of America and three times has been named the national beat writer of the year (for any sport!); Jim Thomas was one of the country's longest-tenured and best NFL beat reporters and then seamlessly made the jump to the NHL and thoroughly covers the Stanley Cup champs; our columnists, Frederickson, Hochman and Gordo, cover a ton of ground every week. Across the state the writers in Kansas City do a helluva job covering that market. There are countless writers at The Athletic, Yahoo!, ESPN and what's left of Sports Illustrated who continue do great work covering sports. But there's just so many other outlets who just regurgitate the original reporting and share their personal hot takeaways, that market is flooded with more and more content. The future seems bleak for the newspaper industry, but people will always want to consume news and reporting and fresh writing about the sports and the teams they love. The market will evolve. The medium will evolve. The thirst for sports coverage won't change, at least that's my hope and prayer.
I covered some NASCAR back when I worked at the Columbia Tribune when Carl Edwards was the biggest star in Mid-Missouri. It's different than any team sport I cover more regularly, and while I wouldn't call myself a die-hard fan, it was fun to follow back when one of Columbia's own was winning races. The Bubba Wallace story was interesting on so many levels and with a chance to write some columns this month it's a topic I wanted to tackle. Glad you enjoyed.
There's genuine excitement around the state about Drinkwitz, his energy, his vision, his personality, etc. Sometimes it just takes a fresh voice and a fresh message to get players engaged with the program. I don't think he's selling anything different than what players heard from the last coaching staff, but there's clearly a different energy and vibe, and sometimes that's enough to open some doors that were starting to close in the past.
Mizzou can only have 81 players on scholarship for 2020, so the recent commitments have no impact on the 2021 roster, which will be back at 85.
I don't know if active COVID cases are certain schools will turn off recruits, but I do think it's impacting recruiting in terms of travel. Kids can't visit schools ... and coaches can't visit recruits in person. So, for now, recruits are committing to the schools where they've already developed relationships with the coaches and, in most cases, have already visited the campus and facilities. You're not seeing kids commit to a place sight unseen.
I'll believe they'll have a better edge rush when I see it. There were glimpses last year but not a steady rush off the corners. I'm not sure any of the new additions will crack the rotation. Tre Williams, Chris Turner and Jatorian Hansford are the top three guys. Can redshirt freshman Z'Core Brooks or freshman Johnny Walker crack the rotation? Not sure.
Teams are going to make every effort to start the season. No one should be surprised if some teams have to forfeit some games. There are going to be virus outbreaks within a team. Teams will decided against traveling to certain regions. We're already seeing early games in college and the NFL get canceled or rescheduled. I think it would be naive to expect every FBS team to play its full slate of games as scheduled.
It's good and evil. I use Twitter mostly to find links to other interesting stories I want to read and to communicate with other writers and sources. I don't think it's a healthy place to have productive discussions with readers. I don't think it's a fair place to get an accurate read on how the public feels about a certain topic. It's a place for extreme views, not nuanced, middle of the road, measured views.
It's going to be a completely different team this year. Two anchors in Frank and Blackwell, then a host of newcomers. Dufficy is going to add some 3-point range on the wing. Williams could be more of an inside scoring threat. Dickson and Dembele can take the ball-handling duties off Blackwell's plate. They might not have much depth beyond the top six or seven players, but it looks like an upgrade in talent and size.
I'm sure schools would love their own stimulus checks, but we're talking about non-profit entities that don't pay taxes. I'm not sure if they should be anywhere near the front of the line for government relief.
I don't think that's a recent change in media, at least not in the 22 years I've covered sports for newspapers.