Missouri Football Coach Barry Odom Talks Injuries, Bye Week Plans, Defensive Struggles, More

Missouri football coach Barry Odom talked about a variety of topics on Wednesday morning...

Missouri Tigers football coach Barry Odom spoke for 10 minutes on Wednesday morning on the Southeastern Conference coaches' teleconference. 

Here’s a transcript of what Odom said about his team’s bye week, injuries, the defense’s performance so far this season, what LSU did defensively in Saturday's game and more during his time on the phone with reporters. 

Opening statement…

Odom: “Coming off of obviously a tough loss in Baton Rouge the other night we got into preparation and getting into our bye week. We’ve had a couple good practices. We were able to get some guys heeled up this week that have been out. We’ve had a chance to self-evaluate everything — offensively, defensively, what we’re doing. Some self-scouting. Really spend some time on that and jump on preparation for our game next week at Florida. Anxious to get back on the field this afternoon. We’ve had two really good practices and look forward to a third one today.”

Update on injured wide receiver Nate Brown

Odom: “He had the surgery on the high-ankle sprain with some other things done there. He began running last week. Now the running was straight ahead, not a change-of-direction thing. He’s made great progress. He’s ahead of schedule. We have to evaluate here. He’s going to continue to push. He’s going to be a lot better this week than he was last. (We have) to evaluate where he is on can he come back and be effective at this point or do we still need some time? … He won’t be in position to play next week or the following week for sure, I wouldn’t think, just watching him run. But he’s working extremely hard and with he and Rex (Sharp) and Pat Smith, they’ve done a great job on getting him back to this point. I anticipate him continuing to move in that direction.”

Did wide receiver-returner Johnathon Johnson get hurt against LSU?

Odom: “A couple weeks ago he had that ankle sprain and on that last kickoff return kind of re-injured that. He’s bouncing around pretty good this week. We’re going to limit the number of reps he gets this week, in the bye week, and expect him to be full speed going forward. … Our sports med team does a great job. When they’re not doing football-related activities and in the classroom on campus they are living down in our sports med area. The game of football is taxing on your body. There’s a lot of guys that are bruised up, bumped up, and our bye week comes at a pretty good time for us. You never know how that’s going to work at the beginning of the year when it’s placed but thankful it’s this week for what we need it for.”

Were the defensive issues on Saturday mostly about missed tackles or guys struggling with assignments and schemes and things like that?  

Odom: “I think a combination of them all. Anytime that you play like we did there’s a number of problems, a number of issues, but also a number of things that can be fixed and corrected. It looks like that we’ll have an opportunity to get that done and will get it done. The missed tackles, being in position, that’s one thing fundamentally that we didn’t play very well. Also there were a couple times, schematically, that they had us out-numbered in the box and we were late trying to disguise some things and not getting back into the box and putting ourselves in position to have success once they snapped the ball. So a combination of a lot of things. … It’s been good to get back out on the practice field. I’ve talked about the bye week being at the right time for us, there’s also after you come off really getting your tail kicked like we did on Saturday, I’m anxious to get back and play and our kids are too.”

Did Donavin Newsom have to sit out some of the second half after that hit on the targeting play? 

Odom: “I think he played two snaps right after. We came out of halftime and Rex (Sharp) and our sports med team did a great evaluation there at halftime and thought that he was going to have to see how he felt coming of halftime and he wasn’t ready to go. So we pulled him. He went through practice yesterday (Tuesday) but it was a head injury. He went through the concussion protocol. It was a result of the targeting play, yes.”

How would you grade your defensive line at this point? 

Odom: “They’ve done some good things. I would say at best we’re not playing to our potential — and potential doesn’t get you anywhere. You’ve got some experience coming back. We have to coach better, we have to get them in position to make plays and continue to work. I like the group, still. I’m not frustrated with that. I think there are some things we’re able to get in this week in the bye week that are going to help us schematically. I think the group’s got a chance here. We have a lot of ball left yet to be played and let’s go make a ride out of what wasn’t very good last Saturday night.”

Did the dismissals along the defensive line before fall camp compromise your depth or have you been able to shore that up with other bodies? 

Odom: “The kids that you’ve got a chance to coach, whatever it is, we’re not going to make excuses around here, we’re plenty good on the defensive line if we’ll go do the right things Sunday through Saturday kickoff. If we go do the right things — preparation, coaching, teaching, learning, applying — if we do all those things we’ll be just fine. We’re not going to sit around and say if we had this guy or this guy we’d be better or we’d be worse. That’s not reality. We have to do a great job as teachers on getting our guys in position to go be successful.”

What did LSU do defensively that was so effective for them? 

Odom: “I’ve talked a couple times about my respect for (LSU defensive coordinator) Dave Aranda. I’ve known him for a number of years and followed his career. I think he’s a tremendous mind defensively. … They’ve got athletes actually in every spot that I’m so impressed with but they are so well coached and the scheme and the that way he runs it lends to having a chance to be pretty good and they are. They were aggressive in their coverage. They did enough pressure, inside and outside, and sometimes just bringing four. Sometimes it appeared that they were bringing more than they did and were able to get a rush sometimes with four. And then they played so solidly in the secondary on our route concepts. Overall they’re a very, very solid football team and give credit to them for having their guys ready to play.”

How important is the bye week this week after a game like that, from a physical standpoint? 

Odom: “We’re using it very wisely and I’m thankful the bye week happened when it has because we need it. We need the extra work, we need every minute that we can get, and it’s been good to get some guys healthy that haven’t been the last couple of weeks. I’m thankful that it’s where it is and we’re using it very wisely and we’ll be a better team coming out of our bye week because we’ve been able to get a lot of reps here and also get some guys that need reps, that have come off of some injuries, to get those guys back in the flow of it and also spending extra prep time on our next opponent.”

You can follow Nate Latsch on Twitter at @NateLatsch or email him at natelatsch@gmail.com.

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