29 April 2011

NFL Draft- 1st day

Historical year continues for Mizzou
by MizzMatt 4/29/11
photo courtesy: We Are Mizzou
For the first time in the history of the University of Missouri athletic department, two former Tigers were taken in the top 10 of a professional draft.  Sophomore defensive end Aldon Smith from Raytown, MO was selected as the second-highest Tiger ever in the draft, as 7th overall to the San Francisco 49ers, where he joins fellow defensive lineman, former Tiger and the highest Mizzou alum to go in the draft- Justin Smith (to my knowledge, there is no relation).  Junior quarterback Blaine Gabbert, who many predicted would go as high as 1st to Carolina, found himself in a slide down the draft board, but still managed to get taken as 10th overall to the Jacksonville Jaguars, who traded with Washington for their pick.

"Playing in the NFL, it's a dream come true," said Gabbert, who leaves after helping lead Missouri to 40 wins over the last four seasons, including two Big 12 North Championships (2007-08) and a shared Big 12 North Championship (2010).

The first day of the draft is over, and for some, dreams have come true.  For others, such as the Arkansas Razorbacks' QB Ryan Mallett, the dream has been prolonged.  With eight of the first 32 picks in the draft coming out of the Big 12 Conference, I think it's safe to say that the Big 12 is no "cupcake" conference.

Here's the list of the first 32:
1 Carolina Cam Newton (QB) Auburn 
2 Denver Von Miller (OLB) Texas A&M 
3 Buffalo Marcell Dareus (DT) Alabama 
4 Cincinnati A.J. Green (WR) Georgia 
5 Arizona Patrick Peterson (CB) LSU 
6 Atlanta (T) Julio Jones (WR) Alabama 
7 San Francisco Aldon Smith (DE) Missouri 
8 Tennessee Jake Locker (QB) Washington 
9 Dallas Tyron Smith (OT) USC 
10 Jacksonville (T) Blaine Gabbert (QB) Missouri 
11 Houston J.J. Watt (DE) Wisconsin 
12 Minnesota Christian Ponder (QB) Florida St 
13 Detroit Nick Fairley (DT) Auburn 
14 St. Louis Robert Quinn (DE) UNC 
15 Miami Mike Pouncey (C) Florida
16 Washington (T Ryan Kerrigan (DE) Purdue 
17 New England Nate Solder (OT) Colorado 
18 San Diego Corey Liuget (DT) Illinois 
19 NY Giants Prince Amukamara (CB) Nebraska 
20 Tampa Bay Adrian Clayborn (DE) Iowa 
21 Cleveland (T) Phil Taylor (DT) Baylor 
22 Indianapolis Anthony Castonzo (OT) BC 
23 Philadelphia Danny Watkins (OG) Baylor 
24 New Orleans Cameron Jordan (DE) California 
25 Seattle James Carpenter (OG) Alabama 
26 Kansas City (T Jonathan Baldwin (WR) Pittsburgh
27 Baltimore Jimmy Smith (CB) Colorado
28 New Orleans (T) Mark Ingram (RB) Alabama 
29 Chicago Gabe Carimi (OT) Wisconsin
30 NY Jets Muhammad Wilkerson (DE) Temple
31 Pittsburgh Cameron Heyward (DE) Ohio St
32 Green Bay Derek Sherrod (OT) Miss St

21 April 2011

100 Years of Tradition

College football Homecoming turns 100 in 2011
by MizzMatt - 4/21/11 on Twitter @mizzou_matt_j
Columbia, MO- The tradition.  The pageantry.  The legacy.  The glories and triumphs.  The letdowns and heartaches.  It all had to start somewhere, and it all started here at Mizzou.  The late Chester Brewer (namesake for Brewer Fieldhouse) said two words to Mizzou alumni and faithful, and those two words have turned into one of the greatest traditions in all of college football.  "Come home."  Swap the order of those two words, and you have the tradition of Homecoming.

Many schools claim to have the oldest Homecoming tradition, but the game show Jeopardy!, the board game Trivial Pursuit and even the National Collegiate Athletics Association (the NCAA) have confirmed that Missouri's Homecoming tradition is the oldest.  Like the limestone block 'M' on the North Hill at Faurot Field, it has become a "Tradition set in stone."

