On Monday, Missouri football coach Barry Odom and Josh Heupel shared the usual cliched phrases. While the words sounded good, we can only hope this is Missouri’s turning point.
As the Tigers got back to work on Monday, Odom and offensive coordinator Josh Heupel took the stage for their weekly address to the media.
Following Dimetrios Mason’s departure from the program, Missouri released its updated depth chart, which indicated that Emmanuel Hall will fill Mason’s role, and Nate Brown will play back-up to Hall.
Heupel stated he’s comfortable with Hall’s ability to take over Mason’s spot. It will also allow Brown to grow more into a starting position by playing a complementary role, for now.
"I don’t think there will be a big adjustment for Emanuel. He’s played a good amount of football for us. He’s ready to go play at a high level. The last couple weeks we were planning on him getting a bigger role in what we were doing; a couple injuries in the early part of the ballgame limited him going forward."
Coach Odom also spoke favorably about Hall and Brown, indicating that the pair of receivers have done everything that’s been asked of them, and the coaching staff had planned to get both more involved as the season progressed. Now, is probably as good a time as any.
With Missouri hitting the road for its first away game of the season, the coaching staff is excited to see how the team handles the change in atmosphere and different challenges that await the visiting Tigers.
A mere few years ago, under head coach Gary Pinkel, Missouri was a team that, for no apparent reason, played better on the road than it did at home. My guess is that either the coaching staff is hoping the same for this squad, or they really know something that we don’t, which would be a surprise.
The bottom line is a change of scenery, whether good or bad, will be a good experience for the Tigers. Sometimes teams do hit a stride or gain a little momentum when they’re not playing in front of the home crowd, because there’s a little less pressure.
The Tigers have shown their ability to dominate lesser opponents when the pressure to perform isn’t as great. In so doing, the Tigers are more relaxed and play with more purpose than when they’ve faced their slate of conference foes.
Gabe DeArmond of PowerMizzou.com offered some of the day’s best quotes from Odom, who believes that the best competitors don’t care where they play. Odom truly believes in his team’s ability to turn their season around and win some games, but until we see positive results, this is nothing more than hearsay.
If Odom can keep himself in a bubble, similar to the way Pinkel used to do, then he will be better able to block outside criticisms and keep his team focused on what it needs to do to improve its current standing.
Kentucky will be a good road test for Missouri. The Wildcats aren’t the juggernaut that Auburn proved to be, but will present the Tigers with a solid test. If the Tigers can stay focused, then they will finish a close game.