In a somewhat surprising move, Mizzou’s Offensive Line coach Glen Elarbee decided to accept a job with Josh Heupel at UCF and leave head coach Barry Odom in a bit of a lurch. Gabe DeArmond was the first to report.
Sources: #Mizzou offensive line coach Glen Elarbee is following Josh Heupel to UCF. Elarbee not at Mizzou practice today. I’m told Barry Odom will address situation after practice. Believe Elarbee will be UCF OC, not 100% on the that.— Gabe DeArmond (@GabeDeArmond) December 8, 2017
Elarbee was widely praised for his helping boost the Tigers offensive line production after two very lack luster seasons in 2014 and 2015. The boost contributed to the complete offensive turnaround steered by Josh Heupel as the Offensive Coordinator.
In 2015, the Missouri offense was 120th in the country, that improved to 42nd in 2016 and 10th in 2017. The turnaround had a lot to do with Drew Lock and the position players, but the offensive line went from liability to stalwart.
After practice today, Barry Odom broke down the decision by Elarbee to move on and while he said he was happy for Heupel, his phrasing on Elarbee’s decision was less diplomatic.
Barry Odom says he’s “indifferent” to Glen Elarbee’s decision to follow Josh Heupel to UCF. pic.twitter.com/mHHoDy4jNd— Aaron Reiss (@aaronjreiss) December 8, 2017
Word is Odom learned of the decision this morning at 5:30, so you can only imagine why 12 hours later he still couldn’t quite say thank you or good luck to Elarbee. Indifferent is quite a choice in words. You are easily led to think perhaps Elarbee led players and staff to believe he was staying. I say that because Odom followed up his comments like this:
Barry Odom: “We’ve got a lot of really good coaches around here who care about our kids. Their word means something, and that means something to me.”— Aaron Reiss (@aaronjreiss) December 8, 2017
Coaches move on for better jobs and new opportunities all the time. This isn’t a new thing despite Gary Pinkel basically having the same staff for his entire time at Mizzou. It’s a little schadenfreude-ish for Mizzou fans to be trashing Elarbee when we don’t really know the circumstances. It’s hard for me to begrudge anyone taking a job they think is better. And there is a chance Elarbee may be getting a raise and a boost in title as well. It would be hard for him to turn down a coordinator position because it wasn’t going to happen at Missouri. Mizzou needs someone with that title who can coach Quarterbacks.
So Barry Odom’s assistants are getting hired away, let’s hope that means he’s good at picking them (I’m just going to ignore the whole Jackie Shipp thing and the Demontie Cross thing) and he picks up another OL coach who will keep this unit elite.
Not everything out of the post-practice presser was bad news.
IN OTHER NEWS
Ryan Walters is a fast riser and close with Barry Odom. It makes sense to make this move because it’s unlikely Odom can draw another Defensive Coordinator to the school when everyone knows it’s Barry’s defense. He’s still going to call plays, but having a Coordinator he trusts in place should let him give up some of the control.
"I'm really excited for Ryan and the stability that he will bring to our program, he's been a tremendous leader and mentor for our players," said Odom. "He's one of the best recruiters I've been around and his football IQ is top of the line. He's been a great addition to our staff, we've been able to work together now for some time, and he's had an opportunity every year to go somewhere. He's a loyal guy who loves Mizzou, he cares about our student-athletes and he cares about having a great defense. He's done a great job down the stretch here helping us get better every day on that side of the ball," Odom said.
"This is definitely very humbling, I'm excited and grateful for the opportunity," said Walters. "Any time you get a chance to work for a great man in Coach Odom and a great school like the University of Missouri, it's very exciting. I'm looking forward to working with our staff; it's been a collective effort from the beginning. We've got great chemistry in that room, and I'm looking forward to continue building relationships and getting our student-athletes to succeed on and off the field. I'm excited for the future and can't wait to get to the bowl game and do everything we can to end this season the right way," he said.
So congrats Ryan!