First Homecoming game, vs Kansas, 1911 (3-3 tie)
It all started in 1911, before The Zou was even built.  Chancellor Brewer had called for the alumni to "come home" for the season finale against the Kansas Jayhawks.  This was the first time that anybody had centered a reunion around a parade, a spirit rally and a football game, and a host of other universities would follow suit.  The game was played on Rollins Field, which is currently the site of Stankowski Sports Complex, and the beakers and the Tigers battled it out to a 3-3 tie.  Other events have been added to the festivities of Homecoming week/weekend, such as the Guinness World Record's largest peacetime blood drive.

To add to Mizzou's impressive resume of records for Homecoming, Tiger fans packed onto the David R. Francis Quadrangle for ESPN's College GameDay show that has become as much a part of college football game days as Homecoming.
  The former record belonged to the University of Nebraska, of over 15,500; and Mizzou shattered that record with over 18,000 in attendance around the historic Columns.

Since that first Homecoming the Tigers have gone a very impressive 57-37-5 in their Homecoming events, including a 58-0 shutout of Colorado in 2008, and of course, the most memorable of them all- a 36-27 win over BCS #1 Oklahoma on October 23, 2010.

What makes the Oklahoma game so memorable?  Is it the fact that it's the first time Mizzou has defeated a #1 ranked school in any poll, the fact it was the first time that Gary Pinkel has beaten either OU or Texas, the fact that it was just the second time in 20 years that we've beat the Sooners, or is it the fact that we packed 71,004 into Faurot Field for Gahn McGaffie's opening-kick touchdown return?  Maybe it's the most memorable because of Aldon Smith's interception.  It might possibly be because of Jerrell Jackson's go-ahead TD in the 4th quarter, followed by James Franklin's 1-yd TD run to seal the deal.  No matter what your favorite memory of the game may be, it is one that will certainly stick in the minds of not only Mizzou fans, but fans of college football as a whole.  We're even able to relive it every now and then on ESPNU, as they show replays of big games from years prior from time to time.  The College GameDay experience on the Quad is one that I will never forget, and being in attendance at the biggest game of the year is another memory that won't soon be forgotten.

Over the years, there has been many memories made, many dreams come true, and even some dreams shattered at Homecoming, such as the 2009 game against Texas.  This year, on October 15, 2011, the Tigers are slated to face off against the Cyclones of Iowa State for the 100th birthday of NCAA Homecoming.  Get your tickets* now, and join in our history, our tradition, our passion.

*For ticket information, visit http://www.mutigers.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/11-footbl-ticket-info.html

17 April 2011

My 2011 Preview

An opinion post
by MizzMatt - 4/17/11 on Twitter @mizzou_matt_j
The question was asked what I thought of this year's team.  Well, here it goes.  After what I saw yesterday, the defense will be the focal point once again, similar to what it was last year.  EJ Gaines, Trey Hobson and most-improved safety Tavon Bolden were all over the field.  Braylon Webb and returning stars Kip Edwards and Kenji Jackson were also a force in the secondary, which has been my main area of concern, since we've lost Carl Gettis, Kevin Rutland and Jerrell Harrison.  Other guys that I thought were pretty good in the secondary were Daniel Easterly, Randy Ponder and Tyler Davis had a pretty big hit of his own.

The defensive line has returning starters in Jaquies Smith, Dominique Hamilton and Terrell Resonno, as well as Brad Madison and Michael Sam.  Newcomer Kony Ealy spent so much time in the backfield disrupting the QBs that he should've put in a change of address form.  Getting Hamilton back after his broken leg in the Oklahoma game last year will be the key to the veteran D-line, even though Madison and Sam both did outstanding jobs filling in for him and Aldon when they were out.

The linebacking corps is strong, with Andrew Wilson, Donovan Bonner, Will Ebner, Darvin Ruise and Zavier Gooden all returning.  Denzel Martin, Jared Parham, Tony Randolph and Daniel Carpenter looked good as well in the spring game, laying some clean hits just as the ball was getting to the receivers and providing good pressure on the quarterbacks.

