Mizzou chat with Dave Matter

Mizzou chat with Dave Matter

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

    Hello, chatters. Welcome to Thursday. At least I think it's Thursday. Hopefully you're all safe and healthy and not going stir crazy in your domicile. I'll be here for the next couple hours to talk all things Mizzou. Send your questions my way.
    Dave
    First I hope you and your family are healthy and safe.

    It was published this week that the university of Georgia athletic department saved 100 million dollars for a rainy day and they are in a good condition right now. How is Mizzou in that regard? Now you don’t cover UG athletics , but from your experience why not other programs are in the same place , of saving money for a Rainey day?
    Mizzou has a reserve fund. I'm not privy to how much the athletics department has stored away, but that's standard for schools that operate $100 million budgets to maintain a reserve fund. MU has had to dip into that account in the past when expenses eclipse revenues and I imagine Sterk might need some of those funds to manage through this current financial situation.
    I am guessing that 6 or 7 transfers in 3 years is pretty much par for the course in today's NCAA MBB climate, but what caught my eye a few weeks ago was the fact that none (so far) of the transfers out of HCCM's Mizzou program have managed to stick with another Power 6 team. Even some of Kim Anderson's losses found success elsewhere. Since the Porters more or less fell into his lap, and considering Wilmore and Okongo, should we be concerned about Coach Martin's and his staff's ability to evaluate talent and/or character in his recruits?
    Yes, it's fair to be concerned about recruiting, especially with the local prospects here in the last two recruiting cycles. Martin isn't afraid to take some chances on off-the-radar recruits. He's also come to realize that you're never going to have 13 happy scholarship players, so I get a strong sense that he's not worried about filling next year's roster with 13 scholarships players who are going to contribute significant minutes. 
    Don't forget, the transfer door swings both ways, and Martin has added some impact transfers in three years: Robertson, Mark & Dru Smith ... and possibly another one or two in the next few weeks. Who under Martin had character issues? Other than McKinney, who was suspended and had some internal issues during his short time on the team. I can't think of anyone else who I'd label a 
    Dave

    You mentioned a couple of weeks ago that Cartwright was a sports fan, but hands free, would the new guy, who ever you would be might have more to say to Sterk about how to run the department ? Or is it more the job of president Choi , to make sure Sterk is not bothered?, and told what to do?
    The chancellor is the AD's boss, but they don't micro-manage athletics and tell the AD how to run his department. Chancellors get involved with major decisions that transcend athletics - like changing conferences - and are kept in the loop on personnel moves. But the AD runs athletics. The chancellor runs the academic side of the campus. All the SEC chancellors/presidents have meetings to decide major policy decisions that impact the conference, but when it comes to the nuts and bolts of each school's athletics department, that's the AD's job. It's in everyone's best interest for there to be a healthy relationship between chancellor and AD.
    Hi Dave, when do you think Justin Turner makes his choice and how do you think our chances are with him choosing Mizzou?
  • He has said in other interviews he could decide by this weekend or early next week. I think Missouri is in good shape. He really spoke highly of Missouri, Martin and Mann when I talked to him last week. He likes the roster situation. He believes he can add some scoring and leadership. I would think we'll know this time next week where he's playing next season. Would be a big addition to Missouri's guard rotation.
    Thanks for the chat Dave, and especially for your "30" series on Mizzou favorites. Your picks are your picks -- this is not to challenge any of them. I'm simply curious (because I was surprised) about Drew Lock being No. 20 out of 30. I would have thought he'd be higher, so I'm just wondering what factors moved him down the list.
  • Glad you've enjoyed the list. When I put the list together, we're talking about 22 years of Mizzou athletes to choose from. That's more than 1,000 athletes. Let's put that number at 1,500. In theory, if I'd rank every one of those Mizzou athletes over the last 22 years from No. 1 to No. 1,500, the difference between Lock at 30 or 20 or 15 is pretty insignificant. If you're No. 30 out of 1,500 athletes, you're in the top 98 percentile. Pretty elite.
    Drew put up fantastic numbers in his career. As I wrote in the story, the bulk of his success came against crummy to pretty mediocre competition. He had one great statistical year - and still won just seven games that season. He had a very good Mizzou career. Quarterbacks are measured by more than stats, and I didn't think he moved the program to a new level like other QBs that I have rated higher than him. 
    Very good player, very good career. Just not in the same company of the players I have ranked ahead of him.
    Dave, hi

