This spring, the Missouri defense has a new man in charge, as Barry Odom has returned to Mizzou in the role of Defensive Coordinator. ShowMeMizzou.com takes a look at what we’ve learned about Coach Odom so far.
Odom’s starting middle linebacker weighed in on his new position coach and defensive coordinator.
“He’s just a great guy, very passionate about what he does,” explained junior LB Michael Scherer, speaking of Coach Odom. “You know, he pushes us every day. He’s taught us a lot of good things that are going to help improve our game.”
Another talented young player who is competing for the starting strong safety job shared some of what he’s seen from Coach Odom so far.
“Coach Odom is a fiery guy,” said sophomore Anthony Sherrils. “Fiery! He’s fired up all the time. He’s “Go get’em! Go get’em! Hit ‘em in the mouth!” He’s a great coach. I mean, he gets me fired up!”
Coach Odom presents a calm and calculated demeanor to the public. But he presents very differently to his players.
One thing that’s very easy to see is that there’s not really a transition period with Coach Odom coming back to Missouri. He’s already integrated into the way Coach Pinkel does things, and he is very familiar with the Missouri Program.
As is always the case with any of the Missouri coaches, Coach Odom is going to be evaluating and tweaking what he does with the linebackers and with the Missouri defense.
At Memphis, Coach Odom utilized a 3-4 base defense because their personnel was a better fit for that alignment. And, while he intends to utilize some three-man fronts in certain situations, just as Coach Steckel did, he intends to continue with a 4-3 base defense at Mizzou.
Of course, Coach Odom doesn’t want to give much away at this juncture. But even this early, it doesn’t appear to me that we’ll be seeing Missouri line up with 4 linebackers on the field.
“Every spring, I’ve done it every year I’ve been a coordinator, you make adjustments,” explained Coach Odom. “That’s what you do. After a season, you evaluate what you did well, what you need to work on, what you have coming back. And then again, the skill set of each of your guys, how you put them in position. Whatever schematic alignment it is, there’s going to be changes to try to make improvements. So we’re lining up in a lot of different things right now, to find out what we can do, and what we do well.”
Coach Odom was also, at least publicly, non-committal with respect to player evaluations, and the ongoing competition for starting jobs, and spots on the two-deep Depth Chart.
“It’s our job to get our best players on the field,” continued Coach Odom.
Coach Odom did say that he intends to continue to cross-train the linebackers, as Coach Steckel did, so that each of them can play as many of the three linebacker spots as their physical abilities will allow them to play.
“All of our guys have to train at all three linebacker positions,” explained Coach Odom. “It’s important that all of our guys are familiar with all three positions.”
Coach Odom talked about having a relatively experienced linebacker corps with which to work.
“We have some experience, some older guys, some guys that have been in the battles,” explained Coach Odom. “You know, experience is really, really important. (So far) they’ve worked hard. They’re trying to lead in the right way. And they also know that we’ve got a long ways to go. And that it’s important, for them to take ownership in this defensive side, they’ve got to be their best.”
Coach Odom brings a lot of energy to the job. I get the impression that he’s even more energized by the responsibility associated with the job at hand.
“I’m excited about our guys,” said Coach Odom. “I understand that we’ve got a long, long ways to go. You know, it’s going to take a lot of work to get where we want to be. And I’m excited about having that opportunity to go to work every day.”