After Missouri’s 51-14 loss to Auburn earlier this season, Barry Odom gave a passionate speech in his postgame news conference, calling his job “a turnaround” after Mizzou’s 1-4 start to the season.
Now with the Tigers riding a three-game winning streak and two wins away from clinching bowl eligibility, Odom said Monday that his team’s preparation and setting shorter-term goals has led to the recent success.
“I could see change happening and going on, we weren’t getting it done on Saturday,” he said. “We’ve still got a long ways to go but I just want us to continue to execute and prepare the right way.
“More than anything the investment that it takes from the time that game was over Saturday to try and get to kickoff the next Saturday is the most important time. For us to understand that as a program, we’ve embraced it a little more.”
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Missouri (4-5) has outscored opponents 165-49 during its winning streak and hosts Tennessee on Saturday night as an 11-point favorite. The Tigers close out the season with trips to Vanderbilt and Arkansas, who are also 4-5.
Odom has taken a daily mindset with the team, telling players during the week to try and go 1-0 and to worry about bigger goals later. He credited the team for deciding to act on the slow start rather than let things continue.
He said that he has learned his current team isn’t built to talk about long-term goals, and focusing on the smaller things has allowed the Tigers to be more successful.
“If we start looking too far ahead or too far behind we won’t get to where we need to be,” he said.
▪ Odom confirmed that freshman safety Tyree Gillespie is being used as a emergency running back with Damarea Crockett still injured. Odom said he doesn’t expect Crockett to play this week.
Gillespie has seen time on special teams, defense and offense this season and Odom expects that to continue.
“He’s going to get more reps this week defensively in practice,” Odom said, “but he’s got to know what’s going on offensively in case we get to that point. He’s handling a lot.”
▪ There’s a chance defensive back Christian Holmes returns before the end of the season. Holmes separated his shoulder in preseason camp and Odom said Holmes has yet to be cleared to tackle. “If we were playing flag football he’d be playing,” he said.
▪ Missouri senior safety Anthony Sherrils was chosen SEC co-defensive player of the week. A Hogan Prep grad, Sherrils had a fumble recovery, interception and six tackles in the team’s win over Florida.
▪ The SEC announced Missouri’s kickoff time at Vanderbilt on Nov. 18 will be at 6:30 p.m. and the game will air on the SEC Network.