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Barry Odom provided more fuel to the fans who’ve never been on board

Mizzou’s loss to Vanderbilt is another notch for those who never wanted him hired to begin with. At some point, he’s going to have to stop giving them fuel to add to the fire.

NCAA Football: Missouri at Vanderbilt Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

It sucks. It really does.

If you’re looking for catharsis, I’m not sure I’ll be able to provide any. Quite frankly, that was an awful loss to a team who - the previous week - had lost to a bad UNLV team by 24 points. Missouri came out and looked lethargic and uninterested in a game which could keep them in first place, and in the pole position for the SEC East race coming down the stretch. I know sports are weird, but Missouri had everything to play for and failed to show up.

From the kick, Vanderbilt played like a team with something to prove, and Missouri played like a team who expected to show up and walk out of Nashville 6-1.

For weeks we’ve been telling you this was a good Missouri team, one who lost a horrible quarter to a mediocre Wyoming team on the road, but was otherwise really good and worthy of your attention and excitement. They played great defense, moved the ball with competency on offense, and were playing like a top 20 level team.

None of that was true yesterday. Missouri was awful.

On offense, they were out-gained by the 76th rated offense in SP+ and held in check offensively by the 99th rated defense. Things get worse when it comes to the things you can control, like penalties, for which Missouri had 12 for 120 yards. Essentially, they gifted a bad offense (and a bad defense) 120 extra yards. And as much as we’ve talked about how the penalties were something which would come back to haunt them... it did last night.

All the issues or question marks Missouri fans have about Barry Odom surfaced in an ugly way. The sloppy play, the special teams gaffes, the lackluster performance against an inferior opponent. All of it.

That Mizzou seems prone to these performances is a troubling trend, no doubt. The overall trend for Odom’s program still seems to be moving upward, which then makes the hiccups even more glaring. With a rise in play and performance, so goes the expectations, and the expectations for this team have been raised. With a combination of the weakened and flawed SEC East, Missouri had managed to put themselves into the thick of the competition for a division title. They controlled their own destiny.

But teams who win divisions don’t lose to teams like Vanderbilt.

I want to give at least... a little credit... to the Commodores. I’ve watched portions of Vandy play in four of their games. This was as good as they’ve looked defensively. And I’ll also go to bat for Derek Mason, who I think has largely done a good job in Nashville. Vanderbilt is a really tough job. There’s a completely apathetic fan base and James Franklin skewed the results in a time when Georgia, Florida and Tennessee weren’t exactly great. If Vandy moves on from Mason, I’m sure there are other better jobs out there where he can get the job done, because he can script a defense.

If anything, maybe we’re guilty of overselling Missouri. They don’t have good offensive line play, and they still struggle to generate a pass rush without a blitz. Most games are won and lost at the line of scrimmage, and Mizzou struggled to give Kelly Bryant enough time to survey the field or many running lanes for their backs. On the other side of the ball, Jordan Elliot makes a ton of plays and Nick Bolton has been awesome. Kobie Whiteside has gotten to the quarterback, but Chris Turner has two sacks and only Franklin Agbasimere has a sack from the defensive end position.

The offensive line keeping a cleaner pocket might help make Bryant seem more accurate, but after Albert Okwuegbunam, which Mizzou pass catcher has stood out?

I still believe in the progress of the program overall, but Barry Odom really needs to shore up these problem areas if he’s going to ‘fix’ these types of losses. This is a good team, but it’s a flawed one. I said so after week two.

When you’re not Clemson or Alabama, or Ohio State or maybe even LSU, you’re part of a big soft middle where there are good teams capable of playing bad, and bad teams capable of playing good. Illinois beating 6th ranked Wisconsin, Texas needed a last second field goal to clip Kansas, Boise State, ranked 14th, losing to BYU on the road, Missouri’s choke on the road at Vandy, they’re all examples of the soft middle. Missouri has moved themselves into the upper tier of the soft middle, but they're not out of the pack. Until they are, Odom and his staff are responsible for turning the fan angst back around.

This sums up a lot of how I feel about the Odom era so far. His flaw is things are either sink or swim. There’s never a tread mode.

Here’s the box:

vanderbilt statbroadcast 2019 football
vanderbilt statbroadcast 2019 football

Other SEC Scores:

  • LSU 36, Mississippi State 13
  • Florida 38, South Carolina 27
  • Georgia 21, Kentucky 0
  • Auburn 51, Arkansas 10
  • Texas A&M 24, Ole Miss 17
  • Alabama 35, Tennessee 13

Yesterday at Rock M Nation:

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