Dear Barry Odom,
Please consider this my formal apology for questioning the direction of the Missouri football program.
After Missouri lost to South Carolina 31-13 in Week 2, I said Missouri didn’t have an identity under you. I thought Missouri was a sinking ship with you at the helm. Over the next few weeks, I resorted to snarky tweets about the state of your program, like this:
Good thing they fired the defensive coordinator.
— Pete Scantlebury (@PeteScantlebury) September 16, 2017
And this gem, poking fun of a postgame comment you made the week prior:
How did the team smell in practice this week?
— Pete Scantlebury (@PeteScantlebury) September 23, 2017
Now your team is 5-5, rattling off four consecutive convincing wins and getting a different coach (Butch Jones) fired in the process. Your team is on course to finish the regular season 7-5, potentially earning an eighth win in a bowl game. It took your predecessor, Gary Pinkel, three seasons to post an eight-win campaign.
Barry, I’m sorry.
I’m not going to get into the qualifiers about quality of opponents and state of their programs. Because for whatever those teams are going through, your program just steamrolled the whole damn lot of ’em, including two has-been blueblood programs in Florida and Tennessee. I probably owe amends to Josh Heupel and Drew Lock as well, but good for you for staying the course with your offense and letting that group find their feet. And, kudos to you for mixing and matching on defense until you found the right personnel, and turning guys like linebacker Terez Hall into under-the-radar stars.
Even the SEC Country staff has noticed! An admittedly jaded lot, we’ve moved you and your team up to ninth in the conference in our latest Power Poll voting.
Barry, in retrospect, your postgame speech after a big loss to Auburn looks like something that will define your career in a good way. I made fun of it, after your team didn’t beat Kentucky and fell flat in the second half against Georgia. But now, you’re getting the results you promised that night. You’re building around a young core of players, like Larry Rountree III, Hall, Tre Williams and more. You’ve got the buy-in from veterans like Lock and Emanuel Hall, guys that (likely) will be here in 2018.
“We are not winning games yet,” you said after the Auburn game. “But we will. I’m the man to go get it done with this staff, with this team, with this program.”
I didn’t think you were then. I’m sorry for that. If you were a coach more concerned with optics rather than reality (looking at you, Butch), that speech would be something for people to poke fun at down the road. But that’s not you. Your team finally found its identity — or maybe the Tigers already had it, but they weren’t expressing it yet.
You’re the identity of this team. I’m sorry for doubting. The stock in Columbia is rising, and I’m buying everything you’ve got.
Former skeptic Pete Scantlebury, third-team left tackle for Rock Bridge High School
P.S: Here are your Week 11 Power Poll standings:Results are below:
|1||Alabama (13 - 1)||337||25||1||1||2|
|2||Auburn (10 - 4)||311||1||3||1||3|
|3||Georgia (13 - 2)||288||0||2||2||3|
|4||Mississippi State (9 - 4)||255||0||4||4||5|
|5||LSU (9 - 4)||239||0||5||4||5|
|6||South Carolina (9 - 4)||187||0||6||6||11|
|7||Texas A&M (7 - 6)||173||0||7||6||12|
|8||Kentucky (7 - 6)||161||0||8||6||10|
|9||Missouri (7 - 6)||124||0||10||8||11|
|10||Ole Miss (6 - 6)||114||0||9||8||13|
|11||Florida (4 - 7)||75||0||11||7||13|
|12||Arkansas (4 - 8)||54||0||14||6||14|
|13||Vanderbilt (5 - 7)||30||0||13||10||14|
|14||Tennessee (4 - 8)||18||0||12||12||14|
This week's voters:
Alex Hickey (SEC Country)
Alex Martin Smith (SEC Country)
Andrew Astleford (SEC Country)
Ben Wolk (SEC Country)
Brandon Walker (SEC Country)
Chip Towers (DawgNation)
Chris Kirschner (SEC Country)
Christopher Walsh (SEC Country)
Eric Bolin (SEC Country)
Joe Mussatto (SEC Country)
Jordan Mcpherson (SEC Country)
Justin Ferguson (SEC Country)
Ken Bradley (SEC Country)
Lauren Shute (SEC Country)
Marq Burnett (SEC Country)
Seth Emerson (DawgNation)
Thomas Neumann (SEC Country)
Trent Shadid (SEC Country)
Zach Abolverdi (SEC Country)