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Mizzou Morning Matters

092223_Mizzou Morning Matters

Number 10 had a hunch about Number 12.

When Chase Daniel visited Mizzou preseason football camp in August, the most decorated quarterback in program history examined the Tigers on the practice field and in the meeting rooms while carefully sharpening his focus on the Tigers’ QBs, especially Brady Cook.

During his August visit, Daniel sat in on two of coach Eli Drinkwitz‘s team meetings and quietly observed three of offensive coordinator Kirby Moore‘s quarterback meetings. Daniel watched and listened and came away convinced something special was about to unfold. The ingredients were right there in front of him.

Chase Daniel was 24-of-31 for 262 yards against Kansas State.

“With Brady, it’s the confidence and conviction,” Daniel told me this week from his home in Southern California while he packed his luggage for another visit to Columbia. “That’s something that I’ve always thought about. As quarterbacks, first of all, you’ve got to be confident in your abilities — and obviously if you’re the starter. And in my opinion Brady was the unquestioned starter going into the season. I know Coach Drink gave him a battle to sort of get his behind going. But I just came away so impressed with him mentally in the meeting room with Kirby Moore and with everyone else. That was really cool for me to see.”

When No. 21 Mizzou hosts No. 23 LSU on Saturday, Daniel will spend his 37th birthday at Faurot Field, joined by his wife, Hillary, and their three children. It will be the first visit to a Mizzou football game for Preston, 6, Parker, 3, and Ashton, 2. Dad’s not playing but he’s got a busy weekend: Daniel is co-headlining former Tigers coach Gary Pinkel‘s charity dinner on Friday, then joining former teammates to celebrate with Jeremy Maclin, who during the first half Saturday will have his on-field salute from the National Football Foundation for his upcoming induction into the NFF Hall of Fame.

Daniel will also keep a watchful eye on Mizzou’s record-breaking QB. Daniel hasn’t formally retired from pro football, but in his first season away from an NFL sideline since he entered the league in 2009, he’s kept busy hosting multiple NFL podcasts and positioned himself to become the sport’s next star network analyst. (Chase dabbled in the TV world last year as a backup for the Chargers, providing Monday Night Football postgame analysis for NFL Network.)

But for the first time since leaving Mizzou, he’s found more time to closely follow college games, too, especially his Tigers.

“I’m like the casual fan on Saturdays,” he said. “But I’m gonna watch it from a little different angle.”

Daniel had an exclusive angle two months ago when Coach Drinkwitz invited him to visit a couple days of preseason camp. Naturally, he took special interest in Moore’s work with the QBs. It was Daniel’s first chance to visit Mizzou’s South End Zone football facility that opened in 2019, not to mention the brand new Stephens Indoor Facility.

“It was cool just to be a fly on the wall and see how Kirby installs plays,” Daniel said. “It’s always interesting to me how a coach, especially the play-caller, installs plays. I really loved his style. It wasn’t like it was over-coaching, but he made sure to hit all the points. And you could tell that the guys had been studying. He would call on Brady and Brady would tell him everything he wanted to hear and more. You could just tell he was locked in from the mental aspect. I don’t know Brady super well, but for me to be in there with him, you could get a feel in his head mentally, emotionally, psychologically — all these things in the makeup of a quarterback. So when I saw that I was like, man, if he puts it together physically, the dude’s gonna have a good year. That was like three meetings — and I’ve heard he’s like this at all times.

“It’s been cool to see because you can tell he really cares. He really wants to be a Mizzou Tiger and really cares about Missouri. The performances he puts out on Saturdays is a direct reflection of that.”

Cook running vs. K-State - 2023

Coach Drinkwitz asked Daniel to share his story with the entire roster in a team meeting, during which Daniel asked Cook and defensive lineman Darius Robinson to tell the room what it means to play for Mizzou.

“It’s basically everything I’ve wanted to do since I was little kid,” Brady told the room. “I watched him (Daniel). I watched Blaine (Gabbert). I watched Drew (Lock). This is what I always wanted to be.”

