Barry Odom

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Arkansas officially welcomes former Mizzou head coach Barry Odom to the program

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Whether it was one of the worst-kept secrets in the SEC the past few days or not, it is officially official. Barry Odom is the new defensive coordinator at Arkansas. The school announced the news on Monday, days after the speculation about the pending relationship was reported.

As we noted on Friday, Odom was expected to be joining the Arkansas football staff as the new defensive coordinator after previously being removed as head coach at Missouri. Odom joins the first coaching staff being assembled by new Razorback head coach Sam Pittman. As with most first-time head coaches like Pittman, having trusted coordinators with some head coaching experience of their own is never a bad resource to have available if the option is there. Odom was the head coach at Missouri from 2016 through 2019 after replacing former Tigers head coach Gary Pinkel retired at the end of the 2015 season.

Odom will be tasked with improving a defense that finished its 2019 season ranked 111th in the nation with an average of 450.7 yards allowed per game. Arkansas also ranked 124th in the nation in scoring defense, allowing 36.8 points per game this past season. It is a struggle to have impressive defensive ranks when playing in the same division as one of the most potent Alabama and LSU offenses of the era have been roaring, and Auburn has had the potential for big offensive numbers at times too. But even with that thrown into consideration, there is clearly plenty of room for improvement with the Arkansas defense for Odom to begin cracking down on.

Arkansas is relying on Odom’s past body of work to carry over as there is evidence he has what it takes to transform defenses from putrid to sturdy. And there is almost nowhere for Arkansas to go but up as the new coaching staff begins work on building a program into a team that won’t be run over.

SEC rolls out four-day summer media day schedule

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Once again, the SEC will be masters of media day coverage in the middle of the summer with a four-day media day extravaganza. This year, the SEC is returning to Birmingham, Alabama. The SEC distributed updated details about this year’s media day event including what schools and coaches will be speaking on what day.

The SEC will open up the 2019 media day fun on Monday, July 15 from the Hyatt Regency Birmingham – Wynfrey Hotel. Television coverage of the event will be available through the SEC Network as well as ESPN over the course of the four days.

The exact order of what coaches will be speaking at what times will be hashed out later on, but Florida’s Dan Mullen, LSU’s Ed Orgeron, and Missouri’s Barry Odom will be featured on Day 1 on Monday, July 15. Day 2 will feature Kirby Smart of Georgia, Matt Luke of Ole Miss, Jeremy Pruitt of Tennessee, and Jimbo Fisher of Texas A&M. Alabama’s Nick Saban will highlight the festivities on Day 3, with Chad Morris of Arkansas, Joe Moorhead of Mississippi State and Will Muschamp of South Carolina also getting their time in front of the microphone. Day 4 will wrap things up with Gus Malzahn of Auburn, Mark Stoops of Kentucky, and Derek Mason of Vanderbilt.

Here is the full SEC Media Day schedule, for those planning ahead.

2019 SEC FOOTBALL MEDIA DAYS SCHEDULE

MONDAY, July 15
Florida – Dan Mullen
LSU – Ed Orgeron
Missouri – Barry Odom

TUESDAY, July 16
Georgia – Kirby Smart
Ole Miss – Matt Luke
Tennessee – Jeremy Pruitt
Texas A&M – Jimbo Fisher

WEDNESDAY, July 17
Alabama – Nick Saban
Arkansas – Chad Morris
Mississippi State – Joe Moorhead
South Carolina – Will Muschamp

THURSDAY, July 18
Auburn – Gus Malzahn
Kentucky – Mark Stoops
Vanderbilt – Derek Mason

While the SEC media days are going on, the ACC will also be holding their media day event in Charlotte, North Carolina. The ACC media day runs from July 16 through July 18.

Oklahoma State closes 2018 with Liberty Bowl win over No. 23 Missouri

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If you spent your New Years Eve sitting through the defensive slugfests that were the Sun Bowl and Redbox Bowl, then you deserved to reward yourself for your devotion to the sport of college football by catching the second half of the Autozone Liberty Bowl. Oklahoma State (7-6) avoided a complete meltdown in the fourth quarter to drop No. 23 Missouri (8-5) by a score of 38-33.

Oklahoma State nearly coughed up a bowl win in the fourth quarter by having one of the worst showings in the fourth quarter seen this bowl season. It started with Missouri quarterback Drew Lock uncorking an 86-yard touchdown pass to Johnathan Johnston on the first play from scrimmage after Cam Hilton picked off a pass from Cowboys quarterback Taylor Cornelius in the red zone. That cut a 16-point deficit to a nine-point game after kicking an extra point. Larry Rountree III brought Missouri to within two points with a 55-yard touchdown run on a drive that was aided by a pair of personal foul penalties called on Oklahoma State. Oklahoma State later made the odd decision to try running a fake punt that was not catching the Missouri special teams unit off guard for a turnover on downs, although the football gods refused to punish the Cowboys by having a Missouri field goal attempt to give the Tigers the lead blocked to preserve the two-point lead for Oklahoma State.

