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 1 p.m. Thursday.

    Good afternoon, chatters. Apologies for the time change this week, but Cuonzo Martin had his media availability during our normal chat time. I'll be here for the next couple hours to talk all things Mizzou. Be sure to check out all our signing day coverage on the site today. I'll bombard you with links during the chat.
    Are you surprised with the Heisman voting?. Top four the same as you thought?. What a great story line if Joe Burrow gets to play Ohio State in the championship game.
    I wasn't surprised by the voting. I voted for Burrow 1st, Jalen Hurts 2nd and Chase Young 3rd. I also considered Justin Fields and Jonathan Taylor, but I felt good about my first three choices.
    Does it seem to you that it is taking longer than usual to name the entire staff for coach Drink?.
    No. It took a long time for Odom to name his entire staff, too. Recruiting and nailing down the first part of the signing class was Drinkwitz's priority. Also, Mizzou likes to space these things out sometimes to create more excitement. I'm not sure that really works, but that's how it's done.
    Looks like the staff will need to hit the recruiting trail hard for defensive players over the next 6 weeks. D Line a concern, as of now?
    It wasn't one of the position groups that Drinkwitz mentioned yesterday as a concern, but if you look at the roster, it probably should be. Here's who Mizzou returns in 2020, scholarship players only, pending any unexpected roster turnover:
    Defensive end
    Seniors: Tre Williams, Chris Turner, Sci Martin
    Juniors: Jatorian Hansford
    Sophomores: Isaiah McGuire
    Freshmen/Redshirt freshmen: Z'Core Brooks
     
    Defensive tackle
    Seniors: Kobie Whiteside, Akial Byers, Markell Utsey, Chris Daniels, Antar Thompson
    Juniors: None
    Sophomores: Darius Robinson
    Freshmen/Redshirt freshmen: None
     
    After 2020, just four of those players are left. That's alarming. I would think Mizzou should be hitting the junior colleges for reinforcements. 
     
    I saw that Mizzou signed a kicker. Forgive me for not remembering his name. Does the new special teams coach have experience in coaching kickers?. Or do kickers generally use an outside coach for the nuances of kicking?
  • Harrison Mevis is the kicker who signed. Credit Andy Hill for landing him. Erik Link is the new special teams coordinator. He's worked with special teams for the bulk of his career. Does that make him an expert in placekicking? I'm not sure, but I imagine he's qualified to coach the position. It's such a specialized position that at the college level kickers don't get a lot of hands-on coaching. I'm sure there will be people on staff to help with technique and strategy and conditioning, but it's not a real complicated position to teach.
    More of a statement here... you look at the Top 30 recruits in the St. Louis area the last few years and have to wonder "what if?". Sure the blue blood programs are always going to poach the best of the best, but there is still a long list of players that are going to power 5 programs. I'm talking the St. Louis players, not even the top players in the state.
    That's true. That wasn't always the case under Pinkel. More often than not, if there was a four or five-star player in the region, he landed them. Not all of them - but more often than not. Gabbert, Maclin, Richardson, etc. The difference now is more schools from more conferences are recruiting the St. Louis market. Maybe it's because of Missouri's move to the SEC. Maybe it's just the fact that schools recruit more nationally now than regionally. Either way, Missouri can't sell the proximity pitch to the four- and five-star recruits in Texas, Tennessee, Florida, etc. like it can to the four- and five-star recruits in Missouri. In theory, those players should be easier to land. That's not always true, but it'll be hard for Missouri to win compete for the SEC East and win on a national level without landing some of the best recruits in the state.
    Are we all having déjà vu or did another early-tenure Mizzou AD hire a young hotshot out of the state of North Carolina? I was in high school the last time it happened, but I recall most fans seeing Snyder’s hire as a 3-4 year stint before moving on to a blue blood. Unfortunately, we weren’t that lucky. Given that Mizzou paid App State a $1.7M buyout for a promising but unproven coach, can we basically expect Drinkwitz to either a) Be gone on January 16th 2022 for 2 years at an SEC school or b) Fail miserably and resurrect himself coaching in the pros 20 years from now a la Quin?

