While Missouri football coach Barry Odom wore his heart on his sleeve after Saturday’s loss to Auburn, many felt an emotional tug to rally behind the beleaguered head coach.
We’ll see what happens when Missouri goes to play Kentucky in a little more than a week, but on Saturday, head coach Barry Odom took the spotlight from his struggling team, and placed it squarely on himself.
We have to wonder how the Tigers arrived at the point where they are, after success under former head coach Gary Pinkel. Suffice to say we’ll never know what happens behind closed doors, so we’re left to our own devices in piecing together a puzzle that has stumped many.
The general consensus to Mizzou’s problems are the 2015 campus protests, followed by Pinkel’s eventual resignation, due to health complications. Another theory that I’ve tossed around, is Missouri is a smaller program in comparison to some of its SEC brethren, placing it in an athletics funding disadvantage.
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That’s not to say that Missouri doesn’t have the funding to back the football program or the basketball program, but that’s just it. This could be a case, at least for now, of Mizzou deciding to be a basketball school or a football school.
Earlier this year, first-year Athletic Director Jim Sterk gave first-year basketball coach Cuonzo Martin a sizable contract. The basketball program also has a number of athletes with financial aid agreements counting against Missouri’s student-athlete scholarship roster.
All of the political and theoretical ideologies aside, I was left to wonder, if Odom had pulled a small victory from the jaws of defeat, when he turned the media’s attention from the poor performance of the team and the coaching staff’s bad play calling, to his heartfelt rant.
I’m not saying that Odom wasn’t genuine in his vow to get the team turned around, but his biggest adversary is himself, at this point. He has to convince the team to buy into what he’s selling. It’s also nice to please the fanbase, but he can change our tune through success on the field.
I think Odom believes what he shared in his post-game press conference, and that’s a good thing, because it will be easier for him to sell it to who matters most on the receiving end: The team.
For outsiders looking in, it bought him at least another week to get his team on the same page. Will that happen? Well, we certainly hope so. But for now, Odom may have pulled off an illusion to take the heat off his floundering team.