Missouri Tigers’ defense faces a better opponent in South Carolina


Whether the Missouri Tigers reinvent their defense or have an intervention after the defense’s bad play, their game against South Carolina is less than three days away.

At some point, we’ve all received performance evaluations by an employer for our overall body of work. It’s a necessary evil which holds us accountable to offer the best quality of work possible.

There was no quality in last week’s performance on defense. Now, the Tigers have less than three days to assemble some competence at defensive play or play calling.

We learned that Odom was responsible for the defensive play calling on Saturday, but that’s old news, now. During a recent press interview, Odom stated that tackling was a big issue for the defense.

Missouri Tigers Football
Missouri Tigers Football /

Missouri Tigers Football

We also learned that he, not Cross, was responsible for calling the defensive plays. There were also times, during some plays, when players looked lost. In the second half, the defense played marginally better, after Odom simplified some of the play calls.

If the matter was truly, just too complex of defensive play calling, then correcting the problem should be a non-issue. After all, the defense played marginally better in the second half.

However, if the problem is more that guys aren’t grasping the defensive concepts or aren’t able to compete physically, then the Tigers are in real trouble.

As an aside, while a change in staff may not be practical or even possible at this point, I have wondered, if Odom came into this game feeling that his play calling presented the defense with better opportunities to make plays than Cross’s, then why is Cross still on staff?

I can’t say whether Cross is able to do his job or not, but if Odom is stepping into calling plays for the defense, it should be cause to wonder.

Against South Carolina, the Tigers meet a team that showed some similarities on offense. While their defense also has some question marks, it will also prove stronger than that of Missouri State.

On offense, the Gamecocks field Deebo Samuel, one of the top receivers in college football. They also have a promising young quarterback in Jake Bentley.

South Carolina’s players are much bigger, more physical and more athletic than the Bears’ players. They will test Missouri’s defense, especially the secondary, which is the Tigers’ biggest weakness.

What’s more, South Carolina also has more depth on offense than Missouri State, which means they are able to keep fresh legs on the field at a lower cost.

Next: 5 predictions for Missouri football

With as much talent as Missouri fields on offense, if the defense can show even a little improvement on Saturday, then the game should be the Tigers’ to lose. Offensive coordinator Josh Heupel seems to have the offense humming. Odom – or Cross – has limited time to breathe new life into the Tigers’ defense.