The offense was bonkers in the game, especially compared to some of the earlier bowl results in the day. The teams combined for 1,139 offensive yards, with Missouri leading Oklahoma State 637-502. Oklahoma State also lost the turnover battle (2-1) and the time of possession battle, yet they came up with the only defensive play needed in the game with a fourth-down stop of Lock to preserve the win.

Lock had passed for 373 yards with three touchdowns. Cornelius passed for 366 yards and four touchdowns but had two interceptions for Oklahoma State. In the absence of Justice Hill, who sat out of the bowl game to focus on staying healthy for the NFL draft process, Oklahoma State handed the ball off to Chuba Hubbard, who rushed for 145 yards and a score. Missouri’s Rountree topped him with 204 rushing yards.

The win marked the third consecutive season ending with a bowl victory for Mike Gundy and Oklahoma State. The Cowboys are now 9-4 in bowl games under Gundy since he was named the head coach of the program. Oklahoma State also avoided a losing season for the first time since 2005, Gundy’s first season as head coach in Stillwater.

Although the season ends with a second straight bowl loss, the Tigers took another step forward this season by improving its win total from the previous year. Barry Odom‘s third year on the job continued to show some signs of progress for the program as they move into 2019 looking to getting back to a level where it can be a factor in the SEC East. The Tigers are a good way away from their back-to-back SEC East Division runs under former head coach Gary Pinkel at a time when the rest of the division has and could continue to improve as well, but the offense continues to offer a glimmer of hope in Columbia.

SEC rolls out four-day media day schedule

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The SEC may be packing up their media day extravaganza and moving from Alabama to Atlanta, but this year’s media day schedule shows the SEC will still carefully roll out plenty of storylines over the course of a four-day love fest for the conference.

The SEC is setting up shop at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, which feels like a great landing spot for the new media day fun for the SEC. The conference has established Atlanta as a destination point for the end of the regular season and the city just played host to the first College Football Playoff national championship game between two teams from the same conference, the SEC (Alabama and Georgia). So why not kickstart a new football season with the media in Atlanta too?

New Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher will be the headline act for the first of the four media days for the SEC. Fisher will make his SEC Media Days debut as head coach of the Aggies on Monday, July 16. Other coaches speaking that day will be LSU’s Ed Orgeron and Kentucky’s Mark Stoops. Day 2 will be an interesting one with Georgia’s Kirby Smart in the spotlight coming off the SEC championship last fall and new Florida head coach Dan Mullen addresses the media for the first time as the Gators coach, although the former Mississippi State head coach is no stranger to the SEC media day circuit by now. Day 2 will also be the first SEC Media Day introduction for new Arkansas head coach Chad Morris and second-year Ole Miss head coach Matt Luke (Luke took over as head coach in Oxford after SEC Media Days last summer following the removal of Hugh Freeze not long after media days).

But when is Alabama head coach Nick Saban speaking, you ask? Day 3 (Wed., July 18 for those keeping track). Saban headlines the third day of the media day event for the SEC. Two other coaches speaking that day will be new head coaches in the SEC with former Saban assistant Jeremy Pruitt representing Tennessee and Joe Moorhead of Mississippi State stepping to the SEC podium for the first time. Missouri’s Barry Odom is also scheduled on day three. Day 4 will feature Auburn’s Gus Malzahn, South Carolina’s Will Muschamp, and Vanderbilt’s Derek Mason.

Player representatives for each school in addition to any other speakers will be announced at a later time.

Derek Dooley on returning to the SEC: I’m a glutton for punishment

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After losing Josh Heupel as an offensive coordinator to be the head coach at UCF, Missouri head coach Barry Odom needed to find a replacement. He ended up bringing former Tennessee head coach and Dallas Cowboys assistant coach Derek Dooley into the Missouri program to fill the void. For Dooley, a chance to return to the college game and in the SEC is one he embraced, and he seems to be looking forward to putting his past at Tennessee behind him as he hopes to help keep Missouri moving forward.

“Getting back into the crosshairs is a little bit more my personality,” Dooley said Friday at his first press conference with Missouri media, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “It’s easy to stay removed from the firing line. You guys have the ammo and you’re firing away. That’s OK. That’s your job. But there’s a lot of personalities (in coaching) that don’t like that. And that’s OK. They’re great coaches. But I guess that’s not mine. I’m a glutton for punishment.”

As far as Odom is concerned, he seems optimistic about hiring an offensive coordinator with a bit of a chip on his shoulder.

“He’s got something to prove,” Odom said. Odom also said he has something to prove. After a rough start to the 2017 season, Odom made a passionate claim he was the right guy to coach the Tigers. Sure enough, Missouri turned things around in a big way to reach a bowl game. The season ended with a loss to Texas in the bowl game, but that gives Odom a sense of unfinished business, a mantra his entire program can buy into this offseason.

Dooley certainly does. Back in the same division as Tenessee, Dooley hopes his work as offensive coordinator at Mizzou will erase the image he had when he went 15-21 as head coach of the Vols. Dooley will have a talented offense to work with next fall, which is led by the return of the SEC’s leading passer from last season, Drew Lock.