PowerMizzou - Barry Odom's press conference
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Barry Odom's press conference

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Barry Odom met the media as his team gets ready to face Vanderbilt. Listen to the press conference or read a complete transcript.

Opening Statement

"Okay, good to see you guys. Just a quick recap on our last game, proud of our teams resolve in the way that we found a way to win together. I thought we played efficient sound football, team football, for really if you look at the ways we won the game a number of guys had huge impact plays that determined the outcome of it at crucial times in the game and then we also look at the preparation and the habits that we have throughout the week are starting to show up in our execution on game day, so we've got we've got some momentum, and now it's our job to keep it going and move our program forward and that's what we're trying to do every minute of every day.

And, you know, another challenge this week as we go into the road in conference play to play Vandy, and they look, offensively they've got eight returning starters from a year ago, eight returning starters on that side of the ball, led by their tailback KeShawn Vaughn, who I think is one of the best running backs in college football, the receiver Lipscomb is talented making plays, think he's averaging 12 yards a catch, and the number of catches that he's got right now. And then their tight end Pinckney is a matchup problem, and he creates matchups in the pass game, does a nice job. There's a long athlete that can run so those three guys you look at the body of work that they've done over their career there. I'm sure that we'll get a heavy dose of all three of them on Saturday and gotta find a way to slow them down. They all three can score from anywhere on the field. So, you know, it's a challenge for us defensively to be and play assignment sound but also give them enough looks that they don't get free releases that we clog up some things in the middle that allows them to disrupt the running game to have a chance for success on that side of the ball, and then you look on the other side defensively. They're very attacking in their structure, they give you a number of looks, multiple looks that cause some reasons for concern on some of our base plays on how we're going to block it. And then they you know they live on trying to create disruption. So, you know, all in all, we've got to do a great job of preparing and getting ready to go play our best. It's been a long time since we've been on the road, and our habits, so far up to this point, our team is hungry, we're excited about the opportunity to play another game in conference, and we're looking forward to having a chance to win. We'll have to play our best to have a chance to win the game. Open it up at this point."

You mentioned on Saturday Dawson Downing is one of the reasons your culture has improved. Beyond his play on the field what has impressed you about him?

"With Dawson, as a number of guys, which is a great thing that you could fill in, you know, so many guys to start this comment out but you know he specifically because of the question. The way he works in the weight room. You know his classroom habits, the things he does in the locker room and in leading, the example he always provides and accepts the role that he has, he takes coaching and and every time his number is called he tries to do it to the best of his ability. He's a very, very selfless person, cares about this program and cares about his teammates."

When you looked back at the film what led to the mismatch that had Isaiah McGuire defending Scottie Phillips?

"The call. We got safety help, but the safety didn't lean that way, you know, like to get a little bit more help by the middle field safety but he read it differently than what the play design ended up being so great call by them. And, you know, there's not many times that we're going to have, you know, outside linebacker that side or defensive end matched up on the back, especially that one but you know they made a call that matched up really well against our call in their favor and then we didn't get any middle field help, which, you know, at that point I was hoping Isaiah would tackle him and just get a pass interference call, honestly when you saw the play developing but anyway, you make corrections and hopefully we don't get that matchup."

I know the answer to this is you're executing, but have you seen anything specifically that has accounted for the defensive improvement this season?

"I would say experience in the scheme. And then also, you know, that's a big part of it but also worked on a lot of different things this year that we didn't do last year just schematically. Our guys have been great learners, but our staff has done a really good job on teaching. But then we've got some confidence because we have made plays. We understand and trust the way that it's called and what the job that each person has to do on that and they worked really hard to build the trust within each other and the belief that it is going to work and then the habits are aligning to give us much that, that we are playing with confidence and when you you play with confidence and you play fast and those things. When you're able to just cut loose and go play normally, you're going to hear about some breakdowns here and there but if you got 11, or 10 other guys if a guy makes a mistake ten other guys playing with tremendous effort and usually we get the ball down and line up to play another snap. So a number of those things have gone into it I think. Ryan's done a great job calling it on understanding within the game plan on where we're trying to take, you know what they do best away, and our guys have really bought into it."

