From the “The move makes sense, but the timing is odd” department: Missouri just announced that it is relieving defensive coordinator Demontie Cross of his duties.
Statement from Missouri on Cross no longer being part of the football staff pic.twitter.com/yKwLPGcyWg— Dave Matter (@Dave_Matter) September 10, 2017
Text of the message:
COLUMBIA, Mo. -- University of Missouri Defensive Coordinator and Inside Linebackers coach DeMontie Cross has been relieved of his coachign duties, effective immediately, Tiger Head Coach Barry Odom announced Sunday afternoon.
"I am very appreciative of all that DeMontie has done for Mizzou, and am sorry that this did not work out, however, after careful evaluation, I believe it is important to make this change now," Odom said.
An original member of Odom's staff, Cross returned to his alma mater with 18 years of coaching experience, including 12 seasons with Power 5 programs and five more in the National Football League.
Cross will be paid based upon the terms of his contract according to school officials.
The move is a little strange in that it comes two games into the season, and after Missouri held South Carolina to a solid 5.3 yards per play in a 31-13 loss on Saturday night. Odom elected to keep Cross after a disappointing 2016 campaign, then kept him after a disastrous first-game performance against Missouri State. But after the Tigers allowed 35 points in the first half against MSU, the defense allowed only 32 points in the last three halves -- not great, but definitively better.
As odd as the timing is, however, it's been clear that Missouri's defense is not up to snuff, both from an execution standpoint and an instruction standpoint. That alone makes this move less than surprising, even if it smells of scapegoating to some degree.
We’ll find out more details soon, obviously. One would assume that either Odom will assume defensive coordinator duties, or that he will promote co-coordinator Ryan Walters to full-time duties. Brian Odom could be moved from outside linebackers coach to linebackers coach, too. Or, depending on what names the head coach has in the Rolodex, technically an in-season replacement could be found.