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.

    Greetings, chatters. Thanks for joining me today. Happy Halloween and all that jazz. I'll be here for the next couple hours to take your questions. Mizzou men's hoops gets started tomorrow (sort) with an exhibition game. I'll have much more on the Tigers in the coming days. I spent some time with Cuonzo Martin this week breaking down the roster and visited with some players earlier today. I imagine we might have some football questions today, too. Fire away.

    With Sophie graduating , what are the prospects this year for the team, and according to your opinion do you search hard for the next one, or is she once in a generation type of a player?
    Get yourself familiar with the names Aijha Blackwell and Hayley Frank. They're freshmen and they might already be Mizzou's best players - or at least on par with senior Amber Smith. This team is on the younger side, and while Robin Pingeton would rather eat a shoe than call this a rebuilding year, it is a transition year. Outside expectations aren't going to be as high. I think the team was picked 9th in the preseason SEC poll. That sounds about right. When you rely so much on younger players you're going to see some peaks and valleys. They've got the talent to win every game on the schedule - and probably the inexperience and depth issues to lose a bunch of them, too. They're not a tall or deep team by any means, but the two freshmen have the potential to be special.
    Speaking of, make sure to check out Friday's Post-Dispatch and STLtoday.com for a really good story by Christina Long on this very topic.
    Dave...thanks for chatting
    There are four possible outcomes.
    Win / Lose when you're favored
    Win / Lose as an underdog

    Seems to me what is telling about a coaching staff is the win and lose upsets.
    I believe I read last week that the Tiger's have lost as favorites 10 times in the Odom era.
    How many game have they won as 'dogs?
    Seems to me like the comparison is pretty one sided in a bad way.
    Also has Coach Odom led the team to any victories as big as the bad loses were devastating?
    Happy Halloween
    Missouri has now lost 11 games as Vegas favorites, most in the SEC since the start of 2016, when Odom took over. The Tigers have won two games in that time as underdogs, against Arkansas (+8) in 2016 and Florida (+6) last year. 
    Obviously the Vegas oddsmakers' lines are way off sometimes. They're designed to attract bets on both side of the number. But the perception that Odom struggles with teams Mizzou is expected to beat is obviously troubling.  
    Dave , hello

    Thank you for doing this. This is a long question, but I am very interested in your thoughts about this.

    The NCAA decision about student athletes earning money for the use of their image and name, I know that it is difficult to predict at this point, but according to your view, how do you think its going to affect college athletics? and did you have a chance before or after the decision was made, to discuss this issue with anyone at the Mizzou AD, to see what they think about the possible effects of this decision? For example, some people believe the magic of college sports might disappear , and it would resemble more a professional enterprise, do you agree? When we see duke and mizzou on tv , it would be seeing professional athletes, when they walk on campus , they would be viewed more as professionals, than part of the student body, so essentially there would be no differences ,at-least in that aspect , from the professional leagues. Also would college sports be less”pure” or “naive”, because now it’s not about only winning championships, but also making money (I know, I know coaches and AD’s are making millions), But if students start making those amounts would it affect the perception and enjoyment of the sport?
    Can you think about other ways it might affect the magic of college sports, and it no longer being distinct from the professional game? I’m very interested in your thoughts about this, Dave. Thank you!
    Thanks for the question. First off, let's be very clear. The NCAA HAS NOT MADE A DECISION ON THIS. The NCAA did not make a ruling by any means. The NCAA did not change any of its rules or policies. The NCAA merely put out a statement that it will look into allowing athletes to benefit from their name/image/likeness "in a matter consistent with the collegiate model." That's the catch. The collegiate model is based on amateurism. The NCAA isn't going to change its ways until it's kicking and screaming - and likely won't change policy until the organization is at gunpoint, in the form of the only weapon that changes policy: lawsuits. So, this is far from a done deal. The state legislatures are pushing this. The federal legislature might get involved, too. 
    Personally, I'm in favor of the movement. Athletes should be able to profit from private companies that want to use their name/image/likeness. The Olympic model has worked well - and hasn't ruined the Olympics by any teams. You're going to hear a lot of scare tactics from some of the folks who are most threatened by this: the millionaire coaches, ADs, conference commissioners. university chancellors, etc. 
    As far as the magic of college sports ... the magic is long gone. Jimbo Fisher signed a 10-year guaranteed $75 million contract to coach at Texas A&M. Three years ago the NCAA signed an $8.8 billion TV deal with CBS and Turner to broadcast the men's basketball tournament. Mizzou just opened a $98 million football facility. The University of Texas athletics department made $219 million in revenue in the 2018 fiscal year. College sports are professional sports in every aspect except one: The players aren't paid a flat-out salary and can't earn money off their identity. Everything else follows the professional model, and in some cases exceeds the pro model. (NFL and NBA teams don't need shiny facilities to impress recruits.) We can romanticize about the love of the game and the magical aspects of college sports, but the game has changed. 


