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Barry Odom on Missouri’s defense: “As bad as it seemed on the field, it was that bad on video.”

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As frustrating as it was for you/us to watch Missouri’s defensive play on Saturday, at least you’re not the head coach: Barry Odom has watched it far more than once. And evidently it wasn’t any better watching on film.

“As bad as it seemed on the field, it was that bad on video,” said Odom, who started watching tape immediately following Saturday’s press conference. [...]

Like he did Saturday, Odom expressed disappointment in the team’s tackling and said there were too many times defensive backs were simply looking in the wrong spot.

As I wrote on Sunday morning, the fact that Mizzou DBs were “looking in the wrong spot” in what should have been the simplest game plan of the year is terrifying. Granted, Missouri State’s motion probably had a lot to do with that, but, well, motion isn’t exactly an unused offensive technique.

The only solace here, once again, is that things got better. But getting a 25-minute look at this defense’s floor — in the first 25 minutes of the season, no less — was jarring.

Also on the bright(ish) side: Rashad Brandon might be really, really good.

Q: Was Rashad Brandon as good as it looked like he was?

Odom: "Yeah, he's got a chance to be a really good player. It's been good for him going against our offense up front with some of the guys we've got on that side because he shows up in practice too. I think with a couple of guys that we've got in there, three or four or five guys that we've got at that spot, all have a chance to help us. That's a spot that you want to be pretty good at, interior defensive line. I think with hard work and determination I think we've got a chance to get there with those guys."

Dave Matter took an extended look at MSU’s four biggest plays, if you’re a glutton for punishment.

As you would probably expect, defense was a topic on my Monday Big Show appearance.

So was offense, though! And it probably goes without saying that Josh Heupel liked what he saw on Saturday.

The success of Johnathon Johnson in the slot might be as important to Mizzou’s offense as anything else.

Johnson provides a constant threat for Missouri coming out of the slot, forcing defenses to leave other defensive backs in one-on-one situations or pulling pass-rushers away from the line to help in pass coverage. The problems Johnson causes create a dream scenario for Heupel.

“That slot player can eliminate some of the roll coverage to one of the outside guys,” Heupel said. “His ability to play fast inside and maybe be a matchup issue for some defenses as far as, ‘Do you want to keep a third backer out there, or do they want to play with a nickel?’ ... I think it’s critical in how you game-plan as an offense.”

Heupel thinks the Mizzou offense has come along significantly since the last time the Tigers faced South Carolina.

“I don’t think we were ready to compete at that level (last year),” Heupel said. “Our competitive spirit is different than it was a year ago. Our maturity is different than it was a year ago. That doesn’t mean we’re going to have the same output we did a week ago, but I think our kids are ready to go compete. … Our guys will be ready.”

Heupel talked about what he sees in the South Carolina defense.

Q: When you look at the South Carolina defense, what strengths stand out to you?

JH: “To be honest, I think their balance. I think their second level players are guys that have the ability to get to the football and make a bunch of plays. In particular, number 10 (Skai Moore) and number 6 (T.J. Brunson). Those guys can get to the football. They do a good job of reading their keys and getting to the right fit. Their nickel, number 21 (Jamyest Williams), an explosive young player. Know he’s a freshman, but you can see that he’s physical and can run. Does a good job in coverage. The corners were a big test for us a year ago and were competitive to the ball. Those are matchups that are going to be competitive all day long. Then their front four is really good as well. In particular, the thickness and the stoutness up front on the inside. They have quality players on all three levels, first, second and third level players, and it’s going to be competitive in all facets of the game because of that.”

With as well as Mizzou receivers blocked on Saturday, it’ll be really interesting to see how much of a drop-off in blocking success there is against SC. There will be a drop-off of some level simply because the competition is improving, but how much? Is that sideline passing game, with the blocking associated with it, going to be a legitimate weapon all season? If anything, Heupel was impressed with the receivers’ fight and feistiness against MSU.

“Those (blocks) are the ones that everybody can see,” Heupel said. “A year ago, our guys didn’t compete as hard as you have to out there on the perimeter. It’s been a challenge from our coaching staff and Coach Hill. Those guys answered.”

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