On the offensive side, we didn't get to see much of the returners from last year.  TJ Moe caught one pass for 3 yards, that was knocked out for a fumble that Trey Hobson jumped on top of.  TJ also had a 15 yard rush on a Jet Sweep.  Tailback Marcus Murphy was the biggest receiving threat on the day, snaring 4 balls for 43 yards and a TD.  Eric Waters, Gahn McGaffie, Jaleel Clark, Brandon Gerau and Marcus Lucas all hauled in three catches, with Gerau adding a TD of his own.  Michael Egnew, L'Damian Washington, Andrew Jones, Kerwin Stricker, Kyle Peasel and Jared Culver all contributed 2 catches, while Wes Kemp, TJ Moe, Stephen Drain, Jerrell Jackson, Bud Sasser, Jimmie Hunt and Henry Josey all had one catch a piece.

The running back situation from last year remains, even though it's looking as though De'Vion Moore (last year's work horse with 417 yards on the season) will most likely be the go-to guy again.  His 5 rushes for 57 yards was good enough to be the leading rusher in the game.  Kendial Lawrence had 4 for 18 yards, while fellow returning tailback Marcus Murphy contributed 18 yards on 3 carries.  The rushing and receiving games looked to be typical David Yost (offensive coordinator), as we'd run for 20 yards, just to get a gain of 3.  There were no deep down field strikes into the secondary, only short, 5-10 yard passes.  I don't know if it was because our receivers lack the ability for a down field pass, or if we were playing conservatively because it's only the spring game.

The quarterback competition is heating up.  Tyler Gabbert won the award for "Most Improved Quarterback" at halftime, but he's struggled in the last couple weeks of spring.  He went 8 for 22 for 48 yards with an interception in the Black & Gold game, while James Franklin used his experience to go 13/21 for 116 and 2 TD.  Ashton Glaser came out of the gates and surprised a lot of people by completing his first four passes.  Many in the crowd around me were asking "Who's number sixteen?"  Ryan Howerton, the 'other quarterback' was also pretty impressive, going 4/6 for 24 yards, and both Howerton and Glaser gave us a taste of their scrambling abilities.

My overall take:  Our defense will be top-10 again this year, while our offense needs improvement.  The offensive weak link is the strength of the defense- the pass rush.  Ealy, Madison, Resonno, Hamilton, Gooden and K. Jackson were all repeatedly in the backfield giving QBs Gabbert, Franklin, Glaser and Howerton troubles.  The quarterback spot is still up for grabs, in my opinion, and I don't think there will be a clear starter until kickoff of the September 3rd game against Miami University (OH).
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*I am not officially affiliated with the University of Missouri, nor am I a "real" journalist.  I am a Mizzou fan that has a passion for writing journalistic-style and I started this blog for all other Mizzou fans to share in our glory, our tradition, our passion.  What I say here isn't necessarily the 'truth' (as illustrated by the Anderson/Painter/Haith coaching situation).  I pass on what I find from other sources, while giving my own personal insight into the matter.  My picture above is linked to take you to my personal Facebook page.  Feel free to add me as a friend, but please include a message stating that you found me here.

16 April 2011

To the 3rd Power

All good things come in threes
by MizzMatt 4/16/11 on Twitter @mizzou_matt_j
Columbia, MO- There's the old saying "Third time's a charm", right?  What about three points?  In all three Mizzou athletic events today, that's how many points were scored by the Tigers. 

QB Ashton Glaser
In the first half of the Black & Gold game, the reserves (who started with a 14-point advantage) edged the starters 21-10, but in the second half, which was offense slated against defense, the O took home a 3-0 shutout.  Current QB leader Tyler Gabbert struggled throughout, while James Franklin, Ashton Glaser and other quarterback Ryan Howerton came out with howitzers.

