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May 16, 2012

2012 Tiger Mailbag: 17th Edition



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Each Wednesday, PowerMizzou.com publisher Gabe DeArmond and recruiting editor Pete Scantlebury will answer questions from subscribers in our Tiger Mailbag. This feature will allow for longer, more in-depth answers than you may get on the message board on a daily basis. To have your question in next week's mailbag, send an email to Gabe at powermizzou@gmail.com. On to this week's inquiries:

JoeDec89 asks: Who do you think is the most underrated commit in the 2013 class so far and why? Also who do you think from the 2012 class besides DGB can have a impact as a freshman?

GD: I've never professed to being a talent scout. But the guy I hear the most about from people around Mizzou who isn't getting a ton of attention nationally is Jeff City linebacker Joe Burkett. I've heard some say they think Burkett is the best linebacker in the state of Missouri this year, even though he won't get the hype that Nick Ramirez and Eric Beisel will. As far as last year's guys, I think either Russell Hansbrough or Morgan Steward definitely plays as a freshman. I think Evan Boehm has a great shot to play. And partially because of the relative lack of depth at defensive tackle, I'm keeping my eye on Evan Winston, who certainly has the physical look of a D1 player.

mjkstl asks: In the next 10 seasons, do you see Mizzou playing any conference games in football and basketball at Arrowhead or the Sprint Center? Any football non conference games at Arrowhead? Basketball non conference i believe will be a given.

GD: Conference games? I wouldn't. You only get four of them at home. Playing at home is a huge advantage. Why give that up? Also, if I'm a season ticket holder who is now donating more and paying more for those seats, if I'm from St. Louis, I'm fairly irritated that I'd have to spend an extra four hours in the car and probably get a hotel room to see the Arkansas or South Carolina game. There's just no real upside.

For a non-con game, I think they'd like to do it, but you have to get an opponent that makes it worthwhile. You don't play there just to play there. A few years ago, they played Arkansas State there and had fewer than 40,000 fans. There's not much point to that. It needs to be a Nebraska or an Iowa or Colorado. Somebody that will get fans to show up. Not only does Missouri have to be willing to do that, but are those schools going to be interested in scheduling a quasi-road game against Missouri? I don't know. I would think they'd want a road game in return. Will Missouri do that and make an already brutal SEC schedule even tougher? Again, I don't know.

norealfriends asks: Obviously it's great to land in state kids but it seems our "best" players came from Texas. We all know the names. Is there a reason to be worried that we are shifting our focus away from what got us to the program we are now?

GD: Jeremy Maclin, Blaine Gabbert, Martin Rucker, Chase Coffman, Tony Temple, Tim Barnes, Kurtis Gregory, Luke Lambert, Andrew Wilson, T.J. Moe and plenty of others disagree with your premise. Yes, Missouri has landed a lot of good players from Texas. I don't think it's fair to say the best players came from Texas.

As for why Missouri is shifting it's focus, it's out of necessity. They're still recruiting Texas, just concentrating on the more populated areas. They're more visible in Florida, Georgia and Tennessee now than they are in Texas. That's just a fact. So you go find players from those states while still keeping a foot in Texas. The move to the SEC has allowed Missouri to recruit on a more national level. I'm not saying it is a national program at this point. They can't recruit like Ohio State, USC or Alabama. But they can broaden the horizons over what they could have five years ago.

TigerZou asks: If Mizzou reels in Stevie Clark within the next week or so (rumor is he's deciding soon), who do we spend our time on for the last scholly spot in 2013? Obviously another scholarship could open up due to a transfer, underclassman going pro, etc., but who will we spend the most resources on? Randle? Ojeleye? If we get Clark does that mean we're pretty much done with Brantley and Nunn and looking for a big/SF?

GD: It will be interesting to see what happens with Clark. But using your premise that Missouri gets him, a few other names to watch will be Jarquez Smith, Greg McClinton, Robert Hubbs, Kendal Harris and Austin Nichols. And, like you said, there may be more spots available. At this point, it's tough to project what will happen.

Mizzou1086 asks: Do you see the football coaches making any significant changes to their offensive or defensive schemes? The style of play is very different in the SEC, so does that translate into more power running sets, different defensive formations, etc?

GD: Nope. Not significant. I'm sure there will be tweaks as there are every year, but you dance with the one who brought you. Missouri got to where it is based on what it's done the last eight years. Why change it unless you find out it won't work? Schemes don't win games. Players win games. If Missouri gets enough talent, it will win in the SEC with whatever system it runs. If there were one specific system that worked better than the rest, everyone would already be running it.

mexicojoe asks: Assume all four are healthy, etc and they all have a very productive season within reason...based on past performance......with the increased exposure and status afforded by the SEC, who would have the most realistic chance of earning All American status next year: James Franklin, Zaviar Gooden, Laurence Bowers, or Phil Pressey?

GD: Pressey. He's the most nationally known guy right now. Franklin would have to lead Missouri to at least the SEC title game to have a realistic all-American shot. I don't think that's a reasonable expectation level for Gooden and with Bowers, we just can't guess how ready he is coming off a knee injury. Everybody already knows who Phil is. My guess is he will be a first-team pre-season all-American according to some people.

pentagon asks: Do you see four super conferences within the next few years? If so, do you think it is good for college football?

GD: That certainly seems to be where this is all headed. The SEC, the Big Ten and the PAC-10 are always going to be around. The Big East is no super conference. So it really comes down to which one is fourth. The Big 12 or the ACC? I don't really know the answer. I don't know if either of those will ever cease to exist, but I think one of them could certainly be relegated to second-tier status. I also think the adoption of a four-team playoff system is the first significant step in that direction. How easy would it be to simply take the champs of the four conference and play them in a three-game playoff for the national championship.

