For about 2 decades, The University of Missouri has made a well-respected name for themselves in college football and in large part, you can thank former Head Coach Gary Pinkel because of that. Gary Pinkel took over as the head coach at Mizzou in 2001. In his first few years he had some rough seasons but yet there were still glimpses of greatness from Pinkel and his teams. Eventually, all things worked out for Pinkel and he now holds the record for the most career wins at the University of Missouri. Unfortunately, Pinkel had to retire due to health complications following the 2015 season. The next man up to try and carry on his legacy was none other than defensive coordinator Barry Odom.
It’s been four years since Odom has taken over as head coach, and yet many fans are wondering if it’s time to move on. But what exact reasons do fans have to bring the question into place? Well, simply put, there may be more than you think. Many Tiger fans had high hopes for Odom. There is absolutely no doubt that his teams seem to improve every season, which might almost be enough of a good reason to stay with Odom. But looking into it, the negatives might just outweigh the positives.
First, you have to look at Odom’s overall record at Mizzou so far. Through his three and a half seasons leading the program, Odom has an overall record of 24-22. While that seems fairly reasonable and decent for a fourth-year head coach due to his above .500 winning percentage, there is more that goes into that. You also have to look at how many of those wins came against winning teams.
The unfortunate answer to that question? It turns out that Odom boasts a lackluster 4-19 record against teams who had a winning record that season. In retrospective, that means 16 of Odom’s wins came against losing programs. That, in all honesty, isn’t a pretty statistic. Also, you have to recognize Mizzou’s record against teams that were currently in the top 25 at the time. The record? 1-8 against the top 25 teams throughout his four seasons at Mizzou. The lone win came against 11th ranked Florida last season in Gainesville in a 38-17 mauling. But other than that, Odom doesn’t have much to show for his resume against ranked opponents. Odom’s statistics may look okay, but when it comes to winning the big games that can give a team momentum, Odom hasn’t been too great at that.
Heading into his fourth season, Odom had the ultimate opportunity to fully gain the trust of the fans. In his first six games, Odom did just that achieving a 5-1 record and surmounting Mizzou as a top 25 team heading into Nashville where the Tigers played Vanderbilt. Despite being ranked #22 in the nation, Mizzou didn’t play as if they were ranked, and lost 21-14 in one of the worst performances of the year.
Following Vanderbilt, Odom had an opportunity to bounce back against Kentucky in Lexington. Many fans had a lot of optimism coming into this game because Odom has always been good at getting his guys to bounce back after a poor performance. Missouri came into the game as a 10 point favorite and was giving many fans hope of a huge performance following the meltdown that occurred the past Saturday. Unfortunately, the Tigers didn’t play like 10 point favorites, instead, they played like 10 point underdogs. The game was a rough one to watch as fans watched Kentucky’s third-string quarterback and former wide receiver, Lynn Bowden Jr, run all over Missouri’s defense. The sad part is, you could make the argument that it was Mizzou’s offense that was the worst unit on the field that night.
Kelly Bryant had his second straight game where he looked scared to get rid of the ball and hesitant with every play that concurred. Bryant went 10/19 with 130 yards and 1 touchdown. While those are somewhat solid numbers considering he left the game fairly early due to a hamstring injury, it just wasn’t good enough.
Another unit that looked concerning was the offensive line. For the past 2 weeks, the offensive line has looked undisciplined, as well as just simply outmuscled. Because of this, Missouri has not been able to generate a run game and is making the offense become very one dimensional.
The most concerning thing about the team didn’t come on the field but off the field after the game in Lexington. In a post-game interview, center Trystan Colon-Castillo stated that there may be issues off the field that are causing the sudden drop-off in production. “To be honest it’s off the field stuff. I’m just gonna keep it straight up. Everything on the field is clicking but some of us aren’t taking care of our business off of the field,” Castillo said.
Now there is a lot you can take from that, but you have to wonder if Odom is losing the locker room. Nonetheless, Missouri has four games left and none of them will be easy. They will have to play two top 10 teams in a three-week span making things extremely challenging for the team. If Odom wants his job secure, chances are, he’ll have to win three out of the last four games.