Ashton's first four passes were completions, as he finished 14/17 for 95 yards.  James Franklin went for 116 yards and two scores.
QB Ryan Howerton
Howerton went 4/6 for 24 yards, while Gabbert went 8/22 for 48 yards and an interception.  It certainly brings to the forefront that nothing is ever a lock, as just when it appeared Tyler Gabbert would be the starter, he's struggled, but that's not to say the other QBs didn't have their share of misfortune.  Franklin struggled to find his accuracy early on, as he shortchanged and threw it out of reach of his receivers on more than one occasion.  He missed an easy bubble screen to T.J. Moe, by thinking T.J. was a cool 6-feet-9-inches tall.  E.J. Gaines had the lone interception, while Trey Hobson recovered the lone fumble.
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Game two of the day was the softball game against big rival Oklahoma.  The Tigers currently hold the longest-active streak in the NCAA as far as home victories at 30.  After leading OU 2-1 in the top of the 6th, the Sooners tied it up, and it wasn't until a walk-off home run by the Tigers to give them the 3-2 victory, extending their home streak to 31.  Tomorrow's game is at 3pm, and will be broadcast nationally on ESPN's flagship network (DirecTV channel 206).
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Game three was the Border War- baseball style.  The Kansas Jayhawks were in town, and after demoralizing the Tigers last night 8-3, Mizzou was looking for some revenge.  After committing an error in the top of the 1st, the beakers took a 1-0 lead, and would add to it again in the top of the third.  That was the last time they would cross the plate and have it count.  The Tigers tied it up in the bottom of the fifth, and a RBI single by Blake Brown in the bottom of the ninth set up the 3-2 victory for the Tigers.  The final game of the series is tomorrow at 1p at Taylor Stadium.
Blake Brown's RBI single in the bottom of the ninth.

15 April 2011

Fans Choice and 40 Years of Starters

Chase Daniel tops fans list
by MizzMatt - 4/15/11 on Twitter @mizzou_matt_j
The fans have spoken.  I asked who you thought was the greatest Mizzou quarterback was since the year 2000, which is only a list of five, and you have chosen Chase Daniel.

Name: Chase Daniel
Pos: QB
Ht: 6'1"
Wt: 225lbs
Born: 7 Oct 1986
Hometown: Southlake, TX
High School:  Carroll High School

In his tenure at Mizzou, Chase threw for 12,515 yards.  A school record.  He threw for 101 touchdowns and 41 interceptions.  His senior season (2008) was his best, as he posted a career high QB rating of 159.44.  His four-year average rating was 148.95.  Over his career at Mizzou, he posted a 30-11 record, including back-to-back 10-win seasons...the first such accomplishment in school history.  He helped lead Mizzou to their first number-1 ranking since 1960, when they beat then 2nd-ranked Kansas in the most watched football event in either school's history, along with the second-highest crowd at Arrowhead Stadium.  In 2008, during a two-game stretch against SEMO and Nevada, Chase tossed for more touchdowns (7) than incomplete passes (6).  On December 6th, 2008, Daniel became Missouri's all-time offensive leader with 13,256, surpassing Brad Smith's 13,088.  He was a Heisman candidate two years running, in 2007 and 2008, and his 4th-place finish was the second highest by a Tiger since Paul Christman finished 3rd in 1939.

Chase went undrafted in 2009, and was signed as a free agent by the Washington Redskins.  He was later cut by the Redskins and was picked up by the New Orleans Saints for the practice squad.  Despite never playing a down in the 2009-2010 season, Chase was a member of the Super Bowl championship team when he was resigned on December 11th, 2009 after being cut December 9th, 2009, and later promoted to the active roster on January 1st, 2010.

In 2011, Chase announced he would be establishing and endowing a scholarship that would be awarded to a Missouri football recruit from his home state of Texas.
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Starting QBs since 1970
I've been a Mizzou fan for as long as I can remember, but there was one thing I did not know.  The list of quarterbacks of the last 40 years.  Over the last four decades, there have been a total of 22 different starting quarterbacks:
1970-71 Chuck Roper
1972-73 John Cherry
1974-75 Steve Pisarkiewicz
1976-77 Pete Woods
1978-80 Phil Bradley
1981 Mike Hyde
1982-85 Marlon Alder
1986 Ronnie Cameron
1987 John Stollenwerk
1988 Corey Welch
1989-90 Kent Kiefer
1991 Phil Johnson
1992-94 Jeff Handy
1995 Brandon Corso
1996 Kent Skornia
1997-98 Corby Jones
1999 Jim Dougherty
2000 Darius Outlaw
2001 Kirk Farmer
2002-05 Brad Smith
2006-08 Chase Daniel «fan choice
2009-10 Blaine Gabbert

