Missouri's Barry Odom on Middle Tennessee, Drew Lock And More

Missouri coach Barry Odom spoke with reporters during the Southeastern Conference teleconference on Wednesday morning.

Missouri Tigers coach Barry Odom spoke about his team on the Southeastern Conference teleconference on Wednesday morning.

Here’s what the Tigers coach said during his time with reporters.

Odom’s opening statement…

“We’re looking forward to having a great crowd back at home. It’s been a couple weeks since we’ve had the opportunity to play at our home place and I’m excited to be back there and the opportunity to go compete again. Stepping out of conference against a very, very explosive, well-coached football team in Middle Tennessee. Our guys have responded well this week after coming off a tough loss against a really good Florida team. We’ve had great practices and preparation has been right and I look forward to having a chance to compete on Saturday.”

On Middle Tennessee… 

“You look at the job that Coach (Brent) Stockstill has done there – and I know it first-hand because we played against him and recruited against him when I was at Memphis – I’ve got such great respect for him and his staff. You watch them play, they’re averaging about 40 points a game, they’re playing so aggressive defensively. I know what that program is about, because it was something that I saw it first-hand and respect. We’ll have to play really well and prepare absolutely every minute that we have to give ourselves a chance to play as good as we can against a really good opponent. I’m really impressed with the way that they’ve played and just their structure on offense. Their quarterback is one of the best that I’ve seen, and, by the way, happens to be the head coach’s son. We recruited him when I was at (Memphis). Very, very high respect for what they’ve done.”

On getting that message across to his players during SEC season…

“Fortunately, you turn on the video and you get started watching them and it jumps out pretty quick how good and talented they are. Our guys, what we’ve tried to do every week is just focus on us and getting as good as we can. We haven’t played very well the last couple weeks, but we’ve also played against some really good teams. We’re not that far off from hopefully making some plays in all three phases. We understand by looking at these guys since Sunday, as a team, how explosive they are and how hard they play and how well-coached they are.”

On Drew Lock's season… 

“I think there’s been times this season that he looks really special. There’s been times that we’d like to have some throws back. Like most people that have been around the game of football, they understand that every decision that the quarterback makes, it’s going to get evaluated and critiqued. There are some of the things that Drew has done with a couple throws that doesn’t necessarily — it looks like a bad throw, but it’s a combination of 10 other guys being on the same page. So we’re working through the consistency on everybody playing as well as they can together. When you do that, you’ve got an opportunity to be successful. We’ve had some stretches that the offense has functioned at a really high level, and then there’s been some things that have shown up that we haven’t played consistent enough to move the football and get a first down. So Drew is going to continue to improve. He’s got a very high ceiling on what I think he is going to continue to be and to grow into. I think he, without a question, he’s not reached his ceiling. He’s still learning. He’s played now six games this year and a handful last year, so still relatively new to playing a lot of snaps. But we put a lot on his shoulders. We expect him to play at a high level. The great thing is, he’s such a tremendous competitor that he wants and expects to be the best.” 

On whether he expects cornerback Logan Cheadle to play Saturday…

“I do. I don’t think he’s going to have the ability to be an every-down guy, which the way that we rotate guys, there’s not really one on the back end that plays every snap. But he looks significantly better than he did last week. I think as the practice wore on a little bit yesterday, he looked a lot better towards the beginning than he did the end. We’re also going back and forth with a couple different ways to tape that ankle. So I expect today, he’ll probably look a little better than he did yesterday, and I’m guessing that here in the next 48 to 72 hours, he’s going to be ready to roll.”

On offensive coordinator Josh Heupel’s comment that he thought against Florida you guys got outcompeted. Was that the first time Odom has seen that this season?

“I just thought that through the first part of the game, we were playing pretty good defensively, and then offensively, we gave up back-to-back pick-sixes. Everybody, it was a little bit of a shock and stunned a little bit on what just happened. As a head coach, I’ve got to do a good job on getting the guys to snap back to, ‘Let’s go play the next snap. Let’s not worry about what just happened.’ We’ve got to make corrections and keep moving on. But I think Florida played extremely well, played aggressive, and I don’t think for, by any stretch, for 60 minutes, we didn’t match that.”

On how offensive line coach Glen Elarbee has done…

“I think those guys have developed into a group that, No. 1, going into it, there were a lot of question marks, just because of the inexperiences that we had at every position up front. He’s continued to develop the group as we’ve gone on. I think he takes tremendous pride in wanting to be a positive and an advantage in our system and our scheme, and by position group, he wants his guys to play at a high level. He coaches them hard. He’s got a tremendous football I.Q. It’s all those things. You see the offensive line taking shape on what he is as a coach and I’m extremely excited about him leading that group, not only what he’s done through six games, but I think we’ve got a chance still yet to get better each week at that position group, just because guys are playing together. They’ve got some experience now together. The more and more that you do that and you’re able to communicate and talk the same language, walk the same way, and they come out of their meeting group and they’re ready to go to practice every day. I’m thrilled that he’s part of our staff.”

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

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