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.

    Welcome back, chatters. I was off last week but I'm back now for the long haul. Does that mean we'll have a college football season this fall to cover? Not sure. Check back in a week or two. I'm sure we'll discuss that and a whole lot more over the next two hours.
    After today's chat, Mizzou AD Jim Sterk is meeting with local media over Zoom. Stay tuned for coverage at STLtoday.com.
    I'm pumped about the Tyler Macon Era to come. What about these receivers with him at East Side? Are they elite, also, or just pretty good receivers who are Macon's friends and he hopes to bring them along?
    Keontez Lewis is a three-star receiver and Dominic Lovett is a four-star receiver, both ranked among the top 60 players in the country at their position. Mizzou isn't recruiting them just because they're buddies with Macon. They have a long list of Power 5 offers. Getting one of them would be great for Drinkwitz. Getting both would be a huge splash. Macon is hopeful both will sign with Mizzou. So is East St. Louis coach Darren Sunkett. But there's still a lot of time between now and December.
    Think maybe Cuonzo could take Drinkwitz along on some of his recruiting trips to create some hype and enthusiasm? But seriously Dave -- there's no basketball buzz at all. Is there any hope for next season (and beyond) finishing on the bright side of .500?
    You're not seeing a whole lot of college basketball commitments right now around the country, at least not during this dead period that keeps getting extended month by month. We all know Mizzou needs to add a lot of pieces for its 2021 class. A lot of offers are on the table. Until schools can start lining up some visits, I'm not sure we're going to see many recruits jump on board just yet.
    What will we be doing at 11/2:30/6 o'clock on Saturdays this fall?
    I hope you're watching college football and I'm at a stadium either in Columbia or somewhere else around the country, but everything is trending against that happening right now. The major conferences clearly want to have a season and play the season as scheduled, but we're approaching the middle of July. Games kick off in less than seven weeks. It's naive to expect every one to play a full schedule unless there's a dramatic shift in the trends of cases - not just nationwide but within these individual programs. Keep in mind, this isn't about death rate or even hospitalizations when it comes it to playing college sports. It's about mitigating spread. And while some schools have done a better job than others of keeping their number of cases down, remember, these teams haven't even practiced yet. They haven't tackled. They've lifted weights. If they're going to play games, they have to have training camp first - and you can't social distance when you're tackling running backs, and blocking linemen and covering receivers. Yet, teams are still seeing high number of positive cases before ever practicing. If teams can't control the spread during weightlifting sessions, how are they going to control it during live practices and games?
    The 10-game conference schedules seem to be gaining traction. Wipe out your noncon games and add a couple conference games. If that happens in the SEC, maybe you see Mizzou add Ole Miss and Texas A&M to replace Central Arkansas, BYU, Eastern Michigan and Louisiana-Lafayette. That's a hell of a lot better than not playing a season.
    Hi Dave! I know the sample size was small and against Arkansas, but am I crazy for having some high hopes for Bazelak? He seemed sharp. It totally sucks about his ACL, but we've seen players come back from ACL tears to really high levels
  • I thought he showed a lot of poise for a freshman and had some good zip on his passes. Keep in mind, that was an abysmal Arkansas defense that was missing some of its best players. But it was a promising start. He looked good in flashes at Georgia also. It should be an interesting competition if/when practices get started in August.
  • I THINK YOU DO A GREAT JOB. How about a guess at mo football record this season. Thank you.
  • How many games are they playing? If it's a 12-game schedule - wear your mask if you want to see that happen - I'm sticking with 7-5.
  • When Mizzou first hired Cuonzo Martin, you mentioned he may develop into an all-time, transformative figure for the basketball program, similar to Pinkel on the football side. At the time, he had just landed some big names on the recruiting trail and there was a significant buzz in Columbia. After a few years now of covering Martin, do you still feel that potential exists? Is he the type of figure that can grow this program into a consistent contender in the SEC and on a national level? What do you feel his ceiling is as a coach?
