In one of the more surprising moves of the college football coaching carousel, Missouri named Derek Dooley its offensive coordinator, replacing Josh Heupel.
One of the most intersting dynamics about Dooley’s hire is that it hadn’t yet been determined if Missouri quarterback Drew Lock was going to return for his senior season. Lock led the NCAA in passing touchdowns this past season, but there were questions about how well his game would translate to the next level.
Those questions only grew when Lock and the Missouri offense mustered just 16 points against a depleted Texas defense in their bowl game. Heupel did not coach in that game, as he had taken the Central Florida job.
Dooley explained at his opening news conference how his offense will better prepare the Missouri quarterback for the NFL.
“He plays with a lot of freedom out there and we don’t want to take that away,” Dooley told reporters. “He’ll probably have a little bit more on him mentally than what he’s used to. Hopefully that will translate into more consistency and more versatility to help us win. And I think over time that will end up helping him personally when he leaves Missouri.”
In addition, Dooley added that his offense will require Lock to take snaps under center, something he has yet to do. This will be the first season that Dooley is an offensive coordinator at the college level, as well as a quarterbacks coach. Dooley spent the last five seasons as the Dallas Cowboys’ wide receivers coach. He was Tennessee’s coach from 2010-12.
Dooley added that the vision for the Tigers offense comes from Barry Odom, but said it would be multiple and flexible. Under Heupel, Missouri often wanted to go tempo. The problem: That leads to quciker drives and puts the defense on the field longer.
Odom did at least seem to be slightly critical of that type of offense while introducing Dooley.
“Tempo’s great unless you’re going three-and-out in 17 seconds. Then it’s not a whole lot of fun when you’re on the other headset,” Odom said.
Missouri and its new-look offense take the field on Sept. 1 when the Tigers take on UT Martin.