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.

    Greetings, chatters. Welcome back after a week away from the chat. I hope yours was as productive as mine. Let's dive into your questions.
    Dave,

    What does your instinct and your reporting tell us about the 2020 college football season? What form will it take if played, when will it start, how many games and so forth. Realize there is a lot to the decision, a lot of deadlines and logistics to resolve and a lot of dollars involved, but it's now mid-May.

    Thanks.
    It's still too early to have a firm grasp of what will happen and when. Hope is not a strategy here, but leaders at universities and at the conference level obviously want football to happen. They need football to happen. But the commissioners are going to base decisions off what they're hearing from their leaders within their states. I could see a scenario unfolding where certain conferences start ahead of other conferences. I could see scenarios where some teams within a conference don't start as early as other teams in their conference. The consensus seems to be that at some point by the end of June there needs to be some decisions made and deadlines set for when the season could start and when training camps can begin. There's still some different opinions on whether athletes should  be back on campus if the campuses are closed to non-athletes. By some point I would think conferences will come to a consensus within their membership on what will be OK in terms of allowing athletes back in their facilities. Testing resources will be pivotal.
    How do you compare Drinks first full
    Recruiting class (next years incoming) vs BO’s first class?
    Drinkwitz has nine commitments so far, eight three stars and one four star. For the most part, the caliber of talent is on par with most of Odom's classes. There's more buzz for a couple reasons: One, the staff has had success getting early pledges - some of that due to travel restrictions. Two, the bulk of the commitments are from in-state and within the STL region. 
    Odom's first full class - the 2017 class, not the 2016 class that included a lot of Pinkel commitments - ranked No. 43 nationally by 247Sports and was 13th in the 14-team SEC. Not great but not far from the norm since MU joined the SEC. The 2017 class produced 13 players who have been multi-game starters. A few All-SEC candidates but no clear 1st-team guys or major stars. The best players have been Rountree, Durant, Whiteside, Gillespie and Bledsoe. Akial Byers was the only four-star player in the 2017 class. Good player, not elite by any means. What hurt the 2017 class - or at least the perception of the class - was the complete lack of in-state prospects. DaRon Davis was the only one signed, and he never made it academically. You can't win the SEC East with multiple classes of good players without truly great players. 
  • Any word on any asst coach reshuffling in men’s b-ball? I know MP was reassigned and his contract is done
    The athletics department is essentially in a hiring freeze right now, so I would not anticipate any outside hires for the time being. Porter Sr. was not one of the three assistant coaches last season. He was moved to director of player development. His contract expired a few weeks ago but he could still return in that capacity or a different one. He just won't be making $375K.
    Is Mizzou recruiting Kobe Browns brother ?
    How do you envision our men’s b-ball team. Maybe 3 guards and two bigs?
    Assuming the roster returns intact - and the three guys testing the NBA waters all return - they're going to roll with three ball-handlers: Dru Smith, Drew Buggs and Xavier Pinson and then Kobe Brown and Jeremiah Tilmon. This isn't speculation. Then you've got the supporting cast of Mark Smith, Pickett, Mitchell Smith, Braun, etc. One thing I would anticipate for next season, and again, this isn't based on speculation but conversations I've had with the decision-makers: Martin will ride with a shorter bench. I wouldn't expect there to be as much rapid substituting. Guys will have more freedom to play through mistakes. At least that's the thinking and discussion now coming out of last season.
    What incoming freshman have the best chance of not getting redshirted and playing more than four games on football (if we have a season)!
    Mizzou needs playmakers on offense. I'd expect the receivers to get a good look: Jay Maclin and JJ Hester. Running back Elijah Young will have a chance to get some playing time behind the three veteran backs. The defense needs to develop depth in the secondary. Ennis Rakestraw should have a chance to get some looks at corner. Otherwise, I'm not sure there's a huge need at any other position. But anytime you have a new staff there's a tendency to give playing time to the rookies if they see more upside over a veteran who hasn't produced much.
    Who leads us in football receiving next season ?
  • Damon Hazelton. He's by far the most accomplished receiver on the team. I wouldn't be shocked if Barrett Banister puts up a lot of numbers, too. He gets open and catches the ball better than any returning receiver.
    That's what I'm here for. My pleasure.
    rank Travion Ford with other big recruiting wins from stl. Where would you put him ? Top 10?
    It's a big one because it's a new staff and it gives Drinkwitz some local credibility. In my time covering Mizzou - since 1998 - here's how I'd rank  the top five STL recruiting wins:
    1. Damien Nash, 2001. That was enormous for Pinkel. Nash was a national recruit, a huge local superstar. Instant credibility for a new staff.
    2. Blaine Gabbert, 2008. The most important position on the field. Gabbert could have gone anywhere but chose to stay home and continue Pinkel's QB lineage. 
    3. Sheldon Richardson, 2009: Elite D-tackles are the hardest position to recruit. MU got one of the very best ones in the country. 
    4. Terry Beckner, 2013: MU needed elite D-tackles to win in the SEC and Pinkel's staff fought off elite programs for the East St. Louis star.
    5. Jeremy Maclin, 2006: Underrated as a recruit, but MU nabbed him after he initially committed to Oklahoma. Huge flip for Mizzou.
    Here's how 247Sports ranks the STL recruits who signed with Mizzou since 2000. Keep in mind, this is what they were ranked as HS prospects. 
    1. Beckner
    2. Richardson
    3. Gabbert
    4. Nash
    5. Kyle Riggs
    6. Nick Demien
    7. Travion Ford
    8. Andy Bauer
    9. Donavin Newsom
    10. Chase Abbington
    11. Jalani Williams
    12. Atiyyah Ellison
    13. Jimmie Hunt
    14. Nate Strong
    15. Jack Buford
    16. Ray Wingo
    17. Tyler Gabbert
    18. Maclin !!!!
    19. Wes Kemp
    20. CJ Boone
    21. Michael Scherer
    Just for some context: Chase Daniel was the 72nd-ranked Mizzou signee since 2000 - behind the likes of Tyler Gabbert, Blaine Dalton, Trent Hosick. Shane Ray was No. 66. EJ Gaines was No. 92. Marcus Murphy No. 93. So, clearly, the rankings are hardly gospel. 
    Programming note: Some of our beat writers and columnists are doing something really cool in a couple weeks that can involve your participation. Check it out here:

