Missouri Football: Barry Odom Looking Forward to Getting Back to the FieldBy Russell Westerholm, UniversityHerald Reporter
With a new head coach, offensive coordinator, and a quarterback entering his sophomore season, the Missouri Tigers are ready to just play football.
Barry Odom inherited a program trending in the wrong direction while also dealing with the abrupt retirement of coach Gary Pinkel for health reasons and the numerous suspensions given Maty Mauk over the last few months.
Newly hired offensive coordinator Josh Heupel told The Associated Press he though Drew Locke was thrown into the fire before he was ready. Locke first filled in at QB for Mauk in week five when Missouri was 4-1. Missouri won their first game with Locke but went 1-6 after that game.
Locke wound up the team's starter for the remainder of the season, as Mauk was suspended a second time shortly after being reinstated. Odom then reinstated Mauk after season's end, only to dismiss him after a video surfaced on Twitter appearing to show the QB snorting a white powder.
But at a recent rally for the team, Odom was upbeat when speaking about the upcoming season, and fans were excited to see him, The AP reported.
"We're going to outwork folks," Odom told attendees. "I'm excited about this group."
Pinkel will still be associated with the Missouri athletic department by "assisting with fundraising opportunities and donor/fan engagement," the team said in a statement. Regardless, Odom's work - taking over for one of the team's most successful coaches - is cut out for him. One surefire way to ease the transition could be helping Locke polish his game.
"This might not be fair of me to say: I don't think he was necessarily overly purposeful in his preparation, maybe thinking that he may not be the guy," Heupel told The AP. "There's a lot of pieces to the puzzle I think the quarterback has to understand to be successful."