12 April 2011

Haith to Worse

Frank Haith makes NCAA no-no
by MizzMatt - 4/12/11 on Twitter @mizzou_matt
Columbia, MO-  Otto Porter is going to Georgetown.  Or at least that's what Frank Haith says.  But therein is the problem- he can't say that, legally, according to the NCAA.  National Collegiate Athletics Association rules state:
"13.10.2 Comments Before Signing. Before the signing of a prospective student-athlete to a National Letter of Intent or an institution's written offer of admission and/or financial aid, a member institution may comment publicly only to the extent of confirming its recruitment of the prospective student-athlete. The institution may not comment generally about the prospective student-athlete's ability or the contribution that the prospective student-athlete might make to the institution's team; further, the institution is precluded from commenting in any manner as to the likelihood of the prospective student-athlete's signing with that institution. Violations of this bylaw do not affect a prospective student-athlete's eligibility and are considered institutional violations per Constitution 2.8.1. (Revised: 1/14/97)"

So what exactly did Haith say that violated this?  "Did speak (to Porter) by phone and the process was all but over," Haith told the Kansas City Star by text message. "(He) just needed to see Georgetown, which they visited this weekend."

Porter is a 4-star recruit from Sikeston, MO, who has listed Missouri, Georgetown and Kansas as places of interest for his talents.  While it is a widely-known rule that coaches are supposed to remain silent about recruiting, it is unsure if Haith purposely disclosed this information, or if it was supposed to remain off record.  Is it a serious violation?  No.  It is relatively minor, compared to what other schools have been hit with.  Regardless, it is out in the open now, and the MU basketball team; whom have been hit with a lot over the last month from losing Anderson, having Purdue coach Matt Painter slip through their fingers and hiring an apparent no-name coach from Miami, FL, (as well as finally recovering from the last bout of sanctions from the Snyder era); now find themselves back on the NCAA radar.

09 April 2011

Spring Update - 4/9/11

Defense wins 18-12
by MizzMatt 4/9/11
Columbia, MO- No sooner did I write that last blog when I get an update on spring ball.  After talking up Tyler Gabbert, he had an off day as he threw for just over 100 yards.  Stats from today's scrimmage:
Passing
J. Franklin- 19/30 for 222, TD, INT
T. Gabbert- 14/26 for 103, INT
A. Glaser- 15/24 for 175, 2 TD, 2 INT

Rushing
J. Franklin- 4 for 27, TD
K. Lawrence- 5 for 24
D. Moore- 7 for 19, TD
M. Murphy- 3 for 17
A. Glaser- 1 for 14
H. Josey- 6 for 12
J. Culver- 2 for 8
G. McGaffie- 1 for 4
K. Wright- 2 for (-1)


Receiving
E. Waters- 5 for 30, TD
J. Culver- 4 for 81
D. Moore- 4 for 60
L. Washington- 4 for 35
G. McGaffie- 4 for 29
J. Jackson- 3 for 54
T. Moe- 3 for 39
H. Josey- 3 for 38, TD
M. Lucas- 3 for 25
M. Egnew- 3 for 12
K. Stricker- 3 for 10
W. Leftwich- 2 for 24
A. Jones- 2 for 9
M. Murphy- 2 for 9
B. Sasser- 1 for 11, TD
J. Hunt- 1 for 9
W. Kemp- 1 for (-1)


Defensive
*Sacks
B. Madison- 2
J. Burge- 1
K. Ealy- 1
M. Foster- 1
Z. Gooden- 1 
*(FF = forced fumble, FR = fumble recovery)
K. Ealy- 1 FF
R. Ponder- 1 FF, 1 FR
B. Madison- 1 FF
M. Marlborough- 1 FR (40 yds), TD

Interceptions
T. Hobson- 1 for 42, TD
E. Gaines- 1 for 32, TD
R. Ponder- 1 for 14
K. Walker- 1 for 0