    After the south end protect, any planned improvements for facilities or building new ones, on the horizon?
    Mizzou is still raising money to put artificial turf on the baseball outfield. They'd like to eventually have a better indoor football practice facility, but I don't believe there are specific plans for that yet.
    Read your article on concerns after the Kentucky game. One of the players mentioned that the players were not taking care of business off the field. The rest of that paragraph alluded to dissension and finger pointing at one another. Is that what Colon-Castillo was talking about? Do you know if the dissension was there before the losing streak or is it a result of the losing streak? Either way, it's disappointing and I'm wondering how Odom is addressing it.
    I was standing there when Colon-Castillo made those comments and I didn't read too much into them. Here's the context: He was making the point that everything the team does in practice is great. They run their plays and execute just fine. He was trying to cover for the coaches and put the blame on the players for not doing enough extra work off the field, like film study. I didn't interpret his comments as pointing to any underlying, subversive issue with this team off the field. What he said is a pretty common "reason" athletes give when they can't come up with an explanation for why they're losing games. It's a lot like saying, "We need to practice harder."
    good day to you dave, well some folks were angry at me last week I'm too tough on the tigers , well now that Kentucky waxed them I will lighten up because they are just terrible in all phases of the game, I see a 6-6 finish with a trip to the no one cares about bowl and then the NCAA can take that from us
    I don't know how anyone, Barry Odom included, can confidently say they'll know how this team will play from week to week. They played at a fairly consistent high level for five weeks in a row ... and then played poorly for two weeks in a row. Who's to say they can't recapture what went right ... or stay stuck in the ditch and keep playing the way they did the last two weeks?
    I don't agree that this team is "terrible" in all phases. The offense has been considerably worse the last two weeks. The defense had its worst game of the season Saturday, but figured things out in the second half and played well enough to allow the offense to get back in the game. Of course, that never happened. 
    Hi Dave
    The team seems to be getting gashed on the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball
    What’s happened
    True colors showing up against better talent or pre hype that our lines were that good to begin with
    Talk to me
    Again, I think the O-line deserves more criticism than the D-line the last two weeks. Vandy didn't gash Mizzou's defense. They averaged 3.5 yards per carry. That's nothing special. It wasn't great defense, but that's not why Missouri lost that game. Now, Kentucky had its way with the defensive front in the first half, but MU did a much better job staying in its gaps and getting penetration in the second half. If the offense shows up either week, those are competitive games that Mizzou can win.
    I can't explain the struggles on the O-line other than the returning players aren't playing as well as they did last year and the new starters aren't better than the guys they replaced. It's not a very physical group and they give up way too much penetration. That said, Missouri ran the ball pretty effectively at times in the first half at Kentucky.  
    Prevailing sentiment says that Tilmon is headed to the pros (NBA, G-league, europe, wherever) after this season. Given the new ruling by the NCAA on use of image, do you think that might change his plans? I'd imagine some local or regional business like Machens/Lou Fusz/Imos/hyvee etc would be eager to hire him to pitch products and he could easily exceed a the money on a G league contract.
    Again, the NCAA hasn't changed any of its policies. The California law doesn't go into effect until 2023. If the NCAA is going to budge on this issue I wouldn't expect change to come soon enough to impact current juniors and seniors in college. The NCAA moves at a glacial pace. Look how long it took to finally support the cost of attendance stipends. Years.
    dave in your opinion , why has this tiger team regressed so much this year, it seems ever since Cale Garrett got hurt this team has spiraled down he is a great player and all but was he that big a difference?
    Disagree. Missouri played a pretty strong game against Ole Miss without Garrett. This is largely an offensive problem. The offense can't sustain drives. There's  no downfield passing threat. The receivers/tight ends aren't making plays or stretching the field. Bryant isn't being a playmaker. The running game isn't consistent. Bryant's knee might be giving him some problems, not so much when it comes to running, but it could be throwing off his ability to plant his feet and drive the ball downfield. They're getting nothing beyond 10 yards through the air. When you're a defense and you don't have to worry about a vertical passing game, it's a lot easier to throw bodies around in the box and control the running game.
    Men’s and Women’s Basketball along with Football get a great deal of the press. Overall how strong is the University of Missouri’s athletic program. Is this a program that has the means and ability to grow? Do you see a future with strong backing?
    Football and men's basketball drive the department. Not just at Mizzou but at most schools. Those sports will always define the strength of the athletics department and the perception of the program's strength on a conference and national level. Missouri is competitive in most of its non-revenue sports, some at a national level, volleyball, wrestling and swimming, especially. But all of those sports lose money and only exist because of the two money-makers that fund them. Some of those teams have a niche audience that cares passionately about their games on a local level. I'll cover them on occasion when there's a story that will draw in a wider audience ... but the two biggies will always fuel the engine.
    Is there a reason that you can share that Bryant has not been looking in Albert O.'s direction? Given how hard it has been for the offense to convert first downs these past two weeks, it seems like it would make sense to lean on one of the few match-up advantages Mizzou has in the receiver corps. Other teams have done the same to Mizzou in the past, with the 2005 New Mexico (Baskett) sand 2008 Kansas (Meier) games still stinging. He's had some bad drops, but are they worse than what we saw out of the WRs last week?
    Surely they can afford to throw more passes to No. 81 ... but he's got to earn those opportunities, too. He leads the team in drops. He's among the league leaders in drop rate, if not the overall leader. As big as he is, he's not very physical. He can do more to get open. He's had some reckless penalties. He's not much of a blocker. It's just been a disappointing year by every measure. Bryant knows Albert has great potential and can do things a normal 6-5, 260-pound guy can't do ... but he's got to get open and catch the ball to be able to use all that speed. He made that ridiculous touchdown catch against Troy, but he's struggled on the more routine catches.
    I have read in more than one place that people think Odom is soft on discipline. I really have no idea what kind of discipline or consequences he enforces or what they would be tied to. As a fan, I hate the unsportsmanlike penalties and the late hits and targeting that are a player expressing frustration with losing or playing badly. So what and how does Odom discipline the players? And what do you think he needs to do in this area?
    He's never said explicitly what he does to punish players who get those kind of penalties, but I can't imagine it's any different from what most teams do. Extra running/drills at practice, etc. I know he doesn't like those kinds of penalties, but either there's a disconnect between the staff and the players or they just aren't very smart players who can control their emotions. I mean, it's one or the other, right? Either you don't listen to the coaches who are clearly not happy with the penalties and surely telling them to stop the nonsense ... or they just don't know any better. Some teams rely heavily on their strength coaches to instill mental toughness. That was very important with Gary Pinkel and his strength coach, Pat Ivey, who played a major role in the program when it came to teaching players about the mental part of the game, how to recover from mistakes and how to control their emotions. He was a huge asset internally. I don't know if the current staff setup/philosophy is the same.
    I'm doing a story on the NCAA thing, myself (TV side), explaining what the NCAA did (and didn't do) as well as looking at whether this is the first step in an inevitable move to eventually begin paying athletes out of NCAA revenues.