    $3 Million is nothing to UT, Southern Cal, Notre Dame etc.
    I don't know. Maybe?
    If Drinkwitz leaves for an elite job in two years that's good for Missouri. That means he did a great job here. He's not getting hired at USC or Texas or Auburn if he goes 6-6 at Mizzou. 
    I am a fan of the regional recruiting strategy that coach Drink is implementing. It does seem like a better way to develop long term relationships. Did you get the sense that XHCBO burned some bridges or couldn't sustain relationships by using the Positional recruiting strategy?.
  • I understood Odom's reasoning behind the move but it can backfire. I think he wanted to get some new faces in certain markets, flood St. Louis with multiple coaches to start building relationships with the players who they'd spend the most time with in Columbia. In that sense, it makes some sense. But if you ask the high school coaches, they want consistent faces walking through their doors. They want coaches they can get to know personally and trust. That's harder to do when 10 coaches are coming in your office instead of one or two. As Drinkwitz pointed out yesterday, when you recruit regionally, you know where to look for information on a recruit at certain school. You have relationships with the important figures at that school and in that market.
  • Are you hearing anything about press access for spring ball or summer camp?
  • Nada. Drinkwitz granted good access at App State. I hope that continues.
  • When covering a game, do you prefer Tweeting from your phone or laptop?
  • Has there been any word on Tyler Badie and the crptic tweet?
    I left messages with Badie and his father and never got a reply. Nobody at Mizzou knew how to interpret his tweet. He hasn't entered the transfer portal to my knowledge. He might have simply been thanking Mizzou for the opportunity to play for the team in 2019 and didn't mean for it to become a cryptic farewell. As of now, he's on the team to my knowledge.
    Does it seem like a huge point of emphasis for the February signing period will be for both the offensive and defensive lines?
    Drinkwitz mentioned receiver, O-line and safety as areas of concern when it comes to depth. I would think D-line would fit that category too given the lack of depth beyond the 2020 senior class. Both starting deep safeties are set to return next year, Bledsoe and Gillespie, but the third safety spot (strong) was held down by two seniors in 2019, Perkins and Oliver. They'll need to add some depth there and on the back end. MU will return some experienced receivers, but outside of Banister, I'm not sure you can say there's a proven starter. Knox and Scott were fairly disappointing this year. Boone and Massey both redshirted and could become contributors.
    What's up with the women's bball team this year? Are they in a rebuilding mode?
    They're really struggling. That's an understatement. Pingeton doesn't like the word, but it's definitely a rebuilding year. The two freshmen have been really good at times  - Blackwell and Frank - but they're also freshmen in a sport that's dominated by upperclassmen. Women's hoops isn't like men's hoops where the most talented players leave after a year to play in the NBA. It's harder to win with freshmen in the women's game. That said, don't forget, MU has three transfers sitting out this year who should be impact players next year, especially Shannon Dufficy, the Australian forward from Utah State.
    It seems that the honeymoon period for coaching hires and performance is getting shorter and shorter due to the $$$ being generated in sports. Is that period shorter for their coaches?. Do you think that Coach CM is starting to squirm a bit?
  • Martin shouldn't squirm because his contract protects him for another year. He can't be fired until after the 2020-21 season - and even then Mizzou would owe him a huge buyout.
    In general, yes, schools are showing less patience with head coaches. You saw it this year with Willie Taggart at FSU and Chad Morris at Arkansas. Coaches used to always be given at least three or four years. With all the money at stake, that's no longer the case, especially at major programs that expect to compete for championships every year. 
    What is HCCM’s plan to defend against the Illini’s twin towers of Georgi B and Kofi ****burn. With Tilmon’s tendency to pick up 2 early fouls and sit for 17 minutes of the first half and with the inside game they have (especially ****burn). It is possible for this matchup to get ugly early. Hope Mark Smith shoots 3 pointers like he did vs SIU.
    Martin talked about the matchup a lot earlier today. And you can read more about it in the coming days. This is an enormous game for Tilmon. Illinois has two legit big men. They will attack Tilmon from the jump. If he's on the bench with two fouls for the bulk of the first half, the Tigers are at risk of getting blown out early. Martin noted this will be just the second time all season Tilmon faces a big man who's a serious post presence offensively, the other being Xavier's Tyrique Jones, who only scored six points in 33 minutes against the Tigers.
