Following Missouri’s third consecutive loss of the season, head coach Barry Odom delivered a strong message in his post-game presser.
For any team, winning can be a distraction, albeit a welcomed distraction. When a team hits its stride and rolls off multiple wins, the question of sustaining the winning culture is more of a second thought, than figuring out ways to win.
Sadly, Missouri doesn’t find itself in as fortunate a situation, but instead, the distractions seem to have grown to a point where we’re all kind of wondering, what is this “culture” that head coach Barry Odom speaks of?
Not surprisingly, Odom seems to have retained some support from his players. Having played collegiate athletics, and played on a team that came up short more times than it didn’t, I understand the brotherhood feeling of, “I’ve got my coach’s back and teammates’ backs.”
Missouri Tigers Football
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to address how this team went from division championship and bowl game contender hopefuls, to last place in the conference, with no hope of redeeming a failed season (so far).
On the field, the Tigers are an absolute mess. As a fan, I get upset at the team’s weekly presentation, and the coaches seeming inability to rally the team or make positive in-game adjustments.
If Missouri’s lack of success is a matter of heart, or a lack of trying, then those are solvable problems. If it’s a lack of talent, then while not solvable, good teams are able to adjust to compensate for their weaknesses.
If the Tigers’ weaknesses are so great, that they can’t compensate, then obviously anything they try to do or think they can do, is little more than a lost cause. It’s at that point where a team that has good leadership will at least play with heart and give its best effort.
From what I can see, and as many of you have seen, this team has the talent on offense to make plays. We’ve seen it – it’s there. I think the Tigers’ biggest weakness is a lack of discipline and preparation in all phases of the game.
On defense, the front four are only as good as the secondary allows them to be. Missouri’s secondary is so porous and ineffective at preventing the pass, that opposing offenses know they can get the deep ball, or draw the front in enough to make easy chip shots.
If coaches aren’t prepared, then the team can’t be prepared. If the coaches are prepared, then they aren’t holding players accountable for their actions and performance on the field. A lot of the Tigers’ penalties have been really, really basic and dumb.
There is no excuse for any player not being prepared enough, that they don’t know that hurdling off of an opposing player to try and block a punt will draw a penalty. I appreciate the heart and drive from that effort, but it was poorly placed.
Away from the field, and during the week in practice, maybe players are held accountable, but we wouldn’t know that, based on what we see once a week.
When Odom let it all out – and I do mean, all out – in his post-game presser, I had to pause for a moment, because among good coaches, this isn’t a characteristic seen through the lens of a camera, but Odom left it for all to see.
I don’t know how to approach his comments from a fan’s perspective. It’s something we don’t usually see in the public eye. As a former athlete, I’ve been in those halftime breaks where there’s raw emotion.
There’s an appropriate time and place for raw emotion, but I can also appreciate and sympathize with where Odom is coming from, and this may have been his boiling point. Not to relate an “Odom-ism,” but that could be good for the Tigers, or it may mean nothing.
Heading into the bye week, Missouri has two weeks to figure out a way to at least play for pride. If Mizzou plays for team pride and takes each game one play at a time, then maybe they can at least salvage some respect. Losing hurts. It hurts mentally, and inside it hurts, as well. As a fan and an athlete, I’ve been there. Right now, the Tigers are a team without an identity, but they have heart. They say they are good and want to play well, but their mental errors are killing any chance.