Kicking (Miss)
G. Ressel- 4/5, long of 50, (30)
T. Barrow- 2/4, long of 30, (39, 50)
B. Owens- 2/4, long of 30, (39, 50)


Punting
T. Barrow- 4 for 199
C. Brinser- 4 for 158

T-minus Franklin

QB spot in hot contention
by MizzMatt - 4/9/11 on Twitter @mizzou_matt
James Franklin
Columbia, MO- Sporting Blaine's old #11, James Franklin took the field as the heir-apparent to the starting QB throne.  Everybody thought it was a lock.  Nobody thought that he could be ousted from his perch.  Nobody could touch him after playing second fiddle to Blaine last year, right?  Wrong.

Tyler Gabber
Sources close to the football program say that Blaine Gabbert's younger brother, Tyler, has surpassed the coaches expectations and has slid in front of James Franklin for the starting spot on the Tigers roster.  "T-Gab" has been putting up solid numbers all spring, with Franklin relying on his legs to generate some offense with his arm.  Gabbert, who sat out last year in redshirt status, is looking like a veteran quarterback, while Franklin, who was used primarily out of the Tiger Formation, struggled in the team's first practice.  On his first play from scrimmage, James tossed up what would turn out to be a -40 yard touchdown as OLB Zavier Gooden snatched the ball out of the air and was off to the races. 

So, what does it mean that Tyler looks to be the new #1?


It might be that offensive coordinator David Yost is afraid to revamp the spread-style offense that Missouri ran so well last season.  It might be because Franklin thought he was a shoe-in, and started getting lackadaisical in his training.  Or, just maybe, it might be because Tyler has that much talent.  Remember back to 2005, when Chase Daniel bumped Chase Patton out of his number-2 spot behind Brad Smith.  The rest, as they say, is history.

In his first scrimmage, T-Gab went an impressive 20/27 on passing with 206 yards, including a 64-yard touchdown to L'Damian Washington and no interceptions.  Tyler has been bitten by the turnover bug in spring, as he has given up a freebie to defensive lineman Brad Madison.

Despite losing Blaine, Coach Yost has seen a similarity in Tyler to the potential #1 pick in the NFL draft, just in a smaller package.  Tyler, who checks in at just 6' tall, five inches shorter than his older brother, offers a similar dynamic to six-foot-one Chase Daniel- short, yet mobile.  "He's very similar to Blaine in release and arm strength," said Yost, "and he's probably a quicker side-to-side athlete as Blaine is.  Blaine is faster straight ahead."  Yost went on to say, "You normally emulate somebody when you throw the ball.  I'm not sure who Blaine did, but I know who Tyler did, and it's paid off well for him."

Ashton Glaser
We cannot forget that there are technically three guys vying for the QB job this year, but it appears the race is down to just James and Tyler.  Ashton Glaser, the third one in the mix, has had a solid spring as well, but lacks the "WOW!" factor that Franklin and Gabbert bring to the table.  Incoming freshman quarterback Corbin Berkstresser (Lees Summit) will likely sit out his first year in redshirt status.


The final spring scrimmage will provide some insight as to who the better candidate is, but as everybody in and out of the media have learned over the past three weeks, do not believe anything until you see it with your own eyes.  After all, this is the "Show-Me" state.







The final spring scrimmage, the Black & Gold game is set for Saturday, April 16th at 1p.

08 April 2011

Contract Extension

Gary Pinkel guaranteed thru 2017
by MizzMatt - 4/8/11 on Twitter @mizzou_matt
Columbia, MO- Gary Pinkel has become the Charlie Sheen of Mizzou.  The Board of Curators approved today a two-year contract extension for the football coach to carry him through the 2017 season.  Included in the deal was a raise for his assistant coaching salary pool, from $2.101 million to $2.262 million.  Pinkel himself makes $2.35 million a year. 

Pinkel's 10 seasons at Mizzou have brought a 77-49 overall record, a winning percentage of 61.1%, including seven trips to post season (3-4).  The Tigers 40 wins over the last four years is the 10th-highest mark nationally over that period of time.  Mizzou has finished with at least 10 wins, also with at least a share of the Big 12 North title in three of the last four seasons.  In 2007 and 2008, the Tigers recorded their first back-to-back 10-win seasons in program history, and the 2010 campaign was just the fourth 10-win season for the program.  In his 20 years as a head coach, Pinkel has gone 150-86-3 (63.4%) overall.