Ryan said you have called a lot more man defense than previous years. Is that about the corners, the safeties or both?

"I think both. The combination of, but also there's mismatches that don't align in our favor so we've got to creatively find ways to get out of the situations like we had the other night with the touchdown and you know we didn't have time to get a call changed, and then we didn't help over top. So that's one example of you know we had a breakdown, and we, knock on wood, we haven't had many of them. And, you know, the challenge of each week you know this running back this week he can go to absolutely any spot on the field, he gets north and south and he's gone. And I noticed it looking at every clip of film he's a little bit bigger and appears to me this year is breaking tackles. So we got our hands full."

You have played a lot of receivers. How do the numbers help even if you don't have maybe one primary go to guy?

"Well I think it's important that we are distributing the ball in a number of ways. That's a credit to our game planning, but also credit to a quarterback on being able to spread the ball and taking what the read is, what is there and not trying to force something that's not. Okay it's on the check down and, you know, turn and split two and go get seven yards that's a productive play so we've had some patientce. I think that more than anything that's helped us out on distributing the ball. And we do have some playmakers you know we're not, we don't have one guy with 1000 yards but you know we've got a whole bunch of guys that can make plays when given the opportunity."

Are you about settled on five guys on the offensive line?

"Yeah, I think we're getting a little closer. I think, you know, for the lineup we had last week they played our best ball, you know, that group so far this year and another really good day today at practice so you know, but also, you know, we're A snap away from from it not being those five, and the other two are still in play. At some point during the game I think they've earned the opportunity to do that. So we got to keep working to get those guys in position to whoever it is, whatever the five, be able not to drop off on our expectations that are standards of how we're trying to play."

You've singled Case Cook out a few times. How have you seen him improve?

"Another year in the program, another year of workouts, another year of maturing. He is as tough a competitor as I've ever been around and, you know, he was limited a little bit last week during the week of practice but he is a fierce competitor, and you know there's a lot of credit that I want to give him on the way that he's prepared, the way that he's stuck with it. And man, he's he's improved his game. He's playing at a high level."

Cale was on the field on Saturday. What does it say about a guy that just had surgery to be able to be out there in support?

"(We tried) to force him to stay overnight. After the procedure. That was a battle within itself to try to get him to stay. But we tricked him and got him to stay overnight, and then the next morning, he was out there on the field at 830, ready to go and as we got him a whistle. He's obviously a huge part of what we're going to continue to do not only on the defensive side but the the functioning of our program."

After five straight home games what are the challenges of going on the road?

"We're going to treat it just like it's our first game of the year on traveling, and we'll go through our travel tips and reminders. Because, like I think I said it the other night after the game, they all have a hard time remembering what we did yesterday, much less six weeks ago, so we'll take a very elementary approach on, you know, this is the way it's supposed to look, this is what we're going to do and then once we get to the hotel and Nashville, then we're locked in and it's like a home game for us to, you know, to the same structure and the same setup."

Johnathon Johnson had an up and down game, but what do you think allowed him to bounce back?

"I think he had a really good game. We had, you know, obviously the fumbles punt that's not good. You know the kickoff return, we put that on our myself and our staff, you know, he wasn't clear. You got him in fair catch and he wasn't clear on what the rule was so that's our fault. But he was very productive making plays, making crucial plays, and you know he's a tremendous competitor that's a veteran. Here you can lean on him. He's not going to get too down if something doesn't go his way. And he's got a tough spirit about him."

You converted quite a few third and fourth and shorts. What does it do for the offense to be able to succeed in that situation?

