The start of this season has been nothing short of rocky and depressing, for the Missouri football team. So, what is Barry Odom planning?
Since Odom’s verbal tirade after Missouri’s third consecutive loss, I’ve been wondering what his vision is, when he stated, “This is a turnaround; it’s going to happen, but we’ve also got multiple players, over 25, that aren’t in the program anymore.”
That was a curious statement, which has piqued my curiosity over the last few days, because he does realize that this isn’t the NFL. Players come and go on a very fluid and regular basis.
If a team has an athlete or few who stay for three or four years, then that’s good for stability within the program, but these kids aren’t contracted players on five-to-seven year deals.
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“This is a turnaround.” Is this a turnaround year, as in, “We’re actually rebuilding and everything I said before was in error,” or is this the point in the season where he plans to turn this program around?
At the end of the 2016 season, Odom made grand suggestions of a national championship and consistently making bowl game appearances. At SEC Media Days, he also stated that he learned he needed to take a step back and allow his coaching staff to do their jobs, but we’ve seen him take on an increased workload this fall.
I have refrained from making the comparison, but it begs to be made. This team and Odom are like a puppy that is so excitable, that it pees all over and turns tail and runs away. It’s effectively been a car stuck in the mud, and no matter how many times the gears change, it doesn’t move. The lone tire just spins.
I don’t see the right kind of fight coming from this team or the right inspiration coming from the coaching staff. These athletes are young men, but they’re still kids in many ways, who need guidance and leadership – two aspects which are lacking, based on consistently sorry performance, alone.
If this season is actually a rebuild, then it is what it is. There’s nothing that can be done to really make things better. However, if this is a rally point where the team will return, and we’ll see a shake-up in the starting lineup and depth chart, then maybe this team will challenge more opponents and take a few more wins to show us more promise for next year.
If Missouri “goes young,” I would venture a guess that athletes such as running back Damarea Crockett, Marcell Frazier, and maybe Drew Lock wouldn’t be as much a part of the shake-up.
Ideally, I would like to see Larry Rountree get more carries, because he has been like a human bowling ball. He makes his own running lanes, and would really wear on defenses paired with Crockett.
I’d also like to see Missouri try more short, dump-off passes to their big-bodied tight ends, and get receiver Johnathon Johnson more involved in the slot.
Based on his performance, I have a difficult time saying that Lock is the quarterback, but if offensive coordinator Josh Heupel calls plays that suit the Tigers’ strengths on offense, then maybe that would help Lock by not forcing passes into heavy coverage.
If Heupel plans to continue the same style of play calling that hasn’t done anything positive for Missouri, then maybe it wouldn’t hurt to see what quarterback Jack Lowary has to offer. Maybe more conservative play calling could be a safety net for a team lacking inspiration.