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.

    Greetings, chatters. Welcome to our favorite two hours of the week. I'll take your questions on all things Mizzou for the next couple hours.
    I truly believe Mizzou will finish strong this year in football, Bryant needed the 3 weeks to heal, and I see the Tigers beating Florida, TN and Arkansas, I think a determined football team will play hard for B.O.
    A positive chatter about Barry Odom and Mizzou football? I didn't think those would surface today. 
    I'm not sure what to expect on Saturday. I don't doubt these players respect/admire/love their head coach, but that's not always enough to overcome serious shortcomings. I'm not convinced this offense can function again against a quality defense. Maybe the rest will be the answer for Bryant. Maybe the comfort of home will get this team to magically flip the switch. I'm not sure why or how the O-line will suddenly play well against a very strong Florida defense. I'm not sure why or how the receivers will suddenly produce against a very strong Florida defense. If Bryant can get back to being a true dual threat ... if the passing game poses somewhat of a threat vertically ... if the line can hold up against the Gators' front ... then maybe this is a competitive game. At this point, I trust this defense to do its job. They're not an elite unit without Cale Garrett, but I was impressed with what that group did in its last six quarters (two at Kentucky, four at Georgia). 
    Remembering the baseball and softball teams were able to compete in the postseason due to the ongoing appeal, is football in the same position? Assuming the Tigers can pick up a sixth win, if the NCAA does nothing, would they be bowl-eligible? The ESPN crew working the Georgia game may have said something to this effect, and they took the NCAA to take for dragging their feet. Thanks!
    Yes, if the final ruling of the appeal has not been announced by the time bowl pairings are announced on Dec. 8, then a Missouri team with six wins will be eligible for a bowl game. Actually, if the ruling isn't announced by that Friday, Dec. 6, then the Tigers will be eligible. The NCAA doesn't put out rulings on weekends, so that Friday would be the final day to uphold the ban for the 2019 postseason.
    Tuesday's men's BB game gives me optimism for the season. It wasn't a win but was very competitive with a Top 25 team. If they can improve a little every game is the question.
    They've got to cut down on the turnovers, but that's been the case since the start of last season. I'm afraid the Tilmon factor is going to be a factor as long as he's part of this team. The foul issues are always going to be an issue, for a multitude of reasons. If he's on the floor for 25 minutes or more, it's a win - not necessarily a win on the scoreboard but a positive for the team. This team has the makings of an elite defensive team, which is what Martin values most. They're tough. They'll play hard from the opening tip to the final buzzer. They will hound teams on the defensive end. They've got good size on the perimeter to make life difficult for opponents. Do they have enough skill on offense? Can they maximize possessions and play more efficiently on offense? If so, this can be a pretty good team.
    Should we be alarmed the Men's BB team has only signed one player?
    Reports have Tennessee already signing three top 40 recruits.
    It's fair to be frustrated that Mizzou struck out on so many local targets, but this was never going to be a huge class. Remember, there's only one senior on the roster in Reed Nikko, so as long as the staff wants to keep all the freshmen, sophomores and juniors on the roster for 2020-21, there was only going to be room for one addition. Now, there's a chance this could be Tilmon's final college season. Roster turnover with some younger players is always possible. If you have another target you know you can sign, you can find roster space somehow, some way. I would expect Missouri to be in the market for more additions in the spring signing period.
  • I can't understand the continued use of Tilmon to set screens. Has Martin learned nothing the past 2 years on how to keep his guy on the floor. BTW, that first Tilmon foul on defense was non-existent so it appears the ref's are quality challenged as usual.
  • The high ball screens might need to be re-evaluated. At the same time, Martin usually blames the guard on those plays because the guard with the ball controls that play and sometimes is too slow to get around the screen and causes the screener to move while he's trying to set the screen. That said, if those kind of fouls keep up, at some point you have to assess what you're doing and decide if it's setting Tilmon up for failure.
  • Hello Dave, and hope your day is going well.
    Dave, am having a hard time deciding if I am going to bother to make the trip to CoMO or not for these last 2 home games. I really, truly felt obligated and wanting to do what I could as a fan to help the MU program by making the trip from STL to attend every home game this season, and have been to every one thus far. I'm usually among the first to chastise fair-weather fans of the football program who won't show up unless the team somehow becomes Top 10-type-of-great and who don't realize or don't care how much they hurt the program by contributing to the abundance of empty seats at Faurot.