Off the field, Pinkel has graduated 63 of 67 student athletes, an impressive 94% rate.  Over the past couple of weeks, MU athletic director Mike Alden has made it a point to drive home that we want to graduate our students, first, so it is no surprise that the mutigers.com article regarding Pinkel's extension has an entire paragraph dedicated to the success rate of his off-field leadership.

"I'm very grateful for the support," said Pinkel.  "Our fans have also been a very important part of the process, and we'll continue to work hard to make them proud and excited to follow their Tigers."

04 April 2011

Frank Haith - 17th Coach

Board of Curators approves Haith deal
by MizzMatt - 4/4/11 @mizzou_matt on Twitter
Columbia, MO- For nearly two hours, the University of Missouri Board of Curators met via teleconference to discuss multiple topics.  The media was allowed for most of it, but when it came time to discuss "personnel matters", the media was dismissed, leaving all of Mizzou Nation in limbo.  Finally, at about 9:30p, the news broke.  Former University of Miami head coach Frank Haith is now the 17th men's basketball coach in Missouri history.  I was against the decision from the moment I learned about it late Sunday night, but now that he is a Tiger, he has my undying support.

Haith's deal that was approved by the BoC is a five-year, $1.5 mil/yr with $100k deferred money, with an automatic one-year extension effective May 1st, 2012.  Painter was offered a cool $2.2 mil/yr, Anderson $2 mil/yr.  Many reports out there that Minnesota's Tubby Smith and VCU's Shaka Smart rejected MUAD Mike Alden's offers, saying that Alden was "lowballing" potential hires.

Over the past seven seasons with Miami, Haith has gone 124-96, including 43-69 in ACC play.  He brings to Mizzou just one NCAA tourney appearance, and four NIT tournament berths, most recently in 2011 when they made it to the quarterfinals before losing to NIT runner-up Alabama, coached by a speculated Mizzou target Anthony Grant.  It's not the record or the rumored lowballing that the fans were upset about, it's the way that we brought in someone nobody's heard of.  This hire seemingly comes from nowhere.  It really should come as no surprise that we hired Haith, as in the post-Anderson press conference, Alden said that the number one priority is "graduation".  He made it a point to say that under Anderson, 12 of 15 graduated. In the official release from mutigers.com, the first stat that Alden points out is Haith's graduating 21 of 22:
"We're very pleased to have such a well-rounded and respected man lead our basketball program into the future," said MU Director of Athletics Mike Alden. "Frank has demonstrated throughout his career that he fits the criteria we were looking for. He's graduated 21-of-22 of his players while at Miami. He is recognized as one of the top recruiters in the nation and his Midwest ties fit very well with what we're needing right now. His entire reputation is based on building young men of character, and his work ethic is above reproach. Frank has the character and integrity we are looking for, and he's someone who is very excited to be a Missouri Tiger. And of course, we feel that all of these qualities combined, when given the opportunity at a program with a proud tradition and resources such as ours at Mizzou, that he's going to win at a very high level," he said. -From mutigers.com.  Nothing in there about Haith's record, or lack thereof, or his post-season experience.

Even with Haith's dominance in recruiting (he's notorious for landing 4- and 5-star recruits) rumors are surrounding the team, however, on whether or not they decide to stay.  Laurence Bowers and Kim English have dropped their name into the draft, and there are rumors being dispelled (at the moment) by the Pressey brothers that they are going to Arkansas with "Uncle Mike".  Jon Sunvold on English and Bowers: "This will sound bad, but it's good for them to get a feel, because it's about as close as they'll get to an NBA camp.  I expect they'll stay at Mizzou."  How will the future of Mizzou basketball play out?  The ball is now in Frank Haith's court...

