Good afternoon, folks. Apologies for the day switch, but there's a lot going on these days and we have to adjust the schedule here sometimes. I'll take your Mizzou questions for the next two hours.
I haven't heard any credible names yet that are serious contenders for the DC job.
Good question. As of today we haven't been given that answer. Odom will meet with reporters today for the first time since Heupel took the UCF job.
Martin didn't think Missouri came out with a mentality to dominate that game the other night. He didn't think many players were very aggressive on defense or when it came to rebounding or posting up. He was really disappointed with some reckless passing when feeding the post. He's established a high standard and trying to instill a new culture. That was a healthy response to have after that game. We'll see how Missouri comes out Saturday.
If he comes back, yes, he's a preseason favorite for many awards. If he comes back, my guess is Missouri will be picked second or third in the SEC East behind Georgia and perhaps South Carolina. There should still be legitimate concerns about why the team came out so flat to begin the season, though the offense was consistently good after the Georgia game. Those problems were solved. The defense took a bit of a backward step at Arkansas but otherwise got a lot of issues straightened out in the second half of the year.
I don't see Dave as being a realistic option. For no other reason other than I can't imagine Odom will climb into the Pinkel family tree to hire anyone. Plus, Dave isn't a quarterbacks coach. He's an O-line coach. And until we hear differently, Odom has a damn good O-line coach in Glen Elarbee.
I think it's easy to get caught up in the moment of big breaking news and correlate one decision to another, but I agree, Lock's decision is going to be based on his draft grade and his earning potential as a draft pick, not solely on Heupel's status. Who's to say he won't like the new OC more? He might not want to learn an entirely new system or set of terminology for his senior year, but he's going to have learn new content regardless in the NFL. It might even be to Lock's advantage to be exposed to another system and another play-caller before he dives into the NFL.
I don't think you look to hire someone with the expectation they stay forever. You want someone who wants to advance their career. The only way they get that HC opportunity is to excel as a coordinator, so if he's a good fit for what you want, you gladly make your school his platform to help him advance his career. The Heupel hire turned out to be very good for Odom and Mizzou football. If he had to do it all over again knowing he'd leave in two years, Odom would do it again. You can make a case that without Heupel's offense, Odom is looking for his next job right now. If you can hire the next Josh Heupel, a coordinator who can keep the offense rolling and maybe parlay it into a HC job, you don't worry about losing him in a couple years.
I would expect Missouri to keep coordinator salaries in its current ballpark. Odom is the lowest paid coach in the SEC and has the lowest buyout among all public university Power 5 coaches, but MU's overall staff pay has been very competitive on a national scale. According to USA Today's latest database, MU's staff pay ranks No. 21. That's way up from where it was in the early Pinkel years. Pinkel and Alden pushed hard to raise overall staff pay during their time working together, and that's should pay off for Odom now when he's out trying to hire coaches.
I think my 8-year-olds could make that pass, but it's all about timing and making sure the receiver gets open behind the safety.
Pure football Xs and Os, it would be a great hire for obvious reasons. But these decisions are never made in a football-only vacuum. Real life isn't fantasy football. If you hire Hugh Freeze - and I have no credible information saying this will happen at Mizzou - you have to absolutely own it and Freeze must be transparent about his fall from grace. National media will descend on Columbia and cover that story like crazy. (Odom would rather have a week of root canals than subject his program to that kind of attention/sideshow.) Here's another risk you run when you hire a coordinator who's a significantly more well known (and successful) than your head coach: If Mizzou's offense takes off next fall but the defense struggles and the Tigers lose some early games, you can bet the same Twitter mob that wanted Odom fired in September will want Freeze to replace Odom as HC.
I haven't gotten any indication one way or another on that. It just hasn't really come up as a topic that's been discussed yet.
As I reported multiple times last week, the Liberty Bowl was off the table as an SEC option once the SEC didn't have enough teams eligible. When three SEC teams made New Year's Day playoff rotation bowls (Georgia, Alabama, Auburn), that left only six SEC teams for the next seven bowls - and there's protocol within the selection process that eliminates the Liberty from the pool. That's why Iowa State is playing Memphis in the Liberty Bowl, not an SEC team. The Texas Bowl matchup against Texas is about the best possible outcome in terms of opponent quality and location.
We'll see what Odom has to say tonight. I don't have a great sense of the timeline. Sometimes the right answer is you hire a guy when your guy can say yes.
I don't think there was a rift by any means. His father told me last night this was only about playing time, nothing personal about the school, program or coaches. Martin's staff didn't envision Roberts as part of the backcourt this season. Martin favors bigger, physical guards to run the point, and Roberts is smaller and more of a combo guard. He never seemed like a great fit, but they were willing to keep him in the program to see how he'd fit in. I don't sense any hard feelings from either side. It frees up a scholarship for the staff and C.J. can find a program where he'll have more of a role.
Athletes purchase those insurance policies through the NCAA. Football prospects can be insured up to $10 million. It's all based on how athletes are projected in their respective pro drafts.
True, but I don't think anyone has seen enough of Micah Wilson or Jack Lowary or Taylor Powell to be able to fully answer that question. It's more of a prediction, and right now, the body of work/sample size that we've seen is just too small to have a good feel for the answer. This much we know: Mizzou will have a strong O-line next year and two proven SEC running backs, an All-American talent at tight end (plus a really good backup) and some proven SEC receivers. There's a lot to like about that supporting cast.
If you're looking for a linebackers coach with SEC experience, he checks some boxes. Coordinator? I don't know about that.