    I still believe he can build a great program at Mizzou. He just needs the players. We saw what he did with his most talented roster in his first season. They lost their best player for the bulk of the year, still won 20 games with a patchwork roster and nearly earned a double bye in a strong SEC field. But, clearly, any momentum has stalled. We can cite all the injuries, but healthy or not, this program hasn't had the firepower to compete against the elite teams in a conference that cares much more about men's hoops than it did when Mizzou first joined the SEC. This program doesn't need buzz. Buzz is fleeting. It might sell some tickets but it doesn't sustain. Mizzou needs substance. It needs development. It needs a foundation and pieces upon pieces so that it's constantly in reload mode.
    Just wanted to take a moment and ask you to keep being you. I see some of the crap/abuse you get on twitter and find it sad and hilarious. I've never understood the logic of the proverbial 'Biff from Paducah' who thinks its perfectly fine for him to go all political ranting on social media but its not acceptable from somebody who writes in a newspaper or plays basketball or acts in movies. Do the Biffs of the world not realize that we're all people with feelings and beliefs and we're entitled to the same platform to express those beliefs as Mr and Mrs Biff are? (I'm sorry I ended that sentence with a verb - my high school English teacher would not be happy with me.)
  • Thanks for the note. I don't mind the feedback on Twitter. Far more is positive than negative. I'm careful about what I share on that site, and honestly I share much less there as a 41-year-old than I did as a 31-year-old or 36-year-old. I prefer Instagram to Twitter these days and will probably use it more often going forward. Twitter is mostly a smoldering cauldron of hate and negativity where people only come to have their ideologies reinforced instead of challenged. I'd be more concerned if people weren't noticing my coverage/commentary on Twitter than if they disagreed with it.
  • My friend works for one of the big national consulting companies. He recently wrapped up a project working with closely with Power 5 schools on sports revenue and told me that ADs are some of the most overrated, overpaid people in the country. In essence, his argument was that running a P5 athletics program is like running a toll road, the money comes in no matter what; they experience a free market/real competition once every few years when hiring a mbb or fb coach and even then most of them waste hundreds of thousands on outside firms to shirk the responsibility. Do you agree with this characterization, and is there any evidence that Mizzou ADs (whom I've never met and all seem like perfectly nice guys) add value over any other generic nice guys who know sports?
  • I'd say that's a bit of an generalization. Athletics departments waste a lot of money, from my outsider perspective, and that's because most of them feel obligated to spend every cent they make in revenue. They believe if they out-spend their competitors it'll lead to more wins and more success, and clearly that doesn't always work. ADs have to be politicians in some sense. They have to schmooze donors to raise money. They have to hire the right cabinets and effectively delegate. They have to build a healthy culture within their department. They have to work effectively with the media. I agree they spend too much on search firms. The firms do some positive things during the hiring process that can save a school some time, but if the schools believe a coaching change is that important, it can invest more time and resources of its own to handle the search without paying six figures to an outside firm.
    So Tyler Macon will be the QB next year? What happened to Taylor Powell or Conner Baazalek?
    Macon believes he can win the job as a freshman, but that doesn't mean it will happen. He'll have to earn the job. Shawn Robinson will be a senior in 2021 and could very well be coming off a productive 2020 season. The others could figure into the mix, too.
    Dave - Great to have you back! Special teams over the past few years have taken it's lumps. First, who is our new special teams coach? Second, does it look like we will have some strong competition in camp for kicking field goals and extra points. I saw that we picked up a kicker from UK. As always, thanks for your time.
    The new special teams coordinator is Erik Link, who held the same role for Drinkwitz at App State last year. Special teams were better last year than they were in 2018, but there's still room for growth and, more than anything, major roles to be decided. Mizzou will have a new kicker for field goals/PATs and kickoffs and a new punter. Harrison Mevis is the scholarship freshman brought in to take over the FG/PAT job. Mizzou added Kentucky grad transfer Grant McKinnis to take over as the punter. He punted at UK as a freshman but was the backup to UK's All-American the last few years. He also handled kickoffs at UK the last two years.