    There were some articles that some department might need to eliminate all of the Olympic sports , any talk about this at Mizzou?
    Not yet. At least that's  not something they're going to discuss publicly. If there's a football season in 2020, even if it starts late, I'm not sure you'd have to eliminate any programs. Season ticket sales are going to drop. Attendance will drop. Concessions sales, parking revenue. All of that will take a hit if crowds are smaller. The department will have to do some belt-tightening for sure. Will some teams be at risk? Perhaps. I think it's too early to start publicly speculating which teams could be on the chopping block.
    Saw the updated news just now that Sterk says Mizzou and kansas are finalizing a four-game football series. In the fall you said Mizzou was scheduled out to 2030s. I think theyve added even more since then. Will this happen in our lifetimes? haha
    A Kansas football series has been in the works for months. I've written several times that the schools are finalizing a football series. So this really isn't breaking news. Initially the expectation was the series would include games in KC. From what I'm learning this morning that might not necessarily be the case. It could be limited to the two campuses, at least for the initial announcement. As of early March, Mizzou was just waiting on Kansas to sign the paperwork. The coronavirus likely caused everyone to shift their priorities around. From what I understand, the series will start in the 2020s. Mizzou has to move around some games to make it work, including the original four-year San Diego State series.
    Cuonzo: "Tray did what was best for Tray"

