Mailbag!

Mizzou basketball player serving as a bar’s bouncer?  Indiana added to the schedule?  Illinois-Mizzou predictions?  All your questions answered in our first ever mailbag.

Alright so everyone’s doing it.  PTI, Bill Simmons, Powermizzou, they all do mailbags.  So we thought, why not do one of our own?  We’ve slowly gathered enough questions to put together a solid article, so without further ado, here is our first edition of The Columns mailbag:

Everyone else does a mailbag.  Why not us? (Graphic courtesy of ESPN's Pardon the Interruption)

Everyone else does a mailbag. Why not us? (Graphic courtesy of ESPN's Pardon the Interruption)

Joe from Jeff City writes: I heard Kim English is a bouncer at a bar in Columbia.  Would you let him do this job if you’re HCMA?

TW:

The word is that he isn’t a bouncer, basically all he does is stand at the door and check IDs.  It’s a pretty harmless gig if you ask me, it’s not like Kimmie’s inside where he’d be in danger of getting caught in the middle of the a fight. If I’m HCMA it really isn’t an issue for me.  Initially it might sound bad but it’s not such a big deal. Shiloh is generally an older, less rowdy and less crowded bar anyway.

MG:

Tom said it well.  Kimmie works there, but he’s not a bouncer. When I communicated with Kimmie about the job, he made it crystal clear that he is definitely not a bouncer.  He downplayed the situation and refused to answer any further questions on his employment.  If I’m HCMA, I think I realize that Kimmie’s got a good enough head on his shoulders that he won’t get into any trouble.  So he wants to make a few bucks – big deal.  It is pretty funny though that in just two years, Mizzou basketball players have gone from the ones in the bar fights to the ones that may potentially break them up.

Where were the bouncers the night of Stefhon Hannah and co.'s infamous fight?

Where were the bouncers the night of Stefhon Hannah and company's infamous fight?

Bryan W. writes: Missouri replaced Illinois with Indiana on the schedule.  I think that is a pretty weak replacement.  Who would you have liked to replaced Indiana?

TW:

I’m ok with Indiana. It’s a BCS conference school and I like that it’s within reasonable driving distance for Tiger fans to make the trip when we play there.  Also, given the current trends, it pretty much should be a guaranteed W every year. Other schools that would have been ok with me; Iowa, Arkansas, Tennessee, Notre Dame (maybe) Vanderbilt, Northwestern, Wisconsin and Cincinnati. Really any school within reasonable travel distance I like. Take your pick on level of difficulty, but Missouri is never one to go after the big non-conference games. I think Arkansas or Wisconsin would have to be my two favorites after looking at those schools, but that’s just me.

MG:

I have to disagree with Tom here.  Missouri’s non-conference schedule even including Illinois is about as exciting as a WNBA dunk contest. Take away Illinois and replace them with Indiana, a team that is 27-56 since 2002 including an 11-45 record against the Big Ten, and it’s like removing Candace Parker from said dunk contest.  Mike Alden insists on a policy of scheduling a non-conference schedule comprised of one BCS conference school, one team from FCS, and two mid-major opponents.  Frankly, I think it’s time for a change. I’m not saying we should be scheduling Ohio State or USC, but let’s at least get some BCS conference opponents in here that Missouri can beat.  Seriously, how do you expect to excite your fan base with home games like Furman?  I’m fine with Indiana as a second or third non-conference opponent, but not the marquis match-up.  In 2007 when Mizzou played Illinois and Ole Miss in non-conference, that was a respectable schedule.  I want to see some opponents people have heard of.  Indiana is a guaranteed win and while that is nice, I think Missouri could have challenged themselves a bit more.  Teams I would have rather seen: Minnesota (ok so I’m a homer), Iowa, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Arizona, Louisville, Cincinnati, Northwestern, Oregon State, TCU (I realize they’re not BCS, but they’re good and they’re in a good recruiting territory), Ole Miss and Mississippi State.

Indiana as our big game? What a snoozer.

Indiana as our big game? What a snoozer.

Kenneth from KC writes: Is their any truth to the rumor that KU’s Dezmon Briscoe might be ruled ineligible this season?

TW:

I have no knowledge on the situation beyond the rumors I’ve heard just like you. I can offer you this link to a Topeka, Kansas newspaper that has some more info. I’d bet you see him on Saturdays this fall, there is no way a school like KU, who seems to always find ways to keep athletes eligible, does not have him on the field.

http://www.cjonline.com/sports/football/2009-07-26/kus_briscoe_day_to_day

ESPN offered this from Mangino at Big 12 Media Day regarding Briscoe:

http://myespn.go.com/blogs/big12/0-11-113/Mangino-expects-Briscoe-to-be-ready-when-KU-practice-starts.html

MG:

It’s KU, he’s a star.  He’s not going to miss a thing.

GoTigers writes: In your opinion why was Leo not drafted?

TW:

He wasn’t a first round talent, and once it gets to the second round it is more of a particular team really liking a particular guy.  Leo might have been second or third on those teams list, but with only two or three picks per team he was a casualty. His inconsistent play certainly didn’t help him at all. With strong summer play he will certainly latch on somewhere with the loads of talent he has. Is there anyone that wouldn’t like a 6’9 guy with range and a nice scoring touch. Hopefully he can improve his defense and post moves this summer.

MG:

It had to have been his inconsistency.  You look at some of the players drafted ahead of him – guys like Taylor Griffin and Chinemelu Elonu – they weren’t necessarily more talented, but they were more consistent performers.  In the second round you would think a team might go for a guy like Leo with such a large upside.  However, like Mike Anderson said following the draft, it’s better for Lyons to go undrafted and choose his own team with whom to tryout, than to be picked up in the late 50’s.  However, none of this really matters because in the time since this question was sent to us, Leo has signed with a professional team in Israel.

