On Wednesday’s SEC Media Day, Missouri Tigers fans’ burning questions about the defense and recruiting were answered by head coach Barry Odom.
Fans’ reaction to SEC Media Days are mixed with joy and disdain. Some don’t enjoy the nature of which the teams are presented, and that some receive more attention than others. Other fans see this time as the beginning of football season, and their parched palates are quenched by live interviews with coaches and players.
Missouri head football coach Barry Odom answered questions on recruiting and defensive expectations that fans and media alike have pondered.
After pitching the “Tiger 10,” which is Mizzou’s short list of the top-10 players in the State of Missouri, Odom was unsuccessful in wooing them to Columbia (so far; there are still a few remaining).
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Odom offered his thoughts on thoughts on the future of recruiting. “We have to do a great job in evaluation. If the recruit is a guy who wants to be here, and he fits our need and culture, then we’ll go wherever to recruit them.”
During the offseason, Missouri succeeded in flipping and landing some decent three star, out-of-state talent. Rest assured, if Missouri remains competitive and wins games in the SEC, we can expect a growth of talented recruits.
Odom was later asked about his plan to improve success at landing in-state talent. “We have to recruit within the State of Missouri with great energy.”
While Mizzou hasn’t landed any of its “Tiger 10” targets (so far), it hasn’t been for a lack of trying. Most likely, the football program’s lack of success over the last two years has made any attempt at making the program look attractive difficult.
At the start of his time at the podium, Odom stated, “I’m excited for where Missouri is, and we are excited for the future.”
Odom also responded that his long-term goal is to see the team win, and to lead Missouri to a national championship win. If Missouri is able to carry out that feat under Odom, it would guarantee him an open-ended contract.
On the status of the defense, Odom offered, “The defense didn’t play very fast (last year). we We have to keep building the defense and put guys in place to make plays. We’re gonna be alright.”
Odom stated that he expects to see guys like Terry Beckner, Marcell Frazier, AJ Logan, Rashad Brandon, Markell Utsey, and Nate Howard to step-up, while putting them into a position to make plays, and get after the quarterback.
Odom also offered his thoughts on third year quarterback Drew Lock. “He’s grown in passing and reading defenses. He’s done more from (an) Xs and Os (perspective), than anything. He’s a special player. I thought he made real progress through the spring practice, than between years one and two.”
Last year, Lock’s first full season as the starting quarterback for Mizzou, he finished among the top passers in the conference. With another year under his belt and with 10 players returning on offense, Lock should be able to rival his production from 2016.
The number of players returning who can offer senior leadership and a higher level of maturity for younger athletes to learn from, is also more good news for Missouri .
Odom also had praise and a challenge for second year running back Damarea Crockett: “Damerea has to be ready to carry the load for us this year. He’s a mature kid, and he has confidence in his ability.”
With the first game less than two months away, excitement is mounting for Missouri’s first game against Missouri State on September 2. In the meantime, the Tigers have plenty of time to recruit and prepare for kickoff.