Greetings, chatters. So much to discuss today. Let's get to it.
I think Sterk made it pretty clear during yesterday's podcast that he doesn't believe in midseason coaching changes. That's not his style. That doesn't rule out a change after the season, and obviously the fan support will factor into any decision if the season continues to spiral. Fan support was something Sterk mentioned when he made the move to fire Kim Anderson.
I say this all the time, but ADs are more nuanced than making these decisions based on absolutes. Context is always important. What if MU finishes 5-7 with a home win over Florida or Tennessee and an OT loss at Georgia? That's different than 5-7 or 4-8 with 30-point losses to Florida, Tennessee, Georgia and Auburn. The decision will come down to whether Odom's body of work indicates he's the right person to make Mizzou a winning program again.
I'm not doing a coaching hot board three games into the season. I fully recognize that Odom is under tremendous pressure to get this turned around, and the early returns are really bad, but I'm not speculating on candidates 15 into the guy's time on the job.
ADs do their due diligence, but they're careful not to talk too much so that it gets back their head coach, especially three games into the season.
Lock talked to reporters after the game and was pretty candid about his play and his disappointment with the offense. He didn't talk to reporters after Tuesday's practice for reasons Mizzou's media relations staffers didn't explain. Either way, I don't define player leadership as talking to reporters after bad games. It's nice to see some accountability and hear their thoughts on the performance, but that doesn't really do anything to help or lead their team. Player leadership takes place on the field during games and behind the scenes when nobody's watching. Players praised Lock for the way he carries himself like a professional around the building and his work ethic on the practice fields and the meeting room. Ultimately he'll be measured by how he plays on the field and whether he can lead Mizzou to wins.
That's Jim Sterk's question to answer. He'll need a full body of work this season to make that call. Obviously the way Mizzou has played this season doesn't indicate things are trending up. If they're completely outplayed in every phase week after week, then I'm not sure it's a very hard decision to make.
Nobody really tackles in camp anymore outside of scrimmages - and not everybody is playing terrible defenses on Saturdays. I'd quibble with the word "gifted." I'm not sure there's a sure-fire NFL player on this defense, outside of Terry Beckner Jr., and I'm not convinced he's a high-round prospect in 2018 or 2019. The strong Mizzou defenses in the last five years have had NFL players. Shane Ray, Markus Golden, Kentrell Brothers. Charles Harris. I'm not sure I can even name the three best players on this defense.
I agree on Lock. If the pocket breaks down, he can get out of trouble well enough to throw the ball out of bounds, but he can't freelance and make something out of nothing. It's just not part of his game yet. Maybe it never will be. I haven't looked up the record for career losses, but he's 7-16 as a starter in his career. Not good.
No. Cross didn't coach the offense and the offense was horrible. One field goal in 13 possessions. No drives over six yards. Only two possessions with multiple first downs. The defense gave up three long scoring drives to begin the game, and I thought the players would have had more fire considering I don't think any of them were upset to see Cross go. They insisted they had a strong week of practice after he was fired. For reasons no one can explain, it doesn't translate to Saturdays.
Why would they leave their current jobs to be the DC at Missouri?
There's no indication they're considering someone else. They don't even have a clear No. 2.
Oklahoma fans grew tired of Heupel's offense because it was good enough to win Big 12 championships but not a national championship. (Must be a nice problem to have.) But he was fired because his last name wasn't Stoops. Oklahoma's defense dropped off considerably in 2014, but Bob Stoops wasn't going to fire Mike Stoops. Heupel's offense fell flat in their bowl game loss to Clemson and he became the fall guy. At least that's one perspective. Heupel's offense has put up a lot of empty yards at Mizzou and proven to struggle against elite defenses, though I'm surprised how bad they've looked this year considering how well the offense began to play late last season. People want to write off those wins over Vandy and Arkansas, but those were bowl teams that had better seasons than Mizzou by most measures. The offense was more than effective in those games. Not so much the last two weeks.
It's a fair question. I believe players genuinely like playing for Odom, but there's a disconnect somewhere between wanting to play hard for him and not playing well for him.
I don't think he dropped a pass last week, technically. He just let the DB literally wrestle the ball out of his hands. But that was worse than a drop. Lock didn't deserve for that to be considered an INT, but that's how it works.
Pendleton is hurt, or at least in some pain. I know Odom said he's fine, but he's been limping badly on one ankle for two weeks. Watch him after a play. He could barely get up during the South Carolina game. I don't know about Howell. I know the staff really likes Durant. If he's grading out close to Howell, I don't see the harm in splitting snaps. OL coach Glen Elarbee said during camp - and I'm paraphrasing - "The teams we play will rotate their defensive linemen the entire game. There's no rule that says we can't do the same to keep our guys fresh."
Yes, I haven't gotten it up on the website yet, but Miller, a freshman linebacker who plays on special teams, broke his left fibula yesterday in practice. He'll be out 4 to 6 weeks.
Yes, you can have nine full-time on-field assistant coaches who can recruit on the road. But when you're already paying Cross $600K not to coach, that doesn't leave much wiggle room to go out and hire someone new in the middle of the season - or at least anyone who's worth paying. There's not enough time in the middle of September to teach someone new all the verbiage and calls and schemes. Coaching staffs are so big now that they can add some responsibilities to a grad assistant. Mizzou has eight position coaches but there are another nine grad assistants and analysts who help with offense, defense and special teams.