Big thanks to Tramel Raggs (@Raggs_No_Riches) for answering some questions about Auburn’s opponent today — the Missouri Tigers. Barry Odom’s team isn’t have quite the start to the year they might have wanted, and they’re three touchdown dogs tonight to Auburn. Read below for a little primer on what to expect tonight in CoMo.
We saw what the Missouri offense did in the opener (albeit against Missouri St), and how it's struggled in the two games since. Has the difference in production been the opposition or something more?
It's honestly been a combination of the two. If you look at Missouri's lone victory, the offense generated tons of big plays. Whether it was screen passes or Lock throwing touchdowns into windows that didn't exist a majority of those plays were a product of the team they were playing. With that being said, I think that the Missouri offense has the potential to be a potent offense with the tools that they have. The only thing stopping them is a lack of mental toughness and their dependence on having a rhythm. Good offenses find ways to get points even when the things aren't going as planned. Missouri hasn't quite figured that out yet. When the going gets tough often times they fold like cheap lawn chairs. Their two losses versus South Carolina and Purdue show exactly that. Once they get hit in the mouth it's over.
We're aware of Drew Lock at quarterback and what he's capable of, but which of his weapons should we look out for as well?
Johnathon Johnson. Missouri's offense really goes as he goes. When Johnson is making plays, Mizzou has an added dimension that makes them nearly unstoppable. J'Mon Moore and Demarea Crockett are the household names, JJ is the difference between wins and losses. When Johnathon has at least 70 yds receiving Missouri is 4-0 the last two seasons. The Tigers are 1-10 when he fails to reach that mark.
What's the situation with the Missouri defense? Demontie Cross was fired after the second game of the season -- was there more to it than bad defense? Who's replaced him and what kind of scheme can we expect to see on Saturday night?
In my opinion, Mizzou has a decent amount of individual playmakers on defensive but for whatever reason, they haven't been able to figure out how to play for each other and play well as an overall unit. The Tigers lack a true identity on defense and there appears to be no true leader like in years past when they had guys like Markus Golden, Shane Ray, and Kentrell Brothers.
By most accounts, Coach Cross was fired due to an alleged altercation with the players. Coach Odom had already taken over the reigns of the defense after the loss to Middle Tennessee last season. Odom switched the scheme and took over all playcalling duties. Essentially making Cross an overpaid linebackers coach instead of the defensive coordinator that he was hired to be.
What's the book on Barry Odom? Is he a guy that Missouri's looking to long-term for answers, or is he a placeholder for the next hot young coach that comes up?
A lot of fans want to compare Barry Odom to recently axed men's basketball coach Kim Anderson, but that couldn't be further from the truth. Odom knows what it takes to win at this level and he is trying to change the culture but it's a process. Coach Odom is still learning how to be a CEO of a team. Whenever a new hole in the ship presents itself he tries to run over and plug the hole himself instead of trusting and empowering his coordinators/coaches. Missouri probably hired Odom three years too soon but I am a firm believer that Odom can be the guy. I'm not sure that he'll get the opportunity to change the narrative about his coaching abilities while still at Missouri, but one day we'll look back at Barry Odom's career and realize just how great of a coach he truly is.
What was the expectation coming into the season and how have those expectations been met through three games so far?
The expectation from local pundits was that Missouri would land in the six-win range. Nationally, the experts weren't quite as optimistic. Most thought Mizzou would be able to lean on their offense, but outside of the game versus Missouri State that hasn't proved to be the case. If you watched Missouri's defense last season, you probably assumed that it couldn't get much worse heading into this season. But Mizzou has found was to do just that.
When most people predicted that Mizzou would reach 6 wins, it was because they expected Missouri to take advantage of starting the season with 4 straight home games which didn't happen.
Kickoff at 6:30 CST tonight out West, let’s get a win — War Eagle!