    Do you think we'll ever get to that point and, if so, how do you see that going?
  • The NCAA had a meeting and put out a statement ... but stopped well short of enacting any change. Instead, the NCAA put it on the three divisions (I,II,III) to come up with some solutions in the next year. It's going to take time to see any substantial change and it probably won't happen until the issue sees the inside of a courtroom.
    Granted the outcome of the appeal determines any possibility, but would Sterk take the FB to a low level bowl game at 6-6?
    Certainly makes the Arkansas game much more significant the way things are going.
    Yes, the SEC would not allow one of its members to refuse one of the SEC-sponsored bowls. The league has contracts with these bowl games and is obligated to fulfill those terms with its teams.
    Thanks for taking the questions Dave,
    I understand it can take a while to build a program and patience is required for schools like Mizzou, but please correct me if I'm wrong but isn't this year # 4 for HC Odom, plus 1 as DC? So it wasn't like he was an outsider coming in and had to learn all of the secret hand shakes.
    He has either hired or extended everyone on the staff. He's recruited every player on the roster. This is his team. Why doesn't what we see on the field match what we see and hear out of him? A lot of penalties of the type that point to team character issues.
    Lots of comments by writers saying Odom's teams are at their best when their backs are against the wall. Holy cow, losing to Vanderbilt isn't your back against the wall? I can't point out many plays against Kentucky where it truly looked like they wanted to win.
    Track record suggested he'd get his team to bounce back at Kentucky, but obviously that didn't happen. It's fair to say this team doesn't handle adverse elements well. It doesn't handle situations well where it has to create its own energy and momentum when the chips are down. Ultimately that falls on the head coach, but your head coach can't be the team leader, maybe in Year 1 when you're still building your roster and instilling your philosophies - but there should be more player ownership in Year 4. Maybe there is internally, but they haven't learned how to translate that into better play on the field in tough situations.
    Dave, I simply don't understand some of Dooley's play calling. Perhaps I'm too old school, but a wet field, especially during a down pour, calls for running the ball, Nothing like trying to catch a drenched leather football. Seems like he abandoned the running game too quick, and he has in the past too.
    As I wrote on Monday, Missouri was actually moving the ball fairly well on the ground. It seemed like the harder it rained the more MU insisted on throwing the ball ... to receivers who couldn't cleanly catch the ball. I didn't understand those decisions. Sometimes penalties and tackles for loss put in obvious throwing situations, but that wasn't the case the entire game.
    Ok, can you answer the tilmon question given the hypothetical that the board of governors recommendation - or whatever it was - passes through the NCAA before he would sign a pro contract?
    I have no idea if a few paid ads would be enough to keep Tilmon in school. It's a total hypothetical and the answer will be different for every athlete.
    First (and most importantly), have fun trick-or-treating with your kids tonight.

