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Barry Odom Has Been In This Position Before; How Will He Respond This Time?

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Bouncing back from frustrating losses has been one of Barry Odom’s strengths as a head coach, and it desperately needs to happen again on Saturday.

AutoZone Liberty Bowl - Missouri v Oklahoma State Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Unfortunately, we have reached familiar territory with Missouri head coach Barry Odom— not just in terms of frustrating losses or slow starts to the season— but once again, Odom is under some serious pressure as the Tigers’ head coach. An 0-1 start to the season in a game you were expected to win will do that. It’s happened before under Barry Odom, but he’s been able to turn things around.

In back-to-back seasons, Barry Odom has made the most out of some pressure-filled situations. He is no stranger to this.

What happened in 2017?

Starting the season 1-5 was a disaster, but it resulted in a second-half comeback for the ages to finish 7-5 and at the very least make a bowl game. I mean, not a lot of teams can say they have accomplished that.

What happened in 2018?

A 4-4 record through eight games with losses to South Carolina and Kentucky was certainly not what everybody wanted, but rattling off a four-game winning streak and being ranked in the Top 25 salvaged something out of Drew Lock’s senior year.

NCAA Football: Missouri at Tennessee Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Look, aside from the Florida win, I realize that these second half surges weren’t against top-tier SEC teams, but you’ve still got to play who you have on the schedule. And while it doesn’t excuse the slow starts to the season, Odom has been able to make something out of nothing, and there’s a lot that can be said about that.

From 4-8 to 7-6 to 8-5, Barry Odom has managed to improve his record every season, and there’s no reason to believe he can’t this year. Yes— Missouri lost to Wyoming — but that doesn’t mean it has to carry over to other games on the schedule. Momentum in College Football doesn’t have to matter.

Revisiting what transpired the last two seasons, what Odom pulled off leads us to believe three things— he doesn’t lose his teams, they get better as the season goes along, and they play better with their backs against the wall.

These three things are significant, and each will need to come to fruition once again this season, because - frankly - that’s just what needs to happen in order to rebound from Saturday’s disappointment.

The loss to Wyoming was awful. There’s no denying it. But there is also no need to dwell on it any longer because it could make matters worse. It can be a fluke, just a blip on the radar, and doesn’t need to be a harbinger for the season. A sense of desperation with this group would not be a bad thing.

Moving forward, there are 11 guaranteed games remaining on the schedule to right the ship, and it has to start on Saturday against West Virginia. The five game home stand was always the most important stretch going into the season, but it is even more crucial now.

Week 2 against West Virginia was not supposed to be considered a big win. Now it has to be.

There is presently less than zero room for error after Week One, but Barry Odom has been here before. How will he handle adversity this time around? We will find out a lot about this team on Saturday.