Hey, chatters. The schedule is a little clunky this week, so we're going to have a mini-chat for the next hour. I'm here to talk all things Mizzou.
Nothing new on my end. Jedd Fisch was a name I mentioned as a possible candidate last week, and Gabe DeArmond wrote this morning that he's been targeted as a possibility for the job. He's coached a lot of places in his career but would be a solid hire. Mix of NFL and college experience in a pro-style/spread blend.
Nothing new to report. When he had the surgery last month, his parents told the university he would be out of action for 3-4 months and likely miss the season. Nothing has changed from that statement.
The AAC is not a power five conference, but the only thing you can't win at UCF that you can win in the SEC is the national championship, as evidenced by UCF's 12-0 record and exclusion from the four-team playoff field. But you can still win at a high level at UCF. The Knights are playing in their second New Year's Day bowl in five years. It's one of the biggest schools in the country and in an attractive city for a family. (If I give my kids the choice of living in Orlando or Columbia, they're going to argue UCF is the better job.) Also, here's the part Barry Odom won't admit: Josh Heupel has more job security at UCF right now than Odom has at Mizzou. Elarbee can tether himself to Heupel and his offense at a very good job with a lot of returning talent. Harsh reality is, UCF could be a better job for him right now - especially if there's more pay.
The three current offensive assistants (Finley, Hill and Ford) have not been primary play-callers at the FBS level. It's a gamble to hand the offense over to any of those three coaches. That's not to say they couldn't do the job, but when you're a defensive-minded head coach who spends very little time with the offense, you want to hand that side of the ball to someone you trust with your life.
I wrote about him as a natural candidate to consider, but I haven't heard his name mentioned as a likely choice.
Missouri is not a destination job for most coaches. The pay is good, not great. The resources are good, not great. In this conference it's a not a program built to achieve national success year after year. For position coaches and coordinators it's going to be a stepping-stone job. Heck, most FBS staffs are stepping-stone jobs for position coaches who want to be coordinators and coordinators who want to be head coaches. But Odom isn't going to find assistants who never want anything more than to work for him at Missouri. He shouldn't be surprised when coaches leave for other jobs. That's how this industry works. He left Mizzou for the DC job at Memphis - and then he left Memphis for the DC job at Mizzou. Pinkel's staff was the exception to the rule. He brought his coaches from Toledo to Missouri and they had longstanding relationships with him and each other. Also, for some of those coaches it was in their best interest to stay at Missouri the older they got in terms of their pensions/retirement plans. That's not the case with Odom's younger staff he has now. Ideally, coaches would love to promote from within and keep that continuity for both recruiting and coaching purposes, but there's not always an ideal candidate on your staff for the promotion.
Lock has more career starts and he's been exposed to more coaches/coordinators in his college career. His junior year was more productive than either of Gabbert's two seasons, and I think his body of work is more complete, mostly because Gabbert's sophomore year was stalled by his ankle injury. Should Gabbert have stayed another year in college? Well, he was the 10th overall pick and made a lot of money on that rookie contract, so financially he made a good decision. Once he declared for the draft, he couldn't control which team selected him. What if he went No. 7 to the 49ers instead and Harbaugh groomed him as Alex Smith's understudy? How would have history unfolded differently?
Great football mind, sure. But the next coach that hires him can no longer talk about integrity and hiring coaches who serve as role models and mentoring student-athletes for the next 40 years - the stuff we hear from Odom all the time. I'm not going to attack Freeze's character, but don't forget how smugly he dared the rest of the SEC to turn in his program for any NCAA violations - and then when they did the program was buried in transgressions.
I have not heard of any possible destinations.
When did Missouri stop running the ball under Heupel? The last four games of the year, Missouri ran the ball 46, 53, 39 and 60 times and for the season ran the ball 56 more times than it threw the ball. Texas' defense was much better against the run than the pass this year. My guess is the staff will continue to strive for balance and lean on the run when it's working, just like Heupel did this season and most of last year.
The NBA draft is all about potential, not so much college production. If someone convinces them they'll be drafted, especially in the first round, it wouldn't shock me if either makes the jump after this season - or at least explores their draft stock without initially signing with an agent. That doesn't mean it'll be the right decision. Lots of college players come out too early. I don't think either one is a 2018 lottery pick, but their size and skill sets will be attractive. I would think both are much better off playing another year in college - and I suspect Martin and his staff will tell them the same - but that doesn't mean they're guaranteed to return.
It all depends on who he can hire. He could hire an inside linebackers coach and let Brian Odom continue to coach the OLB hybrid position group. Then he could hire a safety or cornerback coach as the 10th assistant - and possibly assign someone to special teams coordinator as well. Essentially he has to hire four coaches and needs to fill five roles: offensive coordinator, quarterbacks, offensive line, inside linebackers and then whatever role the 10th assistant will handle.
He's too small for a wing player and the staff didn't think he was a pure point guard - and he wasn't going to get minutes at the point over Harris, Geist and Phillips. At the time when he stuck with his commitment in the summer the staff wasn't sure what it had with the returning talent and the safe move was trying to keep him on board. But the more they saw of him it seemed they were less convinced he'd be part of the rotation this year. There were no hard feelings from the family. It just wasn't going to work out.
Odom has said repeatedly there is no set timetable. He'll hire someone when he gets the right fit.
They're going to be busy recruiting, and more important, the way it unfolded, Odom sure doesn't seem to want him coaching his players. The Texas Bowl isn't a playoff game or even a New Year's Day bowl. The staff can get by for a couple weeks.
Yes, but I won't say when I'm seeing it because the Breaking News monster will find out and ruin my day.
The staff likes him as a receiver. He's played multiple positions for his high school team, but he's definitely projected as a receiver, I was told when he committed.
James Foster is off the board. Once Heupel left that connection went cold.