Frank Haith in(?), Possible outs

Bowers and English declare for NBA draft
by MizzMatt - 4/4/11 @mizzou_matt on Twitter
Bowers, Denmon, AD Alden, English at a press conference.
Columbia, MO- Mizzou basketball takes yet another blow.  With the possible hiring of Miami's Frank Haith (possible meaning that the Board of Curators still has to discuss and approve of it), players are contemplating their futures at the University of Missouri.  So far on the list, or off, is Kim English and Laurence Bowers.  Both English and Bowers are entering their names in the draft, but are not hiring an agent, which makes coming back for another season possible.  According to reports, English made his mind up about this before the Haith development in the coaching search, but the news didn't break until after.  

Bowers goes skylab as English looks on.
Other Tigers are thinking about their futures as well.  Marcus Denmon tweeted "decisions decisions" at 1:50p today.  Up in the air after the Anderson Scandal is freshman Phil "Flip" Pressey, and now with English and Bowers, and possibly Denmon and Ratliffe entering the draft, it seems as all hands are abandoning ship at the news of Frank Haith.

Marcus Denmon
Many fans are asking 'Why us?  What have we done wrong to deserve such lackluster coaches?'  Other fans are saying that this could turn out to be a miracle in disguise.  Haith has excellent recruiting abilities and has many ties in Texas, but still has gone a dismal 40-63 in conference play with the Hurricanes.  He's had one NCAA tournament berth in 7 years alongside 4 NIT berths.  Is he really a good fit for MU?  Well, a lot of fans thought the same when Anderson was hired on in 2006 from UAB, and he turned the program around.  Look where we're at now- square numero uno.  My prediction?  Fair weather fans will be out in full force.  When the chips are down, we'll struggle to get 5,000 into Mizzou Arena, but when (and if) Haith starts winning, we'll sell out again.

Laurence Bowers
As stated above, it's the possible hiring of Haith that has fans worried.  The MU Board of Curators is meeting tonight at approximately 7:45p in University Hall on the Mizzou campus to discuss the deal that was offered from athletic director Mike Alden.  According to reports, Alden talked with Minnesota coach Tubby Smith, VCU's Shaka Smart and a short list of others, being rejected by all, until coming across Haith.  David Wasinger, a member of the BoC, has his doubts regarding the impending hire, and is addressing fan concerns tonight at the meeting.  The BoC is welcoming all fan input on the deal, and you can email them at boardofcurators@umsystem.edu.

So, with the probable hiring on the block for tonight's BoC minutes, I'd like to add that in wake of what happened with Anderson and Painter, I will remain skeptical and critical of the coach until the official word has been given by the University.  When and if it becomes official, I shall support him just as I would any other coach at Mizzou.

Frank Haith

Miami's outgoing coach hired as MU's incoming
by MizzMatt - 4/4/11 @mizzou_matt on Twitter
Columbia, MO- This is as far as I got.  C'mon...it's freakin Frank Haith!  124-96 at Miami, 40-63 in ACC play.  129-101 overall.  ONE national tournament appearance.  And this is the guy we're trusting with our basketball team.  Normally, I find a picture and format the blog to make it more appealing...but on a story like this, I don't really care.

01 April 2011

Spring Update - Practice 2

Offense gets first win of spring
by MizzMatt - 4/1/11 on Twitter @mizzou_matt
Columbia, MO- Tiger spring ball is in full effect, and the first win for the offense came on March 24th with a 10-7 victory over the defense.  Former Tigers Blaine Gabbert and Kevin Rutland were in attendance when Grant Ressel kicked the game-winning 45-yard field goal.  The quarterback spot is still in hot contention, as Blaine's younger brother, Tyler "T-Gab" Gabbert, James Franklin and Ashton Glaser are all competing for the starting job.  The 24th's practice went like this for the three contenders:
A. Glaser:
  • 17-28
  • 167 yds
  • 2 INT
J. Franklin
  • 13-20
  • 89 yes
  • 3 carries for 18 yds
T. Gabbert
  • 16-21
  • 211 yds
Brad Madison and newcomer at linebacker Denzel Martin both had the interceptions, and Madison returned his 43 yards for a score.

It was a win-lose situation for Ressel, who normally wears the same color jersey as the defense, as he kicked the game-winning field goal for the offense, but had to partake in the losing side's "up-down" drill.  I guess you could call that a "game-losing" field goal.

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