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Barry Odom to spend more time with Missouri's defense as Tigers look to rebound

Here are today's Mizzou Links.

While the defense tries to sort out its depth this week, Odom plans to devote more time working with defensive coordinator DeMontie Cross to help fix a defense that’s plummeted to the bottom of the SEC. The Tigers have allowed a league worst 458.9 yards per game, up from 302 last year when MU ranked No. 2 in the SEC and No. 6 in the country, back when Odom was the coordinator under coach Gary Pinkel.

Odom stopped short of saying he’ll take over the play-calling duties, but he’ll clearly get more involved in game-planning. Cross, Odom’s Mizzou teammate in the 1990s, joined the staff in January after three years coaching at Texas Christian University.

"When you’re not playing well enough on one side of the ball, as the head coach everything goes across my desk, and I want to do everything I can to get it right," Odom said. "That’s the way I was brought up. That’s the way I believe in. I like our staff … and I love this team. We’re not winning yet. We’re going to. I got to find a way to get it done."

-- Post-Dispatch: With Scherer's status unclear, Odom takes on bigger role with defense

With a week to adapt to Michael Scherer's potentially devastating injury (not to mention another one to Terry Beckner Jr.), I assume the team will figure out something decent. Pretty much the worst possible injury situation is to have your quarterback (so to speak) go down at the start of a given game because you haven't even slightly prepared for it, and your entire game plan goes out the window. MTSU was able to pick on Mizzou's lack of organization all game. At the very least, Missouri will start the Kentucky game organized. I guess that's something.

Meanwhile, from the same piece:

The first-time head coach said his obligations outside of coaching have consumed more of his time than he anticipated, but he’s learned to manage his time better as the season has unfolded.

"I have a hard time saying no, or I have until lately," he said. "There’s a reason I’m standing here today (because) I’m a decent defensive coach. So I’m trying to help out a little bit on that side."

We heard very similar quotes from Kim Anderson in his first year. I'm not saying that as some sort of "Oh no, football's going to bottom out like basketball" harbinger -- I very much doubt that happens (and yes, I'd have "very much doubted" basketball would bottom out, too, shut up), but when you're a first-time head coach at this level, that is evidently a big lesson you have to learn. That's why experience is a good thing to have. But Odom will have it pretty soon.

Mizzou Tigers pennant 4 days to Kentucky

The Trib (Blake Toppmeyer): MU notes: Scherer, Beckner doubtful to play Saturday due to knee injuries

The Trib (Blake Toppmeyer): Barry Odom meets the press: Week 8

Post-Dispatch: Tiger Takeaways: Mizzou's house of horrors

Post-Dispatch: A look ahead for Mizzou

KC Star: Missouri linebacker Michael Scherer’s status remains uncertain, defense talks adjustments

B&G Illustrated: Missouri Media Day Notebook: Tigers Uncertain On Severity of Injuries

PowerMizzou: Monday Mizzou Notebook

Only one outlet is reporting this so far...

The Maneater: Scherer tears ACL and MCL in Middle Tennessee game

...but I don't think any of us would be surprised. We'll see if others report the same thing today.

I know less about targeting every week

Post-Dispatch: MU's Witter cleared to return after nasty collision

KC Star: Mizzou notebook: NCAA’s targeting rules remain a mystery

He said Monday he thought it was just "helmet-to-helmet."

Odom, speaking about the calls week-to-week, said he wasn’t quite sure what constitutes the penalty either.

"There’s obviously areas there that, depending on the camera angle, depending on the receiver or quarterback’s body positioning (it changes)," Odom said. "The rule is very specific and the officials have done an unbelievable job on explaining to me exactly what it is. We’ve got to go with it."

I actually thought I had a decent feel for what is and isn't targeting, but between some calls and no-calls during Mizzou-MTSU and a blatant helmet-to-helmet blow that wasn't called early in Bama-A&M, I'm finding I know absolutely nothing. I didn't realize that the "defenselessness" part was so vital. But that Bama-A&M hit was vicious ... and legal, apparently. It shouldn't have been.

3 pm next week for South Carolina

Just call that the Mizzou Time Slot from now on.

Mizzou Tigers pennant RIP

The Trib: Former MU basketball coach Vanatta dies

Mizzou Tigers pennant Award tour Mizzou's Munlyn Named Week 9 SEC Player of the Week

Mizzou Tigers pennant She will win SEC diver of the week quite a bit:

The Missourian: Lauren Reedy's dives taking her to new heights