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Brother’s departure allows Barry Odom a chance to shake things up

Here are today’s Mizzou Links.

Barry Odom has some work to do on his staff

For the most part, it was a pretty slow day on the Mizzou beat yesterday... that is, if you don’t count the fact that a football coach named, “Odom,” was hired away by a former Big XII rival.

Missouri was unable to confirm the reports. Should Odom leave, Missouri now has four vacancies to fill on its coaching staff: tight ends coach Joe Jon Finley, senior defensive analyst Ted Monachino and defensive analyst Neal Renna left for Texas A&M, Kansas State and Eastern Illinois, respectively. Barry Odom could go a number of ways with his coaching vacancies and even create a new spot should he make inside linebackers coach Vernon Hargreaves in charge of the entire position.

As we noted yesterday, there were reports out last week that Brian Odom had decided to turn down Oklahoma’s offer to stay in Columbia. Obviously something changed.

One of the major hinderances to Odom’s young career has been the inconsistency of his coaching staffs. We’ve seen a lot of coaches come and go — some for good reasons, some for bad — and we’re in another offseason of uncertainty when it comes to who will round out the sideline.

Odom, though, now has a chance to make some hires that could really change the complexion of the defense. Three out of the four open positions are on that side of the ball, and a lot of fans have grumbled about the amount of responsibilities defensive coordinator Ryan Walters has on his plate — he also coaches defensive backs.

Should Odom choose to do so, he could bring in several new faces to shift defensive responsibilities around, freeing up Walters to take a more managerial role. So while Brian Odom’s departure stings a little, it offers Odom the opportunity to shake things up for a defense that has struggled with consistency over the past few years.

Tilmon the sixth man?

Jeremiah Tilmon is in a bit of a rut over the past three games, posting more personal fouls (15) than points and rebounds combined (14). A lot of people have floated around the idea of taking Tilmon’s starting spot away, but Ben Hochman at the St. Louis Post Dispatch sees things a little differently.

This is not some sort of punishment for Mizzou’s sophomore center. On the contrary, this suggestion is a way to maximize his game. Have him begin the game from a different vantage point. He can see how the refs are calling things from the bench. And as a reserve, he won’t carry that pressure of “being a starter” and needing to impact the game immediately — which is possibly affecting him negatively as a too-aggressive starter. Shoot, maybe if it’s even just a couple of possessions on the bench. But give Tilmon a different in-game routine than the one that’s clearly not working (and hasn’t, consistently, since he arrived to Columbia).

This is a hard situation for Cuonzo as he’s got a bit of a Catch-22 on his hands. Leaving Tilmon on the bench considerably lowers Missouri’s ceiling. Tilmon may struggle with consistency, but he’s undoubtedly one of the most talented big men in the SEC — he just hasn’t figured out how to harness his abilities yet.

However, there could be some wisdom in the idea. Right now, Missouri is barely getting Tilmon’s best, mostly because he never has any time to get in the swing of the game. He plays short bursts between fouls and hasn’t looked comfortable since his double-double against Illinois. Should Martin decide to bring Tilmon off the bench, it might allow him to be used in more selective situations: sort of like an in-game scout.

Whatever he decides to do, it should be with the future in mind. Tilmon still has at least another year in a Tiger uniform, and we’ve seen exactly what he can do when he’s confident. Martin should do whatever it takes to get the double-double monster out of him... even if that means cutting him from the starters list.

Yesterday at Rock M

More Links:

  • PowerMizzou is gearing back up for the late signing period — and 2020 classes — in football. They posted a list of Missouri’s top 2020 defensive line targets ($$) and subscribers can find lots of other good information about 2019 recruits on their message boards.
  • Hearnes just got some new eye candy!
  • Mizzou Gymnastics continues to make its way up the NCAA polls by moving into the Top 10.