Israel couldn't have been Leo's first choice.  But hey, he's still getting paid.

Israel couldn't have been Leo's first choice. But hey, he's still getting paid.

Matt writes: What’s your prediction on the Mizzou Illinois game?  Will Mizzou be the favorite again?

TW:

Prediction? Do we want a score? It might be a little early for that not seeing or hearing a thing about two-a-days. I’ll predict we’ll see strong performances from Derrick Washington and Sean Weatherspoon. I predict strong defensive end play, and flashes of tremendous upside and ability, but the mistakes and growing pains of a young team.  Will Mizzou be favored? I’m going to say no.  In terms of talent I think Missouri pretty close and Mizzou probably has the edge, but the Tigers lost a starting QB some wide outs that some would say were pretty good, and a lot of talent on defense. Illinois returns a starting QB and a hell of a wide receiver in Arelious Benn. Illinois will be favored, however I’ll take Missouri 34-27.

MG:

Illinois should be favored.  As we’ve seen, Missouri is getting absolutely no love from media members outside of Columbia.  That combined with the question marks that we’re all aware of already, will have everyone talking about how this is finally Illinois’ year.  However, I see this game going the way of the most recent Mizzou-Illinois basketball game.  People were talking about how this was Missouri’s year to win the Busch Braggin’ Rights game yet it just didn’t happen.  There seems to be something about this rivalry in football where Missouri just has Illinois number.  I’m not ready to go on record with a full prediction (that will definitely come later), but if Mizzou wins, that would set the stage for a season that will surprise many.  If they were to get blown out, lookout, the young team could lose confidence quickly.

When talking Mizzou-Illinois football, is there a cooler picture to include than this one? I don't think so.  Unfortunately Tommy didn't come down with this pass. (Photo by Parker Eshelman, Columbia Daily Tribune).

When talking Mizzou-Illinois football, is there a cooler picture to include than this one? I don't think so. Unfortunately Tommy didn't come down with this pass. (Photo by Parker Eshelman, Columbia Daily Tribune).

Columns – Mizzou football already has landed two 4* recruits after getting none last year.  What do you think is the difference in recruiting so far?

TW:

Part of the difference is that this is a small class so guys want to join in sooner, rather than winding up on the outside looking in.  I think another big thing was proving 2007 was no fluke by adding 10 more wins and another North Championship in 2008. Kids want to win and the Tigers proved they can do a lot of that. Also, April’s draft further helped Mizzou considering they had six kids drafted – two first rounders – and more guys drafted than the other 5 teams in the north combined. Every recruit’s dream is to end up in the NFL and the Tigers are proving they can put players on pro rosters.

MG:

Tom is definitely our recruiting expert, but I feel obligated to throw my two cents in on this one.  The addition of former LSU recruiter Josh Henson, combined with the fact that Missouri has won 30 games in the past three seasons is why I believe there is an upswing in recruiting.  Just this past week I received an email from a reader in Georgia who says he knows two D1 prospects and he wants them to get them in touch with Mizzou.  He asked me how he could get these players he knows on Mizzou’s recruiting radar.  That’s just one example, but I think it shows how Missouri’s recent success has helped its exposure, and now it may start to pay dividends on the recruiting trail.  According to the emailer, one of “his guys” just gave a verbal commitment to Georgia Tech, so maybe he really does know what he’s talking about.

Big Jeff writes: Will Missouri’s fb recruiting continue at this pace or should we get back to expecting the rest of our recruits to be 3 and 2* guys?

TW:

To be honest it’s realistic to expect that the majority of Missouri’s classes will be 3 stars, hopefully higher rated three star guys though.  Gary Pinkel consistently talks about how stars mean nothing to him.  That’s more something fans worry about.  Look at Sean Weatherspoon – he was a two star recruit according to rivals.  Now he could become the greatest defensive player in school history. Coaches don’t base offers on stars so I think you’ll always see a few two star guys. If we can win 8 games this year it is certainly fair to think that you’ll see Mizzou getting more visits and more top 5’s and top 3’s for higher level guys and hopefully a couple commitments.

Are there any guys on the recruiting radar that you consider “must gets” in this class?  If so why?

TW:

I addressed this back in April with this article,   https://missouricolumns.wordpress.com/2009/04/22/replacing-playmakers-inside-mizzou-football-recruiting/

I’ll provide a follow up on recruiting before the season kicks off.

Scott S. writes: In your opinion how much of a difference are the new coordinators going to make in Mizzou’s play?  Should they expect to be better or worse because of this?

TW:

I think offensively less trick plays and more of a commitment to the running game, which is dictated by our skill positions but also by Dave Christensen’s mad scientist mentality and unwillingness to run the ball if the Tigers were ever down. I think eventually we are better because of it, but it is hard to say because the proven skill players are playing on Sundays now. Defense we can only go up right? The players all have great things to say about new coordinator Coach Stec, lot of young talent with great potential but we won’t know much until camp and then the real games start.  A lot of defensive players last year said that Steckel’s schemes and game plans were too complicated.  That led to many defensive lapses (think: Juice Williams lighting up the secondary).  Steckel’s defense should be less complex and hopefully lead to better results.

Due to the sheer volume of questions… oh wait, that’s powermizzou’s line.  Honestly though we would like to thank everyone who sent in questions.  Please feel free to email/twitter/comment/facebook questions for us.  We look forward to providing more mailbag articles in the future.

-MG (Although all questions were also answered by the great football mind Tom Weyerich)

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