    But one thing I cannot stand and personally find absolutely unwatchable is not so much when the team is losing games, but when they're uncompetitive and losing games. And this team has become just that: uncompetitive. I have no problems standing behind a losing team as long as I can tell they're making an all-out effort to compete & at least trying their damnedest to win games no matter what the odds are against them. These are the types of teams that might find themselves at a legit competitive disadvantage due to overall lack of talent and/or injuries to key players. I for instance actually managed to find last year's Mizzou men's hoops squad enjoyable to watch despite their losing record and gladly made the trek to CoMO from STL for about 5 games last season because you could tell they were playing their butts off, playing with passion every game and managed to mostly stay within striking distance game in & game out of teams that were far superior to them. But this football team has become unwatchable because they are not only losing, they're inexcusably getting destroyed in the process. These guys are for whatever infuriating reason or reasons, seem to be mailing it in. Can you convince me otherwise that, whatever the suddenly inexplicable reasons are for the collapse with this team over the last month, that that at least is not one of them? Convince me Dave, and I'll still go to the game on Saturday. But if you can't, then I'm staying home. I'm leaving it in your hands. The pressure's on! 😁
  • It seems you're only talking about the offense, because the defense was up for the Georgia game. That was one of the rare games that UGA's offensive line didn't control the line of scrimmage. Missouri did a nice job bottling up the run more often than not, and more impressive was the pass defense. That was the worst single-game completion percentage of Fromm's career. Mizzou played a big role in that with the rush and the coverage. So, half the team is still competing hard and making crucial plays. The offense has been pretty lifeless. Georgia might have the best defense in the country and MU was woefully undermanned at quarterback and also didn't have its leading receiver. That's no excuse for being completely dysfunctional offensively, but I look at everything with context.
  • I trust this is the subject on many fans minds, this week: the limited body of work we just saw from Connor Bazelak. You've seen a lot more of him in practice, I'm sure, but from what we saw in Athens, he seems to have several positives: confidence; a natural sense of the game and a very strong arm. His upside (handled properly) looks excellent, yes?
  • I was impressed with Bazelak in camp ... but he had his share of freshman moments in live drills. He's got the raw goods. A strong arm and delivery. He's comfortable in the pocket. He's got a real low-key demeanor, probably won't get too ruffled. So, yes, I agree on his future. I wouldn't count him out as a future starter. But I don't agree with the Twitter knee-jerk reaction that he should supplant a healthy Bryant as the starter for the next three games. But should Bryant have a setback or really struggle to move the ball, I wouldn't hesitate to put Bazelak in the game over Powell.
    Probably won't happen given the staffs love for Pickett but I would love for one of the other sophs to start over him/get some more of his minutes. Not advocating for a complete benching of him but just a smaller role. Which of the sophs do you think would be a better candidate? Pinson is much improved and would provide two ballhandlers on the floor more often. Watson has struggled but I think his offensive ability still has more upside and his defense is much improved to where I think he is equal if not better than Pickett on that end.
  • It's not like Pinson isn't playing a lot already. He's played 50 minutes the last two games. Pickett has played 54. Remember, offense is only half the game. Pickett can defend multiple positions. He's matched against bigger guards and small forwards. Pinson's not going to be able to guard a small forward. Watson has struggled offensively. I'm not sure he needs more minutes at this point. Either way, Pickett is going to play 25-30 minutes most nights because he brings value as a defender and can add some scoring occasionally. He's not someone who can carry you offensively for a night, but don't forget, it was Pickett in each of first two games (UCM, Incarnate Word) who ignited the spark that got Mizzou to pull away in both games.
  • Good day Dave ... McKinney was conspicuously absent, although on the bench, in the Northern Kentucky game, then saw a few minutes vs. Xavier. Where's Cuonzo see him fitting in at this early juncture? The kid is truly explosive, but I sense at times he gets a bit caught up in one on one play. Also, been meaning to ask this for some time ... what's with Messiah Swinson (the coming of the Messiah)? Thought we'd finally this Long Island big boy hit the field this season, but ... what gives? Thanks!
    McKinney is clearly the last guard in the guard rotation. So his role is going to fluctuate from game to game. He can give this team a spark off the bench, but there have been times where he seems to go off script and take some ill-advised shots that aren't in the flow of the offense. I try to remind readers of this every week here on the chat, but when it comes to getting playing time for Martin, it almost always comes down to defense. If you're a bench player and a liability on defense, your minutes are going to be few and far between. If you can be trusted on the defensive end, Martin will find you minutes. Young guards have to earn Martin's trust before they're going to see a lot of time. Think about Blake Harris two years ago and Pinson last year. Their minutes were sporadic early. I'd expect the same for McKinney this year until he carves out a consistent role.
    As for Swinson, he's still coming off a torn ACL and clearly fell behind Nikko Hea on the depth chart at the start of preseason camp. I'm not sure Swinson is strong enough to handle the blocking roles required to play tight end in this offense. Too early to write him off. 
    Keeping in mind our likely NCAA penalties, which CFB HC looks better, Arkansas or MIZZOU? What other Power 5 programs are expected to be looking for a HC?
    Missouri doesn't have an opening, so hard to compare situations. Rutgers and Florida State also have openings. USC could be open. Maybe Vandy. Maybe South Carolina, but Muschamp has a massive buyout.
