Missouri's Barry Odom on Kentucky, Florida, Freshmen Running Backs, More

Missouri's Barry Odom talked about several topics on the SEC teleconference Wednesday morning.

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

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

Opening statement…

“We’re excited to have a home game this week. Kentucky is playing really well. Mark (Stoops) has done a great job there with the program and has them playing at a high level in all areas of their game. We’ve got a tremendous challenge on both sides of the ball in putting together a plan to put our guys in position to play successful and excited about the opportunity to get back on field. We have a lot of work ahead of us this week.”

On the impact running back Benny Snell has had on Kentucky’s running game and overall offense…

“They’ve really, specifically the last couple weeks, how they’ve evolved and developed. I’ve played against their coordinator (Eddie Gran) before, when we both were at separate institutions, and respected him for a long, long time. You’ve got the influence that Mark has on his program. I’ve known him as well for a number of years and it’s starting to show up — they’ve done a great job recruiting, their coaching really well and they have good players and it all kind of shows up. I think you look at the way they are blocking at the point of attack up front offensively and very impressed with the running backs. Then they’ve got skill on the outside and their quarterback is playing well. He’s making it go. He’s executing the offense. So we’ll have our hands full.”

On what kind of challenges it presents with a shortage of seniors, especially on one side of the ball…

“The things that we’re trying to build within the program is leadership from every area. There’s guys that are natural born leaders that understand what it takes but I also think that it’s my job to teach that from the time they walk in the door as freshmen. A couple weeks ago we started leadership class for our incoming freshmen and we meet with them specifically, just talking about the foundations of our program and the expectations on them moving forward. I think it’s important that you have guys that prepare the right way and they may not be the quote-unquote name guys, but the way that they approach each week, they way that they prepare, the way that they practice, those are things that we point out on a daily basis. That’s showing great leadership. That’s doing the things that we need to do to have a chance to go win a game and be successful. You look at, also, with guys academically that are doing a great job. To me that’s another form of leadership. You point those things out. There’s a lot of variety and a lot of ways that I’m using that and we’ve got a lot of young guys on the offensive side that I’m putting more on them from a leadership standpoint. It was between my true freshman and sophomore years as a player, a student-athlete, I played a lot as a true freshman, I think I ended up starting the last five or six games, but I wasn’t a vocal leader. Our coach at that time … that next spring he made me speak, he made me talk, during every practice and that changed my approach on some of the leadership skills. You can learn and you can do things but you have to be put into position to go do it. So a lot of different varieties that we’re trying to get there and the base foundation and the things that we’re doing to move forward, our guys are starting to embrace it and I can see it. It is starting to get a little better every week.” 

On Florida's defense…

“I’m very impressed with them. They’ve got tremendous players, they’ve got a great scheme. They are very, very well-coached and they play extremely hard. They play the way you’re supposed to play the game. There wasn’t a weakness that we could find and then they executed on game day at a very high level.”

On Florida’s cornerbacks… 

“They’re really good at every position but their defensive backfield and their corners specifically, when we played and the things we saw leading up to that game, very impressed with the way they played — physical, aggressive, they can run, smart but played well together. You can tell they are well-coached. When you can do that that obviously allows you to do some more things with the front seven. You can get a little more creative, a little more aggressive, and those are good combinations when you can have that working together.”

On similarities between Kentucky freshman running back Benny Snell and Missouri freshman running back Damarea Crockett and their running styles…

“I think what they are asked to do, just schematically, it’s a little bit different. But if you watch them both run, side by side, watching both sides of the ball, you do see some similarities. Both are, it seems to me, as the year has gone on they have gotten better each week. There’s a lot of really good backs in the conference and for those two guys to play the way they are right now, as young as they are, with Damarea, working with him, he’s gotten better every week and he’s understand pad level, he’s understanding the speed of the game and he’s gotten better. We have to continue to put something on him because he’s going to help carry us through the next couple weeks here.”

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

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