    Question1): Did Cuonzo do what was best for Tray & Mizzou by not playing a talented player?
    Question2) : If Cuonzo knows freshmen want to play then why did he not play Tray and risk him transferring?
  • I don't get any sense from Martin that he regrets how he managed Jackson's minutes. He had conditioning issues midseason. That's just a fact. He asked out of a game when he'd only played a few minutes. And he really struggled defensively. Could Martin have played him more minutes? Of course. But he clearly had his reasons. We don't know what kind of practice player Jackson was. If he was a lousy practice player and wasn't showing progress in the areas where the staff wanted to see him improve, why give him more minutes than someone who's working more on their game?
    I think Martin is at the point where he realizes any freshman who doesn't play significant minutes is a risk to transfer. Did he know that during the season? Perhaps, but at that point you're dealing with scouting reports and practices and trying to win games. It's easier to get through the season, reflect on how everything unfolded and come to the realization that you need to address things differently in the future. 
    Dave do you know why Odom didn’t seek an HC position? If not in the FBS , then at the FCS?
    I'm not sure if he really had any offers to take any head-coaching jobs. I know in other interviews he has said he could have taken some head-coaching jobs. I haven't talked to Barry since the Arkansas game. I reached out a few times but never heard back. I imagine he sees an SEC coordinator job as the best bridge to another Power 5 head-coaching position. If you take a HC job at a Group of 5 program at a place where it's historically difficult to win games, you could struggle there and in three years be out of a job and never get another chance. At Arkansas, there's less risk in sinking his career long-term. All he needs is for the Hogs to play pretty good defense and he'll stand a good chance of getting a better job somewhere else, maybe as a coordinator at a better SEC program first and then propel himself toward a good Power 5 job.
    Hi Dave; thanks for the chat! How far out in the future have the non-conference football schedules been fully set? Any buzz or rumblings of potential matchups?? No offense to the Wyomings and Arkansas States of the world, but I personally would like to see some compelling opponents. As last year proved, a Wyoming can jump up and bite you (remember Troy during the Brad Smith era??). I would rather play a Florida State, Ohio State, or the Pac 12 USC, knowing a loss to a marquee opponent wouldn’t be devastating, and a “W” would have a lot of shine compared to beating Toledo. And I’d go to the game! It takes two to tango, of course, but does our administration even attempt to land such matchups?
    Mizzou has some noncon games scheduled out through 2035. The upcoming Power 5 opponents are Boston College, Kansas State, Colorado and Illinois. Mizzou and Kansas are close to announcing a four-year series. 
    MU has noncon series home and road vs. San Diego State, Memphis, Miami-Ohio, Middle Tennessee, Northern Illinois, North Texas, UMass.
    All of those are subject to change, but for now, that's who's on the books. There was a time when Mizzou decided no more noncon games on the road against teams from outside the Power 5, but for a program in MU's financial situation, they don't have other options. MU can't afford to pay appearance fees that Group of 5 teams like San Diego State or Memphis command on the market. The alliterative is to play home-and-road series, where the financial payouts essentially break even. 
    Since ESPN has no live events to telecast they are digging deep into their vault to show classic games from the past. Last week they showed the 1997 MU - Nebraska fleakicker football game in which Nebraska tied the game in the closing seconds of overtime with one Nebraska player kicking the ball in the air to another Nebraska player who caught it for the game tying TD. Of course, I knew NU won it in overtime, but in watching the game I was struck by the Tigers’ enthusiam and effort in playing the number one football team to a draw in a game that arguably MU should have won, but didn’t. One can only hope the 2020 edition of MU Tiger FB (assuming there is a 2020 college FB season) is half as exciting as the 1997 Tigers were that day.
    That was one of the last games I attended as a student before joining the Columbia Tribune staff the next year. The 1997-98 teams had a lot of quality college talent but more than anything played with so much toughness and charisma.
    Where and when (what pick) do you see Okwuegbenam going in the draft? The press here say the Redskins are targeting him with the 66 pick. What are his weaknesses, if any?
    I would think he'll fall somewhere in the third or fourth round. It's not a good draft crop for tight ends, so that works in his favor. As for weaknesses, I thought they were on full display last year. He didn't catch the ball consistently. He had some costly penalties. He wasn't that much of a blocker. He's got great straight-line speed, but I thought he struggled to get open downfield unless he was just blazing past his defender. There's obviously a lot of upside to his game. Elite red-zone target. Elite speed for his size.
    I'm stuck on thinking future football schedules now. Am I wrong to think that Mizzou vs. Nebraska at Arrowhead would be an instant sell out? I know it's easier said that done, but it seems both teams are in similar spots right now and something like that could be a big draw for fans of both teams.
  • Yes, that would be a really attractive game. But, like you said, it's easier said than done. Remember, Nebraska plays a nine-game conference schedule in the Big Ten, so the Huskers have less leeway to find a game. Nebraska has a lot of those dates already filled with games against Oklahoma, Tennessee, Oklahoma State, Arizona, Colorado.
    Your article last week indicated that Cuonzo is interested in adding as many as 2 grad transfers. While Turner would be a nice addition, that would mean replacing 6 roster spots after next season (7 spots if he gets 2 grad transfers). Did you discuss his plans for establishing continuity in the program? I understand the "best player available" approach, but overall there doesn't seem to be a plan beyond next year.
    Taking two grad transfers is a bit of risk. If you're seriously shopping the transfer market, and MU is doing just that, the best-case scenario would be taking a grad transfer who can play in 20-21 then come off the books next year, plus a regular sit-out transfer who can't play in 20-21 and has a year or two of eligibility left. When you get to April and you have open scholarships your options are only as good as what's available on the market. Martin won't necessarily fill both available scholarships as long as he feels good about the returning core. Now, if they only add one newcomer and then one or two of the NBA draft guys don't return to school, then you could be in some roster trouble. So, it might make the most sense to fill both available spots now in case more spots open this summer.
    Any other interesting anecdotes from your conversation with Frank Haith?
    You'll read more in another Best of Mizzou story coming up soon. Not too soon, but soon.
    Just a heads up for the rest of the Best of Mizzou series: You'll read No. 14 later today and No. 13 on Friday. Then we'll resume with No. 12 on Monday and No. 11 on Tuesday. Then the countdown is going to take two days off as the stories shift to the print edition for the top 10. Starting next Friday the list will resume with No. 10 and run every day until we get to No. 1 on Sunday, April 26.
    Dave

    I know this is probably insignificant, but with having more free time to think about things... what does coach Drink criticism of Kirk Herbstreit, tell us about the man? I think you mentioned that what he said was no big deal and he shouldn’t have apologized , but is this entire exchange is a misstep?
    I don't think he needed to apologize. At least not publicly. Frankly, I'm tired of coaches trying to hope and will football to come back into our lives. This ain't Shawshank.
    Coaches can't speak the resumption of football into existence. 
    Sure, be hopeful, be positive. But the sports world will resume based on real-world factors that right now are out of the control of the millionaire coaches - coaches who are not accustomed to their worlds being at the mercy of outside forces like, say, a global pandemic.
    I don't know what the apology says about Drinkwitz. If he didn't go on Finebaum and have a national audience hours after his comment about Herbstreit, then maybe he doesn't make the apology public. 
    Dave