    Do you think the OC abandoned the run game against KY or is this on the OL? This question assumes it's on neither HCBO, or the QB, who, in RPO calls (if there were any) does what the defense dictates, right?
    I follow a site that meticulously tracks every offensive snap by every SEC team, and according to their data, Missouri is not nearly as RPO-heavy as most teams in the SEC. Odom doesn't call the plays on offense. He's obviously aware of the game plan going into each week and I assume he's got his headset flipped on the offensive channel when Mizzou has the ball, but I don't think he's getting too involved in the minutia of play-calling. Dooley has all the controls on offense. Yes, some plays give the QB run or pass options, but MU clearly wanted to throw as much as it did at Kentucky.
    WH-A-A-A-A-T in the wide, wide world of sports, is going on with Albert O?

    It would be hard to believe that there isn't something happening more than just the OC not calling his number, or the QB overlooking him, especially when the HC said earlier in the week they wanted to get him more involved.
    As I pointed out earlier ... he's not getting as many targets but he still leads the team in drops. At some point if you're the QB you lose faith in a guy who can't hang onto the ball. That has to impact play-calling and decision-making to some degree. Sometimes it's not all on coaching.


    Thank you for the chat, you keep it classy, informative, and educational.

    Alabama has Bear Bryant , Pennsylvania had Paterno ( before the Sandusky discoveries ) , is there any equivalent example for Missouri ? A coach from the school , that became a state legend and a state symbol?
    There was this fellow named Norm ....
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