It’s been a disappointing season for the Missouri Tigers, due largely to the performance of their defense.
Missouri is 2-5 in its first season with Barry Odom as head coach, and the defense seems to have taken a step back under new defensive coordinator DeMontie Cross. The pass rush, led by junior DE Charles Harris, hasn’t been as disruptive as in years past.
Harris had 7 sacks and 18.5 tackles for loss in 2015. This season, he has 5.5 TFL and 3.5 sacks through seven games. Harris’ father told The Kansas City Star’s Alec Lewis thinks his decrease in production may have something to do with the philosophy change on defense.
“I really haven’t seen anything different from Charles, but I’m seeing a lot different things from the coaching staff,” William Harris said. “Me and my wife, we talk about it all the time, but, if (the scheme) wasn’t broken, why try to fix it?”
The Tigers’ old scheme, which was predicated on being aggressive and getting after the quarterback, caused trouble for opposing offenses on a weekly basis. The fact that the coaching staff has left that behind is concerning for the elder Harris.
“Whenever you change something that’s been working so well,” he said, “it’s frustrating for anybody,”
Harris’ former defensive line coach, Craig Kuligowski, left in the offseason to work under Mark Richt at Miami (FL).
Losing that mentor has also had a profound impact on the veteran pass rusher, his father said.
“If you’ve been working with this coach for two years, you’re going to be disappointed (when he leaves),” Harris said. “The two were very close and that right there, when he left, I think the whole country can see the difference of one coach and what he made there at Mizzou.”