    Sports on Tap: Come face to face with our reporters on May 27

    STLtoday.com: Sportswriters Ben Frederickson, Derrick Goold, Benjamin Hochman, Dave Matter and Jim Thomas are headed to a screen near you.
    Any chance the administration would consider revoking Odom's degree? The guy was an embarrassment to his alma mater.
    What are the chances that Mizzou cuts some sports? I understand that Title IX implications will have an impact, but it is time to shed dead weight.
  • This is a story I'm working on. As of now, it's not an option on the table at Mizzou. But it's a story worth exploring because it's happening at other schools. I've been told that dropping a team is "the last resort of the last resorts of the last resorts." 
    There's a misunderstanding about how Title IX comes into play here. The law does not require the same number of teams for men and women. But the proportion of male to female athletes has to be of similar proportions to the male to female student population. 
    More of a comment than a question.... Excellent article this morning on coach Casey Woods. With such limited in-person exposure with recruits, it is great to see what had been accomplished so far. Yes, it is a long time until signing day, but momentum is a wonderful thing. If current coach's and current players can build something positive on the field this fall, it will be exciting to see what this group of recruiters can put together next year.
  • College coaches have more time on their hands than ever before right now, so it's not a big surprise that the number of commitments are high all around the country. There are 22 Power 5 teams with at least 10 verbal commitments for the 2021 class. That's a lot for May.
    Indirect question relating to sports this fall... Any word on re-enrollment of students yet?. Probably too soon, but even summer school numbers will be interesting.
    Deposits for freshman enrollment were due on May 1. According to the Columbia Missourian, this year's numbers are in line with last year's numbers. More than 5,400 incoming students paid their enrollment deposits, the Missourian reported. MU is pleased with that number all things considered. Last fall, 5,416 freshmen enrolled at MU, which was 16 percent higher than the 2018 enrollment figures.
    I saw that University of Cincinnati pulled the plug on mens soccer in what could be an early warning sign of other non revenue sports being in trouble due to expenses and budget crunches. Anything of substance yet in the SEC regarding this?
  • No programs from the Power 5 schools have been cut - yet. Akron announced this morning that it will shed men’s cross country, men’s golf and women’s tennis. Old Dominion has closed its wrestling program. I'm sure we'll see more of this, especially outside of the Power 5 schools. As I posted earlier, Mizzou is not preparing to cut any of its teams. Mizzou has some flexibility with its athletics debt that will allow the department to move around some money without having to close an entire team.
    Sorry to hear about the furlough. Hope you were at least able to recharge your batteries a bit. I've seen some articles about possible scheduling changes to accommodate less traveling, home and home, etc for football this fall. Any gut ideas about these possibilities?
    It's too early to speculate. I wouldn't think the conference schedules will change. Now, if you've got a nonconfernece game against a Mountain West or Pac-12 team in a state that doesn't plan to stage games or play any games, then you might have to get creative with scheduling. MU has a road game at BYU, but BYU is an independent and wouldn't have to follow any conference policies. Stay tuned.
    Dave
    Thank you for the chat

    Would you agree that we are in a different era of college football coaches , we had those almost mythical figures, the tough almost general like coaches such as Bear Bryant and Woody Hayes. Today we have more like CEO type of coaches such as Saban. Where would you put coach Pinkel? Is he a transitionary figure? and what about Odom and Drinkwitz?


