Barry Odom’s team is set to face a unique set of circumstances Saturday night when Missouri travels to LSU.
The home Tigers will be playing with a head coach other than Les Miles for the first time in nearly 12 years, not to mention all of the promised changes coming to the team in regards to the offense and energy level leading into game day.
Unfazed, Odom understands tweaks are to be made and the environment will be hostile, but it’s nothing his team hasn’t been preparing for already.
“I’ve got a lot of respect for him,” Odom said of LSU interim head coach Ed Orgeron. “I have such great respect for coach Miles and respect for Ed. I know he’ll have them ready to play. It’ll be a great environment like everyone is talking about. The kids are anxious to have a chance to go compete. I understand what they’ve been through with a coaching change during the season and how that goes, but at 6:30 Saturday night, I’m guessing and suggesting that both sides will be ready to play.”
Both sets of Tigers are 2-2 entering this tilt, yet LSU’s second loss forced a tornado of change through Baton Rouge.
Four games into his 12th season as head coach, Miles was fired. As was Cam Cameron, who spent three-plus years directing the LSU offense.
It was Orgeron’s decision to part ways with Cameron and promote tight ends coach Steve Ensminger into that vacated role. Orgeron has promised change to the Tigers’ much-maligned offense all week, yet the threat of having a new scheme to defend is nothing foreign for Odom.
“You go into the game with what you know, the percentages — you match them up and take all of the information you get from previous games,” Odom said. “You go back and study from the previous years, make in-game adjustments, adjustments each drive. You always have your core beliefs, values, systems and how you run things. You’ve got to do a good job being a great teacher and put your kids in a position to get them in the right spots and positions to have success.
“Sometimes, change is a chess match. But that’s every week. You’ve got to do a great job with what we’re getting and making adjustments to what we think and believe.”
Aside from some offensive tweaks, Orgeron has been charged with providing an injection of energy into LSU.
Already, the interim coach has shortened practices and changed the dynamic of how they’re run. He expects an “emotional” atmosphere in Tiger Stadium for the game.
So does Odom, but his Missouri team has been preparing for that sort of hostility dating back to the spring.
“I don’t know if there’s one magic thing we can do to absolutely get us ready for that environment, one of the best in college football, but we’re anxious about having the opportunities and we’re excited for the opportunity to play there,” he said.
“The things we’ve done in our program is started to practice during spring ball to make our practices as high tempo and as challenging as we can. We fight noise, music and all types of things to try and affect and put our guys in position to over-communicate. We cranked it up this week in those regards. … We’ll see if we got that somewhere close to what we’ll see Saturday night.”
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