    So I guess one of those 4 qb's will be making the inevitable transfer after this year
    Possibly. I say all the time that quarterbacks either start or transfer. You don't see many backup quarterbacks go through senior day ceremonies. It's not something I'd worry about. The best option usually gets the starting job and then the rest takes care of itself.
    So is Xavier Pinson now on transfer/NBA declaration watch? www.instagram.com
    I saw his post and checked with the team. He is not in the transfer portal and they don't expect him to enter the portal at this time.
    If you know anything about Pinson's social media history, he likes to build some mystery and attention sometimes with stuff like this. And then he typically says he doesn't understand why we ask him if he's thinking about transferring.
    If you read his comments to the original post, he says, "Don't worry. Plan still the same."
    Dave - As far as you know, will camp start on Monday, July13th? Thank You
  • Camp was never slated to start July 13. Next week is when players can start up to eight hours per week of weight training, conditioning and film review. Then from July 24-Aug. 6 teams may have up to 20 hours of athletically related activities (but not more than four per day) for weight training/conditioning, walk-throughs with a football and team meetings/position meetings. What we would normally call preseason camp - live drills, tackling, scrimmages, etc - can begin on Aug. 7.
    Without getting too deep into the weeds on the Covid-19 situation, why shouldn't death rate and hospitalizations be taken into account. The effect on 0-24 year-olds is virtually nil. The whole idea of the lockdown in mid March was to flatten the curve so our hospitals don't get overwhelmed. We have avoided that situation. I say this as a 32 year educator who has witnessed the devastation the lockdown has caused to my students. The players may need to limit their visits to their grandparents houses this fall and get back to school.
    I didn't mean to imply that death rates/hospitalization shouldn't count, but when it comes to having college sports, those aren't the only factors at play here. It's not only a matter of whether the (unpaid) college athletes are going to live or die. There are a lot of layers here.  How can you field a team to have games if you've got 15-20 players in quarantine for two weeks? Older coaches, staff and personnel are at greater risk of infection - and having a functional football program at the Power 5 level requires a couple hundred people involved in the process. That might not be possible under these circumstances. I hope that it is, but major programs are already having to suspend social distance weightlifting sessions because too many players are getting infected. Imagine what happens when they start tackling each other.
    Have you talked to Blaine Gabbert any recently? I wonder what it's been like backing up Brady.
    I have not but Benjamin Hochman wrote about him a few months ago after Brady signed with the Bucs.
    My apologies, I know how you feel about uniform questions but, can we agree that top recruits make their decisions based on 1. What program will offer them the best chance to develop and display their talents through coaching and playing time opportunities. 2. A chance to win. 3. Top quality training facilities 4. Fun college town? 5. Education, which is the nominal reason they're going. 6. Maybe a bunch of Nike designed alt unis like Oregon if said university is not a blue blood program. Any I missed or need to reorder?
    I've really never heard a recruit say he chose a school based on the uniforms or decided against a school because of the uniforms. Alabama, Penn State and Clemson don't really touch their classic uniforms and they recruit just fine. Oklahoma, Ohio State and even Notre Dame have started to follow the Oregon trend with alternate uniforms and they recruit just fine. Maybe it's something that gets a recruit's attention during the process, but I think the first five factors you mention are far more influential on a recruit's decision.
    Could you see the COVID crisis leading to a next round of conference realignment/expansion? Less $$ means less loyalty.
  • Yes, if the football season is wiped out or a good chunk of it is lost and schools lose millions and millions in revenue, I could see the major conferences decide its best to redraw the map and shape conferences on more of a regional basis to cut down travel expenses, especially for the non-revenue teams that operate at a budget deficit. By having to travel to Florida, South Carolina  and Georgia instead of Kansas, Kansas State and Iowa State, Mizzou's across-the-board travel costs have risen sharply over the last eight years.
    Ok, folks. That's all for today. We'll do this again next Thursday. Thanks for stopping by.
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