    Personality wise what would be the main difference between Drinkwitz and Odom that seems to allow Drinkwitz to be, up to this point, to be more successful in recruiting?
    I'm going to tap on the brakes a little bit on declaring Drinkwitz a recruiting wizard. His staff has done a nice job building relationships and landing some St. Louis commitments. Let's give them credit for the early momentum. It's also only May. Odom was getting a lot of credit last June when Antonio Doyle committed to Mizzou. It was seen as the possible start of a turnaround in the STL region for Odom. We know what happened from there.
    As I've written many times in the last few months: Drinkwitz has energized recruits and coaches with his personality and his social media presence. It resonates with teenagers. It's natural for him. As long as he's been in coaching social media has been part of the game. Older coaches had to evolve to survive in today's climate. It comes more naturally for younger coaches. Drinkwitz, 37, and Casey Woods, 37 tomorrow, are only a few years younger than Odom, 43, but he played the game in the 1990s and got into coaching in the early 2000s while recruiting tech was just starting to advance. 
    That's not to say all coaches north of 50 aren't good at social media or can't relate to the modern college athlete. Dabo Swinney is 50. He seems to be doing just fine. But, again, he falls in line with the more modern coaching model: more CEO and master of charisma and brand building 
    and less pure Xs and Os.
    The best coaches in 2020 combine both forces: innovative on AND off the field. Lincoln Riley is the perfect example. His offense is cutting edge and exciting and his program is one of the best at the social media game. 
    FYI, as the crowd at Memorial Stadium started to disperse after Drinkwitz's introductory press conference, here's what Gary Pinkel told me: "He reminds me a lot of Lincoln Riley."
    I am impressed that HCED was able to get a committment from Travion Ford especially since he is a 4 star recruit from the St Louis area and beat out such schools as Alabama, LSU, Ohio St, OKlahoma etal. Hopefully he will be the first of many top recruits from the area. However, I saw his listed weight is only 220 pounds which seems light for a DE in the SEC. a very brief look at the UGA FB roster of a half a dozen offensive linemen shows the lightest to be 290 pounds with the rest over 300. At first glance this looks to be a mismatch. Since many traditional FB powers were after him, I’m glad he signed with MU, but it looks like a real challenge for him and he will have to bulk up considerably to compete in the SEC.
    Keep in mind, Georgia runs a three-man base front most of the time and its defensive ends are more like 4-3 defensive tackles. They're heavier and bigger than a 4-3 defensive end. Look instead at Georgia's JACK outside linebacker/pass rushers for the equivalent of Ford. Azeez Ojulari is UGA's top JACK linebacker/pass rusher and he's 6-3, 240. 
    Shane Ray was 6-4, 220 pounds when he signed at Mizzou - and became the SEC defensive player of the year as a 4-3 defensive end. That's the model for Ford. 
    i see Mizzou's recruiting ranking is 33rd. Kansas is ahead of Mizzou. How the flip is that school ahead of Mizzou?
  • I'll answer your question with a question: How is Mizzou at 33 and Oklahoma is 47 and Alabama is 48? 
    Answer: It's May. 
    Kansas has 10 commitments, all three stars. KU's quantity outweighs MU's class by fractions. For now.
    Again, it's May. The team rankings are pretty meaningless right now. 
    Recently the PD has published an all Metro FB team of area high school football players of the last ten years. I saw Andy Bauer, who went to Mizzou, but did not play due to injury, on the list. Did any other players on the last 10 years all metro team go to Mizzou?
    Yes, several:
    OFFENSE
    1st team: OL Andy Bauer
    2nd team: WR Maurice Massey, OL Jack Buford
    3rd team: QB Tyler Macon (commitment), OL Tre'Vour Wallace-Simms
    DEFENSE
    1st team: DT Terry Beckner, CB Aarion Penton, S Cam Hilton
    2nd team: DE Nate Howard, S Ronnell Perkins
    3rd team: DT Antar Thompson, S Jalani Williams
    ALL PURPOSE
    RB/LB Mike Scherer
    K/P Tucker McCann
    Great work by David Kvidahl and our staff for putting together these all-decade teams. 

    All-Decade archive

    STLtoday.com: The Post-Dispatch All-Decade series is based on high school performances between the 2010-11 and 2019-20 school years.
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