Missouri’s players spoke softly, some with heads hung, last Saturday in the wake of a 42-7 loss at LSU in Baton Rouge, La.
First-year coach Barry Odom’s Tigers headed to Death Valley with high hopes of a season-defining win and instead were battered into submission well before halftime.
With no game this weekend, Mizzou, 2-3 and 0-2 in conference, has two weeks — a veritable football eternity — for the bitter taste of that loss to linger, but it also represents a crossroads for the team.
“You can’t sit and be sorry for yourself, because no one in this conference and no one in Division I football is going to feel sorry for you,” sophomore quarterback Drew Lock said.
Rather than dwell on the defeat, which Lock said can allow doubt to creep to in, he intends to learn from it, work to correct the mistakes made and seek to improve in practice for MU’s next game Oct. 15 at Florida.
“You can’t put the whole thing behind you, because then you won’t learn from it,” said Lock, who leads the SEC in passing entering the weekend but only completed 17 of 37 attempts for 167 yards at LSU. “You’ve got to take piece-by-piece the things that you can get better at personally and, once you do that, it will show full team-wise.”
Asked what Missouri needs to do with its bye week, senior linebacker Michael Scherer said, “Get back to work and just start trusting each other. I know that’s what we need to do on defense. We need to learn how to do our job and that’s it, especially when it comes to stopping the run against tough running backs like (LSU’s Derrius Guice and Darrel Williams). … It’s a trust issue that we need to get solved, which isn’t hard, but we’ve got to figure out how to fix it.”
Immediately after the game, Odom said he didn’t see many positives from the LSU loss, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be chock full of valuable lessons.
“There will be a teaching moment for everything that we did,” he said. “We’ll have an opportunity to learn from it and grow from it. I’m still excited about my locker room. I think we can still be a good football team, but we’ve got to do the things necessary to get there and we will.”
Missouri used last week to make corrections and begin preparation for a Gators team that also is effectively coming off a bye after Hurricane Matthew forced the postponement — and possible cancellation — of its game with LSU.
“(The bye) comes at a good time,” Scherer said. “I think we’re beat up. That was a very physical game, and there’s some things internally that we need to fix. There’s some things that need to be addressed and a lot of work needs to be put in on the practice field. We’ve got an extra week to do that. We’re playing a really good team in two weeks, so we’ve got to take advantage of it.”