Chat Tuesday with MU beat writer Graham Watson
November 20, 2007
This chat has already taken place. Read the transcript below.
Well, it's officially going to be one of the biggest meetings ever between Kansas and Missouri - in <i>anything</i> - this Saturday in Kansas City. Here's your chance to see what the thinking currently is on the other side of the border from Graham Watson, who covers Missouri for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She'll be joining us at <strong>2:30 p.m. Tuesday</strong> to answer your Border War queries.
Hello everyone and welcome to today's chat with Graham Watson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. We've got Graham here for just a few minutes today as it's a busy week in the life of an MU beat writer, with the Border War coming up Saturday and the finale of the CBE Classic tonight in the Sprint Center. We'll get right to some questions....
Do you think that the loser of THE GAME this weekend will still be able to play in a BCS game? Or will their lack of "name" cause either to lose out?
I think that both teams have a chance to play in BCS bowl even if they lose this game. Kansas probably has a better chance than Missouri does because they'll only have one loss and they are No. 2 in the country. Missouri, being No. 4, could fall out of the top 10.
What might MU do to stop KU's offense? Mizzou is been paying some good defense latly but they are not consistent. What would be MU defense s first assignment?
The first assignment is going to be containing Todd Reesing and making sure he doesn't break out of the line of scrimmage. But MU's defense has consistently played well against tougher opponents. The Nebraska's and Oklahomas they have played have better numbers than Kansas State or Iowa State simply because of name recognition, and that's what will happen this weekend. Missouri is taking KU very seriously.
How do you think the seating will be at arrowhead stadium are they going to put ku on one side and missouri on the other? and do you think there will be bad fights at the end of this game giving the history of the hated rivals and how important this game is?
I think it's undeniable bad blood between these two teams and fanbases. Throw alcohol into that mix, and I would be shocked if there aren't fights before the game and after. Not that I'm endorsing fighting.
Is MU having any success filling the hole in the secondary left by the injury to Pig Brown?
Yes. Fellow starting safety Williams Moore has been playing well in Pig's absence. He has six picks this season, which is second-most in the country. Also, junior college transfer Justin Garrett has done a good job filling Pig's starting role.
Graham, I know the loss of Pig Brown was tough for the MU defense, but even so, would you say the unit as a whole has improved since his injury? Also, what do you see as the unit's biggest strengths and weaknesses when facing the multi-dimensional Jayhawk offense?
I don't think that the defense has improved, I think it's stayed steady. Pig Brown is still a motivating force on the sideline, and I think that helps. Missouri has played multidimensional offenses this year, including Oklahoma, and their best defense in those situations has been getting pressure on the quarterback and forcing mistakes. Once a team (as mistake-free as Kansas) starts mistakes, it can be a landslide, and play in Mizzou's favor. Mizzou has forced turnovers in almost every game this season, and the goal this week will be to put enough pressure on Todd Reesing to give them chances to create mistakes
Hi Graham: We know you have seen every game the Tigers have played.
If you were on the coaching staff for Kansas what formula or gameplan would you try to use to help beat Mizzou?
I've said all season that there's probably not a secondary in the country that matches up with Mizzou's receivers. There's just too many weapons. At the same time, several teams have found succes by dropping more players in coverage and using the three-man front. However, since teams have used that, Chase Daniel is getting more comfortable with it, and he's been able to exploit some of those gameplans.
Usually, you drop linebackers on tight ends, and most linebackers are not athletic enough to keep up with Martin Rucker and Chase Coffman. That's the biggest mismatch that most teams have found. They pay attention to the wide receivers, and the tight ends hurt them, and vice versa.
The battle that seems to be coming up in popular discussion is MU's offense verse KU's defense. Now, I know that MU has a some special players on offense but one thing that the "experts" haven't pointed out is how good KU's offense is. We've been averaging 46 points a game. How do you think MU's defense will hold up to one of the most balanced offenses in the nation?
As I said earlier, Missouri's defense has played better against better competition. Missouri has a lot of respect for what KU has done, and I don't think that would have been the case had these two teams played earlier in the season. The fact that Kansas scored over 70 points on Nebraska opened some eyes, and I think that made the Missouri defense get more serious about their gameplan and preparation. Missouri players started studying film when they got back from Kansas State Saturday night.
If kansas wins this weekend and so does Lsu do you think that kansas should jump Lsu and be number 1?
No. Voters don't work like that. Kansas will get a couple first place votes, but voters are usually pretty consistent. If teams win, they usually move up and stay where they are. If one and two win, they usually stay one and two. Also, voters take into account this late in the season the type of schedules both teams have played, and Missouri will be the best opponent KU has played to date.
What has been the reaction over there to the Quantrill's raid shirts that MU students will be boasting at the game on Saturday?
In the true spirit of rivalry, those who agree have been boisterous about it. Those who disagree won't say anything. While I don't necessarily agree that's a smart way to go about this rivalry, it just shows the true spirit of it, and that it takes on a stronger meaning than probably a lot of other rivalries around the country.
If you have to choose one (and you do) what is the single biggest factor that takes this game in favor of one team or the other?
I think Mizzou's mismatch on offense could be the difference in this game. Simply because no team, regardless of record, has been able to find a formula to cover all of Missouri's weapons. Every skill player on offense has the potential to break the game open, and it's too hard for most teams to be able to cover all their bases.
All right, well Graham's gotta bolt. Thanks to everyone who submitted questions for this chat, and thanks to Graham Watson for cutting some time out of her day to participate here on KUSports.com. Everyone enjoy the game Saturday, play nice out at Arrowhead (a much-needed reminder) and we'll see you again next week for another chat. Later.
(Note: This chat was moderated by Ryan Greene, Online Sports Editor)