    Kobe Brown,Tray & Picket are reduced to shooting 3 pters in this new offense, which limits their productivity and rebounding. Do you think Coach Martin will make adjustments?
    I think that's an overgeneralization on their roles. Brown has done a little bit of everything when he's on the floor. Martin wants these guys to take open 3s if they're within the structure of the offense. Brown has made a few big shots.
    Are there currently any other MBB scholarships to give for next year?
    Technically, no. Reed Nikko is the only senior.
  • Has Albert O fallen out of a first round grade with his drops and blocking issues, or will NFL scouts not care about in-game performance? If he has, would he leave anyway?
    I don't think he ever had a first-round grade. He certainly didn't after last season when he got an evaluation from the NFL ... otherwise he would have entered the 2019 draft. I suspect he'll want to leave, but there's no way he's helped his stock this season. He's not much of a blocker. He's dropped a lot of passes. He doesn't get open. He's a non-factor outside of the red zone. I wouldn't be surprised if he's a mid-round or late-round pick, but he's not playing like an NFL tight end this year.
    I can’t remember a year when the OL seemed less effective, even that year recently when there was the big 5urnover.
    The 2015 line really struggled ... and had two current NFL starters in Boehm and McGovern. I'm surprised this line has struggled as much as it has, but that's what happens when returning starters don't improve and new starters aren't as good as the players they replaced, which is true for one of the two new starters.
    Is Rountree likely to leave no matter what his NFL grade is? Would a HC change affect his decision?
    No idea what he's thinking. For one, he hasn't talked to the media in almost a month, which is disappointing because he's a starter, a captain and a thoughtful guy who normally has good insight. Also, I don't know what kind of evaluation he'd get. The NFL draft advisory committee gives underclassmen one of three grades: 1st round, 2nd round, go back to school. I can't imagine Rountree is a first- or second-rounder. Running back is not a highly valued position in the NFL and he's not close to one of the best in the country at that position. He's not that much better than Damarea Crockett - who wasn't drafted and didn't make anyone's 53-man roster.
    Florida 56 Vanderbilt 0/Vanderbilt 21 Missouri 14. It seems like MU’s trouble go back to the Troy game when Kelly Bryant and Cale Garrett were injured. Both the offense and defense were pretty steady until they were injured and has gone downhill since then. Give the defense some credit for holding down the score vs UGA by forcing them to settle for 4 FGs and 3 TDs instead of 7 TDs. I’m hoping the Tigers can get back on track since they are bach home, but just comparing scores of a common opponent makes me wonder if they can defend their home turf. Looking forward to your prediction on Saturday.
    I wouldn't get too caught up in common scores. Case in point:
    Missouri 34, South Carolina 14
    South Carolina 20, Georgia 17
    Georgia 27, Missouri 0
    There are a handful of elite teams whose outcomes you can generally predict from week to week and a handful of awful teams you can count on to play awful most weeks. Then you've got all those teams in the middle - the 5-7, 6-6, 7-5, 8-4 teams - that can be wildly unpredictable from week to week. 
    Missouri's defense is too good to get flattened by Florida like last week's Vandy game. But I'm not convinced the Tigers can score enough points to make this game competitive. 
     
    I understand that ultimately the responsibility lies with Tilmon to keep his foul troubles under control, but goodness, it does seem like these officials are good for at least one absolute awful call against him per game, such as the last one they called on him at Xavier.
    I understand that frustration. It bothers Martin, too. But you're right. Ultimately it's up to Tilmon to adjust the way he plays. The officials aren't going to change. He's so strong and physical that when he makes contact it looks different than a big man who's not as strong and physical. I'm not sure how that resolves itself.
    So Powell was told he was starting on Wednesday but Odom said otherwise as late as Friday? Hmmmmmmmm. Vegas can’t be happy about that, but what about the SEC? Can he be fined for that deception?
    Fined why? There's no honesty policy in college football or the SEC when it comes to injuries. As a reporter I'd obviously prefer coaches be transparent and honest, but Odom doesn't have any incentive to announce on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday that Powell is starting. Powell said they told him he was starting on Wednesday. Odom has since said they told Powell to be ready to start on Wednesday. Either way, they needed Powell to know there was a good chance early in the week that he very well might start. Maybe if Bryant looked ready by Friday they could have still started him. Bottom line, Mizzou had few, if any, advantages in this matchup. No sense in giving Kirby Smart multiple days to know the dual-threat senior QB wasn't playing.
    Just a reminder to those opening day deer hunters who shop up at Faurot to please remove the Orange before entering since they will otherwise appear to be Gator fans.
    Kam Scott penalty. Ughhhhhhhhhhhh.......
    It was awful. Obviously the Georgia safety flopped, but he was the SECOND defender that Scott shoved after the whistle. It was especially bad considering a play earlier Scott didn't make much of an effort to catch Powell's deep ball down the sideline. I believe it's OK to leave your feet to catch a ball.
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