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Odom hopes to keep things simple heading into third year at Missouri

Odom hopes to keep things simple heading into third year at Missouri

July 19th, 2018 by Colin O'Brien in Mizzou Sports

Missouri coach Barry Odom speaks Wednesday during Southeastern Conference Media Days in Atlanta.

Photo by Associated Press /Fulton Sun.

In his third year as head coach of the Missouri Tigers football program, Barry Odom wants to rely less on gimmicks.

He joked in his opening statement at the Southeastern Conference football media days Wednesday in Atlanta he couldn't wear the custom pair of Jordans shoes he had made because Florida's Dan Mullen had already done so earlier in the week.

If things go according to plan, Odom won't have to give an impassioned speech to the media after a drubbing at the hands of a team from Alabama, won't need to burn game plans, scouting reports or harsh words in printed media in a ritualistic cleansing ceremony, though he'd take the five-game win streak that followed.

"The emotional side of that evening after that game, our players see that side of me often, and I've — I'm usually fairly reserved in a setting with media and don't show that side of me, but that's more of my personality," Odom said of his post-game outburst after Missouri lost 51-14 at home to Auburn. "I thought at that point in the season, at the time that they needed — they needed to see that. I needed to stand up for them a little bit publicly, because I knew we were getting close. I knew we were going to continue to get better.

"If we could just hold tight together and continue to show the family that we knew what we had in our locker room and knew we had on our football field and in the classroom, the things we were doing collectively together, then we were going to have a chance. But if we fractured at any moment and we didn't show togetherness, then obviously we would have fell apart from there."

No one really knows what to expect of the offensive change until the season gets underway.

Drew Lock and Missouri's receiving corps put up ridiculous numbers a season ago, headlined by Lock's SEC single-season touchdown record set against Arkansas. Now that Josh Heupel has moved on to Central Florida and the more talkative but less flashy Derek Dooley has been installed as offensive coordinator, the Tigers will likely see fewer 80-yard touchdown plays this season, but also fewer 3-and-outs that take :30 off the game clock.

Lock has spent the offseason getting comfortable taking snaps from under center after taking almost exclusively shotgun snaps in his first three seasons at quarterback.

Missouri will still use tempo — Lock's arm and the speed of Damarea Crockett and Larry Roundtree III out of the backfield and Emanuel Hall's speed off the line present a challenge to most defenses — but as Odom put it, Dooley was hired to "(give) us a chance in either third downs or red zone or second and short."

The Tigers were fourth in the SEC last season on third down, with a 45.1 percent conversion rate, and fifth in red zone conversion rate, scoring on just more than 90 percent of red zone possessions, and 27 of the team's 39 red zone scores (69 percent) were touchdowns.

Odom told reporters Wednesday that Kaleb Prewett is officially no longer with the team and cited an undisclosed violation of team rules. Prewett, a Kansas State transfer who would have been a redshirt senior this season, started every game for the Tigers during the 2017 season at safety alongside Anthony Sherrils.

Lock told local reporters in attendance his hope for the season is Missouri is recognized for playing well rather than its opponents for poor play — but with his Heisman candidacy push in full swing, spearheaded on social media by the football team accounts, Lock may instead find himself the focus of both wins and losses this season.

On defense, not much has changed for the program. Ryan Walters, who was promoted from secondaries coach to defensive coordinator after the conclusion of bowl season, will take over play-calling from Odom. Odom assumed defensive play-calling duties midway through the 2016 season and kept them after DeMontie Cross was let go two games into this past season.