“That just ages me and Blaine,” Daniel said this week. “Brady was probably 10 years old when we were rolling — or maybe even younger than that. It’s been cool to see that he’s always been a fan of Mizzou and now he’s the freakin’ quarterback of an SEC team and he’s rolling. I mean, he’s rolling.”

Now, what Daniel didn’t know was that five games into the 2023 season Cook would become one of the nation’s most prolific and efficient passers. Heading into Saturday’s game, Cook ranks among the nation’s elite quarterbacks in the game’s most important statistics thanks to the three-game heater he rides into Saturday’s 11 a.m. kickoff on ESPN.

Cook ranks No. 7 nationally in QB efficiency rating at 187.7. How good is that passer rating? Since 2010, only nine FBS quarterbacks have finished with a better rating over a full season — and eight are current NFL starters.

Oh, and Cook also owns an SEC record with 348 consecutive pass attempts without an interception. At the risk of talking about a no-hitter midway through the game, think about all the QBs to play in this league before Cook embarked on the streak last fall.  Peyton. Eli. Tebow. Cam. Johnny. Dak. Burrow. Bryce. Since his last INT last Oct. 22 against Vanderbilt, Cook’s passing numbers are in the Daniel stratosphere. During the streak, over a span of Mizzou’s last 11.5 games, Cook has completed 68.3% of his passes for 2,895 yards and 19 touchdowns. That’s good for a passer rating of 156.4. In 2008, Daniel set Mizzou’s single-season record for QB rating at 159.4. Only Lock has since produced a better one-year QB rating in school history: 165.7 in 2017.

And it’s not like Cook has benefited from a light schedule. Consider the QBs he’s faced during the record-breaking Pick-Zip streak: Spencer Rattler, Will Levis, Hendon Hooker, KJ Jefferson, Sam Hartman.

“You can obviously tell Brady’s gotten a lot more comfortable throwing the ball down the field,” Daniel said. “And he’s been a lot more accurate throwing the ball down the field. I think that’s something that everyone, including Drinkwitz, would say was his biggest issue the last couple years — just the accuracy down the field. He took it to heart and was able to go work on it and get some good reps … and make it really the strength of his game.

“Because he throws a heck of a deep ball right now, man. It’s impressive to watch.”

And what does Number 10 think about Number 3? Chase has Luther Burden thoughts, too,

“He’s just so smooth. It doesn’t look like he’s trying hard, but he’s really running super fast. It’s effortless for him,” he said. “And that aspect reminds me of J-Mac. Now I don’t know if he’s gonna get to that level — to the best receiver in school history, in my opinion. But it just has shades of the effortless-like speed that (Maclin) had.”

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More Football!

This week’s Mini Movie from the Week 5 victory at Vanderbilt:

Watch Coach Drinkwitz’s weekly press conference:

Listen to Tuesday’s episode of “Tiger Talk” featuring Coach Drinkwitz, receivers coach Jacob Peeler and wideout Theo Wease Jr.

Commence Madness

Rest up, Mizzou fans. We’ve got an 11 a.m. kickoff on Saturday but a late night planned for Friday with Mizzou Madness returning to The Columns for a 9 p.m. start. Here are five reasons to attend Mizzou Madness on Friday night:

1. Bigger, better event: Last year’s first-ever outdoors Mizzou Madness was wildly popular with fans. But as they say, it just means more. The indefatigable Associate AD for marketing and fan experience Tony Daniel and his staff have spent the last year planning and investing in an even better show on Friday. Showtime starts at 9 p.m. No big spoilers, but make sure you arrive early to secure a good view. What to expect? A new and improved sound system … lasers! … Sternberg! …  Preston Ary Band will play live. (Maybe they’ll even break out the unofficial Mizzou rock anthem???) … a newly added halftime show and more.

2. Newcomers galore: Friday is your first chance to view Robin Pingeton‘s remade women’s roster that features All-SEC candidate Hayley Frank plus eight newcomers, including three Division I transfers, two international freshman student-athletes and the 2023 Missouri Gatorade Player of the Year, 6-2 freshman guard Grace Slaughter.