    I just realized Schiffer moved on to the Athletic from the Star. You've covered Mizzou for 20 years and I'm assuming have built contacts/access through those years. What would be the biggest journalism/coverage challenges if you were to do something similar to Schiffer and take a job covering the Trailblazers, Broncos, Celtics, or some other team several states away?
    I put a lot of stock into having institutional knowledge of the team(s) I cover when it comes to the history. It's hard to be an expert on a team if you don't know its roots. So, that would be a challenge in covering a new beat. Then it's all about developing sources and earning respect from the important people within the organization. That doesn't happen overnight. It takes years to develop - and it's a process that never stops. You can never relax when covering a beat. There's so much work that goes into the job that doesn't include writing stories for the paper. That part would be even more challenging in a new environment.
    Just finished listening to the podcast. It was very interesting. I was especially happy to hear Drinkwitz will appear to be keeping lines open to Pinkel. Also, glad to see Walters staying. I was a big Odom fan, but understand the need to move on after the failures this year.
    I was a little surprised that Walters chose to stay, but his decision also came down to the market. If he could have landed a better DC job somewhere maybe he takes it. If Odom would have landed a head-coaching job, maybe he takes Walters with him. But he's under contract for two more years at $800K. That's 1.6 million reasons to stick around as long as the new guy wants to keep you.
    Dave: Could you clarify what exactly the scholarship reductions penalty for football are, and is the penalty for one year only?
    Mizzou must reduce its scholarship maximum by 5 percent. That's four scholarships. Instead of having 85 players on scholarship for the 2020 season, they can only have 81. It's only for the 2020 season. They can go back to 85 for 2021.
    What are your general impressions of The Drink? I can tell you all the App State fans down here (I live among hundreds - my daughter went there) were livid. They really liked him as did the NC State fans, when he was there.
  • We don't know if he can build a program and sustain success because he's moved around so much and only been a head coach for one year. But this is what fans should like most: He has a plan. He has a plan on offense especially. He has a system in place that will have an identity and a purpose. That was not the case the last two years. Dooley arrived with his gargantuan NFL playbook and literally called his offense "Wikipedia." 
    "Every day you can go on there and there’s a new sentence (and say), ‘Oh, I wonder who added that?," he said nearly two years ago.
    That's not going to be the case under Drinkwitz. He has an established offense that can lean in different directions based on MU's personnel, but there will be a plan in place. 
  • I’ve heard some talk that Shawn Robinson looked very good in whatever he did in practice, this past year. Did you see enough of him in any meaningful work to make a judgment about how good he could be?
    Once his NCAA appeal was denied in August he started running the scout team, so I rarely saw him do much of anything. Had MU played in a bowl game and the staff wasn't fired I would have gotten a good look at him this month, but obviously that didn't happen. I've heard plenty of good things about him - but that's almost always the case when it comes to a transfer who wasn't eligible to play. They become mythical legends sometimes - and sometimes don't live up to the expectations. I'd be cautiously optimistic about his future. I think he fits Drinkwitz's offense pretty well.
    I was surprised to see that Chaminade’s Brady Cook at QB after passing last year on Brett Gabbert. Gabbert led CBC to 2 state titles, named Missouri 6A player of the year and was in 13 games in his freshman season at Miami(Oh). What interests MU about Cook that they didn’t see in Gabbert.
    At least two inches. Brett Gabbert was listed at 6-0. He might not be that tall. Missouri was hardly the only Power Five program that didn't recruit him. Maybe it'll turn out to be a mistake. But Cook has a bigger frame at 6-2 and is really developed physically. 
    I didn't get this into my story I wrote on Cook this week but can share here: He has trained since the second grade with local QB instructor Matt Biermann and at Matt's facility, Elite Football Academy, the sports science department brings in a lot of resources and technology to measure athletes. They have a tool called force plates, made by a company called Hawkins Dynamics. They test an athlete's balance/power/agility, etc., and after his junior year Cook produced one of the highest scores ever recorded by the folks who run the tests. He was measured again this year and again posted one of the highest scores - higher than many college and pro athletes who use the facility. 
    What's all that mean? He's a much better athlete than some might assume. Chaminade turned him loose on more designed runs this year and he nearly ran for 400 yards - on top of throwing for 3,100.
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