"That's huge. You want to be able to extend drives, you know, in the entire game but in those crucial moments when, when we needed, but I didn't want to give them the ball back and to be able to convert those it's big. It's something that the offense has worked really hard on being good is third downs and especially during short, you know, take a snap under center you got fullback behind you and and you know those are things that I think can be in our favor because we do have a good surge up front. We've got a strong quarterback that can find a way to go get a tough yard when needed."

Considering the three Vanderbilt guys you mentioned, are you a little surprised to see Derek's team struggle the way it has?

"You listen to some of the things they've said and watch them play, and really they're a play here or there away from from it being completely different. And, you know, I'm sure that that they'll play their best game this week, and you know they'll rally behind the opportunity to go finish the season strong, because they'll follow his lead. That's kind of who he is on the knowledge that I've gotten to know him. They're a talented team that, you know, I don't, I don't know, you know there's been a breakdown here or there. They could very easily, you know, their record to be a lot different so we're going to prepare really really well, and then we need to go play our A game because I've got a feeling on what we're going to see on the other side."

I'm sure you'd rather not be able to use it as an example, but did the first game teach this team about having to show up every week and play well?

"Absolutely. And we've talked about it.. We talked about it immediately after you know on that Sunday after that game that that's not going to define us. Our response from there, but also the fine line of winning a football game, how everything that you do throughout the week will get exposed. And then you gotta go execute. And if you prepare the right way but then you don't go execute or you walk out you're minus three in the turnover margin then we're not going to win a game. The margin of error for us, just like it is most every college team in the country right now, you know, you gotta prepare like every game is the same and the focus and the determination and, you know, if you don't, then you're not going to win. And so, I wish it was a different way that you roll your helmet out there and you win the game because of who you are. But that ain't us."

After looking at the film how did you feel about how Cam Wilkins played?

"He did some really good things, and then also had some learning experiences that hopefully we move past and we gotta do it with some urgency because you know, the here the now, (we need) him playing better this week. That's for all of us, but you know for the total body of work I thought he did some really good things for the amount of time that he was on the field. So, wasn't perfect. But we can play winning football with the way he played the other day."

Is there a shot Richaud Floyd can play this week?

"I think so. Yeah, he looked better than expected today in practice so...we'll kind of see how he responds tomorrow after having some activity today. So I would say it looks pretty promising."

If not do you feel good about Cade Musser there?

"We need to test him a little bit more tomorrow. But he's had a million reps at it. So, you know, it's, I trust him being out there securing the ball on, you know, the goal in that unit is to make sure that we secure the ball. And then after that if we can get a first down for offense."

Were the missed extra points anything other than missed kicks?

"Thought maybe the follow through was short on one of them, and on the other I don't know that the efficiency of the snap and the hold was exactly where it needed to be. But you know that's obviously something that could have been so impactful in the game and will be down the stretch. So, we understand the importance of making sure that those are worked out and that's not even a discussion."

Halfway through the season, do you feel the way you expected to feel about this team?

"I don't know. I'm not a very good guy at looking ahead and wonder how I'm going to feel I gotta get in the heart of who you are and every team is different so I'm really, and I don't mean to diminish the question, but really, I want to have a great Wednesday practice. If we do that, then it'll give us chance to prepare the right way on Thursday."

What would you credit to this team being able to withstand adversity a little better than you could in the past?

"Well, I mean, you can talk about the chapters of the book on what makes this program, what we are, you know, some of the core values that we talked about and overcoming adversity is one of them. And I relate that to not only our immediate here in our program but as guys in the real world in life, and as you move forward and have graduated from here. You know things aren't always going to go your way, and how you scripted them or not, you know, it's not, it's not reality. So you deal with every day, the opportunity that presents itself and then you go make the most of it. And if you continue to do that you'll put blinders on eventually you're going to come out. If you keep swinging, you will come out on the right side of things. So, you know, that's kind of the core DNA of our program, who we are. And, you know, there's going to be some adversity that happens, there will be good days and going to be bad days, but if we truly build lasting true relationships built around, love and honesty and care, all of those things that are real, then we can withstand it."