3. Newcomers galore, Part 2: Men’s coach Dennis Gates has 11 new faces to introduce, including five Division I transfers. Gates’ roster features 18 players overall, including 13 who have appeared in a collective 997 Division I games.

4. Let it fly:  Who’s going to take part in the 3-point shooting contest? Here’s a vote for Connor Vanover, who at 7-5 will be the tallest player in program history this season — he’s wearing No. 75 under the NCAA’s new relaxed uniform guidelines — but he’s also one of the best shooting big men in the country, a natural fit for Gates’ style of offense. His 46 made 3s last season were second-most in the country for 7-footers.  

5. It’s finally Fall: The forecast calls for a drop in temperature this weekend, so throw on your favorite Mizzou hoodie, start training for Homecoming Weekend and come party on The Quad.

In the Community

Last Saturday, 24 student-athletes volunteered at the Columbia Walk to End Alzheimer’s Event on Faurot Field where they helped serve food, cheer on participants and assist with children’s games. The event raised more than $138,000 in supporting the fight to end Alzheimer’s. All proceeds raised through the event further the care, support and research efforts of the Alzheimer’s Association. Below is a photo of members of the Mizzou soccer team participating in the event.

Soccer Team participates in Columbia Walk to End Alzheimer's

Tiger Trivia

Find answers at the end of today’s newsletter:

1. Mizzou’s first football matchup against LSU in the 1978 Liberty Bowl featured two players who were later chosen back-to-back in the same NFL draft. Who were they?

2. Vanover will be the ninth Mizzou men’s basketball player in team history listed at 7-foot or taller. He’s made 98 career 3-pointers at the Division I level. How many 3s did Mizzou’s previous 7-footers make combined?

3. The last time LSU visited Faurot Field, Coach Drinkwitz collected his first Mizzou victory as head coach. Going back to Dan Devine, which opponents did Mizzou’s prior eight head coaches defeat for their first MU victory? 

Matter’s Weekly Power Rankings

Each week we’ll highlight the Best of Mizzou with a different theme. This week: The best three-game stretches for a Mizzou offensive playmaker in the SEC era (2012-current). Quarterbacks were ineligible for this list. We’re talking about running backs, receivers and tight ends:

1. Luther Burden III, 2023: Over the last three games, the nation’s leading receiver has grabbed 28 passes for 431 yards and four touchdowns. That’s 56 more yards than Burden totaled all last season — and the most receiving yards for a Mizzou player over a three-game span since the Tigers joined the SEC in 2012. Danario Alexander put together the previous best three-game stretch during his All-American season in 2009.

092323_Mizzou To The Lou

2. Tyler Badie, 2021: Badie powered his way to the Mizzou regular-season rushing record with 1,604 yards as a senior but was especially unstoppable his final three games with 574 rushing yards and three TDs against South Carolina, Florida and Arkansas.

3. Larry Rountree III, 2020: Rountree was a force in the backfield against South Carolina, Vanderbilt and Arkansas during Coach Drinkwitz’s COVID-interrupted jigsaw puzzle of a debut season. In those three games, Rountree piled up 403 yards and visited the end zone seven times.

4. Henry Josey, 2013: Other Mizzou backs ran for more yards than Josey’s 311 combined against Texas A&M, Auburn and Oklahoma State, but those three games included one of the most important runs in Mizzou history: His game-winning, SEC East-clinching fourth-quarter gallop against the Aggies. Oh, and Josey also averaged 9.1 yards per carry in those three games with four TDs.

5. Marcus Murphy, 2014: The triple-threat back racked up 530 all-purpose yards against South Carolina, Georgia and Florida and scored three touchdowns against the Gators, two on special teams returns.

Just missed the cut: receiver J’Mon Moore 2017, 2016; running back Ish Witter 2017; running back Damarea Crockett 2016; receiver Bud Sasser 2014; receiver L’Damian Washington 2013.