As far as whether it's good for college football, I guess that's subjective, but I'll say yes. Anything that generates interest is good. What could generate more interest than a regular season in which you have to win your conference to make the playoffs and then a subsequent playoff? The most common argument against a playoff is that it devalues the regular season. I don't agree at all. Do you not watch the NFL regular season? Of course you do. Plenty still watch the college hoops regular season as well. It's all about getting a spot in the playoff. And that wouldn't change. I mean, does anybody have huge interest in the regular season in college football because you're hoping your team positions itself for an Insight Bowl bid? Of course not. You watch because you want your team to be in position to win it all. In the system above, each conference has either two eight-team divisions of four four-team pods. The winners meet for the league title (hell, make those the bowl games if you want). The team that survives enters the four-team national championship playoff. Sounds entertaining to me and it's a system that could print money. What's not good about that?

MizzouDizzle asks: If you were in charge of rebuilding Faurot Field, what changes would you make to it? What would the new capacity be? Why?

GD: As I've said a number of times, I'm no stadium architect. I don't know what I'd change other than putting food in the press box along with easy chairs, free beer, faster Internet and a bunch of widescreen TVs (yeah, I'm selfish). On the new capacity, I wouldn't change it yet. Until Mizzou fans sell out every game (and yes, that includes Souteast Louisiana), why add more seats? The key is to keep demand ahead of supply. So far, I've seen no indication that Missouri fans are going to sell out a 71,000 seat stadium every Saturday, much less an 81,000 seat stadium.

Graphic Edge Guy asks: List your top 5 "Most Important recruiting GETS" for Mizzou FB/BB during your time at PowerMizzou. List your top 5 "Most Disappointing recruiting MISSES" during the same time period. Give us your BEST DAY as a Missouri Tiger Fan? What has been your WORST DAY?

GD: These are the kinds of questions I really enjoy.

Most important gets, I would go like this (and in this order):

Brad Smith
Blaine Gabbert
Jeremy Maclin
Chase Daniel
Tony Temple/Chase Patton

Smith is number one because, as I've said a million times, he's the guy that started it all. He put Missouri football on the map again, virtually by himself (I wasn't at PowerMizzou at the time, but I don't care, I'm using it). Gabbert came along at a time that Missouri HAD to get a quarterback. He was regarded as perhaps the best one in the country and he was in the state. If Gabbert is from Alabama or Florida or Texas, Missouri has no shot. Getting him was a huge statement for Gary Pinkel's program. Maclin is next based on the sheer impact he had on the field, plus the fact that he ended up at Mizzou instead of Oklahoma. If Maclin's a Sooner, 2007 doesn't happen. Daniel not only had the single best individual career in Missouri history (I will NOT debate this point) but he put the Tigers on a new level in Texas. Temple and Patton were guys that really started the in-state momentum in Missouri. They came to Mizzou at a time when kids who had the options they had didn't really come to Mizzou. That was very big back in 2004 and laid the groundwork for the renaissance Missouri has had over the last few years. (EDIT): I am not very smart and forgot to include Dorial Green-Beckham on this list. Obviously he should be there.

In hoops, I'll throw Phil Pressey in there, but I don't know where I'd put him on the list.

As far as most disappointing misses, I'd say it's the following five:

Tyler Hansbrough
Adrian Clayborn
Montee Ball
Bradley Beal
Durron Neal

Hansbrough is far and away number one. I honestly believe that if he comes to Missouri, Quin Snyder may still be the Tigers' coach (you can argue whether that's a good thing or not, but Hansbrough was one of the greatest college players of all time. Clayborn was a first-round pick and a big-time difference maker. Ball was the best running back in college football last year. Beal was one-and-done at Florida. With just one more body, last year's Missouri team is even better. And Beal's a stud. With Neal, we'll see how his college career goes. But I can tell you that no defensive coordinator would be drooling to defend the Tigers with him on the field lined up with DGB, T.J. Moe and Marcus Lucas at the same time.

The best day I've had following Mizzou was when GameDay came for the Oklahoma game. It had nothing to do with the outcome of the game itself. It would have been a phenomenal day with a shutout loss. I took my son to GameDay at 6 a.m. I remember getting coffee and walking back across the street, standing on the steps of the journalism school and just thinking "I never thought I'd see something like this. Not here."

My worst day is easy. I still can't stand Tyus Edney. I wish him nothing good.

tommyjay25 asks: Lots of Mizzou guys (of those who just graduated) will be in NFL camps in August, but only one (Michael Egnew) was a draft pick. I don't have the entire list in front of me, but out of the guys earning free agent contracts/tryouts (taking Egnew out of this question), which one do you think has the best chance to make the opening day roster for his team, and why?

GD: I like Jacquies Smith's chances. Aldon Smith's success last year (along with some others) has NFL teams willing to take a guy who is an elite pass rusher and let him develop the other skills. I'm not saying Jacquies is Aldon just yet, but I think he can be a dangerous situational guy as a 3-4 edge rusher. I also think Beau Brinkley has a heck of a shot. Longsnappers get no headlines, but every team needs one.

DaveSpiwack asks: If Pinkel were to resign today, does Alden hire a new permanent coach, or assign an interim coach from the current pool of assistants? If he goes interim route, which assistant do YOU think would do the best job and which one do you think Alden would actually choose?

GD: If my aunt had balls, she'd be my uncle. I mean, there is pretty much zero chance of this happening unless you know something I don't know. If you lose your head coach at this point in time, you have to go the interim route because there's nobody available worth hiring. But it's not something we'll have to worry about.

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