    Do you think that Mizzou does enough to celebrate its sports history: they have the coach norm statute , and the basketball exhibit at the arena, they also have the Don Faurot statute , I believe. Is there anything else they can do, in that regard?
  • I haven't really thought that. Mizzou has more retired football numbers than just about every team in the SEC. I've always thought Mizzou does nostalgia pretty well. Probably because the present isn't always that attractive. What other ways could MU honor the past? There's not a lot of glorious past that needs to be memorialized, in my opinion.
  • Mizzou is in RayQuawndis Mitchell's top 5. Two questions -

    1) From his top 5 tweet I recognized Mizzou, Georgia southern and U of Illinois-Chicago - who are the other 2?

    2) According to his interview with RockMnation - he doesn't have an offer from Mizzou. Do you expect he'll get an offer or is the offer pending and based on upcoming commitments by other players?
    If there's a transfer candidate out there who says Mizzou is one of his final choices but doesn't  hold an offer, then he's clearly a fall-back option. Or maybe not all that of a serious option from the coach's perspective. My hunch is the former is true here. 
    His other top choices are Pacific and University of Milwaukee. So, clearly MU is the only high-major program on his list.
    Mizzou has had issues with filling the stadium. Why would they not schedule a game in Stl and KC each year to boost revenue, alumni interest, and local interest from players they are attempting to recruit? At this juncture what do they have to lose?
    If you're sacrificing a home game to play a neutral-site game, you're still missing out on all that revenue you bring in from a home game, even with a smaller crowd. In a neutral-site game, you're typically splitting revenue with the other school. So it's not always a net positive financially to shift a game to St. Louis or Kansas City. Getting an opponent to agree to such a game isn't always easy either. Remember the Arkansas State series from a few years back. Mizzou tried moving the game slated for Jonesboro to Busch Stadium but ASU blocked the proposal so it could keep the game on its home turf.
    "Martin won't necessarily fill both available scholarships as long as he feels good about the returning core." This comment has been made 3 years in a row now and the past 2 years we ended up with Christian Guess and Axel Okongo.

    I guess this is a comment not a question, but he'll fill the roster....likely much to our chagrin.
    You're right about those two cases. In those cases, it's like having one last dollar in your pocket. You don't need to spend it. Your life will be just fine if you keep it stashed away. But then you come across something you don't really need but you talk yourself into buying - because the upside outweighs the downside. I think that's what happened with both players. Guess proved to be bad gamble, but there wasn't much risk there. They eventually used the scholarship on someone else. With Okongo, he didn't produce on the floor this year, but maybe they'll need him next year if Tilmon doesn't return.
    Just curious if you know Josh Kroenke well from his days at Mizzou and if he's ever spoken about his dad moving the Rams. Is he still involved with Mizzou at all?
    I probably interviewed Josh a few times while he played at Mizzou and might have been around him socially once or twice but not since his playing days. He's not involved with MU to my knowledge.
    In your years covering Mizzou, which player's career in basketball and which in football was most derailed by an injury? If the Porter brothers are 1-2 on the basketball list, could you provide your #3?
    A few football contenders off the top of my head ...
    * Van Alexander had bad luck with injuries.
    * John Dausman had some big moments but couldn't stay healthy.
    * Will Ebner could have been an All-Big 12 linebacker if he could have stayed healthy.
    * Danario Alexander missed time with his knee injuries but never a full season. 
    * Kirk Farmer in 1999-2000
    Don't forget Tony Van Zant...
    Right but the question was in my time covering Mizzou. TVZ was a few years before my time. He'd clearly be in the top five all time.
    Hi Dave. If you had to pick one play in football since we joined the SEC that was your most memorable what would it be? Personally I would pick Josey TD to send us to Atlanta. Thanks
    The Josey touchdown vs. Texas A&M is a biggie. Maybe the Colt 45 touchdown pass from Bud Sasser to L'Damian Washington at Georgia in 2013. The sack and strip by Michael Sam and Shane Ray against Oklahoma State in the Cotton Bowl.
    OK, friends. That's it for today. We'll chat again next week. Stay safe out there.
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