Mizzou Musings

A strong start to Melanie Walker‘s season got better this week: The sophomore from Virginia became Mizzou’s first-ever SEC Golfer of the Week, announced by the conference on Wednesday. Walker finished runner-up at last week’s Johnie Imes Invitational at 5-under for the three-round tournament, just two strokes off the lead in her first career top-five finish. … Through five games, Burden has more receiving yards (644) than Mizzou’s season leader for eight teams this century: 2021, 2020, 2019, 2015, 2012, 2006, 2005 and 2003. … Mizzou Volleyball earned a victory Sunday at Texas A&M and climbed to No. 29 in the latest RPI rankings. In coach Dawn Sullivan‘s first season at Mizzou, the Tigers have already eclipsed MU’s win totals from each of the last two years: 2022 (nine) and 2021 (five). Before Sunday, the program’s last SEC road win came on Oct. 27, 2021 — a span of 704 days! (We’re biased here, but too soon to think about SEC coach of the year?) The Tigers host Kentucky at 6:30 p.m. Friday on Alumni Weekend for the program as it celebrates the 2013 SEC championship team. … Get to your football seats early on Saturday and keep an eye on the sky. … It might be a long shot, but how about a Mizzou Made Max Scherzer-Kyle Gibson showdown in the ALDS when the Rangers and Orioles start their series Saturday? Scherzer has been battling an injury and Gibson is no certainty to start for Baltimore, but both could factor into their team’s pitching plans. Gibson, the O’s season leader for wins (15) and innings pitched (192), finished the year strong with a 2.45 ERA in his last five starts.

Looking Ahead

Saturday, Oct. 7

Tennis vs ITA All-American Championships (Cary, North Carolina)

Women’s Golf at Evie Odom Invitational (Virginia Beach, Virginia.)

Football vs. LSU, 11 a.m., ESPN

Men’s Swimming & Diving at SMU Classic, 11 a.m. (Dallas, Texas)

Women’s Swimming & Diving at SMU Classic, 6:30 p.m. (Dallas, Texas)

Sunday, Oct. 8

Tennis vs ITA All-American Championships (Cary, North Carolina)

Women’s Golf at Evie Odom Invitational (Virginia Beach, Virginia.)

Soccer vs. South Carolina, 3 p.m., SEC Network+

Volleyball at Arkansas, 3 p.m., SEC Network+ (Fayetteville, Arkansas)

Monday, Oct. 9

Men’s Golf at The Williams Cup (Wilmington, North Carolina)

Tuesday, Oct. 10

Men’s Golf at The Williams Cup (Wilmington, North Carolina)

Wednesday, Oct. 11

Volleyball at Alabama, 7 p.m., SEC Network (Tuscaloosa, Alabama)

Thursday, Oct. 12

Tennis at ITA Regionals (College town in the state to our west)

Friday, Oct. 13

Tennis at ITA Regionals (College town in the state to our west)

Soccer at Vanderbilt, 7 p.m. (Nashville, Tennessee)

Links to Click

Reserve seats for upcoming football games against South Carolina and Tennessee are sold out, but for available group and single-game tickets for remaining home games call 1-800-CAT-PAWS or buy online. Fans interested in learning more about available seats can fill out an interest form

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Tiger Trivia

1. LSU running back Charles Alexander, the No. 12 overall pick in 1979 to Cincinnati, was followed in the draft by Mizzou tight end Kellen Winslow, taken at No. 13 by San Diego.

2. Zero. Booker Brown and Tom Dore played at Mizzou before the NCAA adopted the 3-point line. Five others — Gary Leonard, Sammie and Simeon HaleyAxel Okongo and Jordan Wilmore  — never attempted a 3-pointer at MU. Current 7-2 senior Mabor Majak has not made a 3 at Mizzou.

3. Eastern Michigan (Barry Odom, 2016), Southwest Texas (Gary Pinkel, 2001), Houston (Larry Smith, 1994), TCU (Bob Stull, 1989), Iowa State (Woody Widenhofer, 1985), Notre Dame (Warren Powers, 1978), SMU (Al Onofrio, 1971), Dan Devine (Idaho, 1958).

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This article is provided by University of Missouri Athletics