The bye week worries haven’t gotten to the Tigers. And certainly not Missouri offensive coordinator Derek Dooley. As players were in their stretching lines getting warmed up Tuesday morning, off to the side, Dooley was having a warm-up of his own, knocking out some push ups.
Dooley’s offense put up 423 yards of offense against South Carolina, but looked far from perfect. This Saturday, he’ll look to tear through a Troy defense that gave up over 500 yards to Arkansas State last week.
Head Coach Barry Odom has been vocal about the adjustments made in order to cure the bye week hangover his teams usually suffer. The Tigers put time into the weight and film rooms. They installed their game plan at practice and analyzed their offensive, defensive and special team performance. “I thought our team handled the week in a very mature way,” Odom said. “We’re a healthy a team as we’ve been since we’ve started, which is awesome.”
The Tigers knew that the bye week meant a lot — not only for Troy — but what lies ahead.
“There was a great sense of urgency and focus that was felt throughout the entire organization as we get into the next four game stretch,” said Odom.
How focused was this team in the bye week? Coach Odom’s answer is clear.
“Better than it’s ever been.”
With Missouri at the edge of the AP Poll, the Tigers are close to breaking the national spotlight. One, or maybe two, more wins should push the Tigers into the national poll, but for now the Tigers are focused on Saturday, on the Troy Trojans- a team with the nation’s twelfth best total offense and ninth best passing offense.
Transitioning to Troy
Odom said that the 2-2 Trojans are simply a few unlucky breaks away from being undefeated, “They’re scoring over 40 points a game. They’re averaging five hundred plus yards a game and then defensively, they’re aggressive,” he said. “They’re so good against the run, cause you a lot of different issues in the way that they align and the way that they play.”
He also believes the Trojans will be bringing everything they have on Saturday. “They’re on attack mode for 60 minutes,” he said. “They got great players, great coaches and a great team.”
- Odom on Troy quarterback Kaleb Barker: “He is as talented as a guy as we will see all year. He can make every throw. He’s got, really, a level of confidence in the way that he plays,” said Odom. “He’s a really good runner.” The Senior has a completion percentage of 65.1% this season (the exact same as Kelly Bryant’s completion percentage, oddly enough). Barker has thrown the twelfth most passing yards in the country with 1,367 through four games.
- On the Troy defense: “They’re good. They’re good up front, they’re good in the box and they’ve got great support, they play with leverage,” he said.
- In national news, Odom responded about the new California law that will allow college athletes to profit off endorsement deals, their name, image or likeness starting in 2023: “I’m sure there will be meaningful discussions upcoming with that, I’m excited and anxious to be a part of it but I also know that as soon as individual states start making decisions… it’s going to take a lot of time,” he said. “It’s going to take a lot of folks getting together to decide how we’re going to proceed with this.”
- Tight end Brendan Scales is ahead of schedule in his injury recovery and returned to practice.
- Trajan Jeffcoat has also fully resumed practice.
- The latest odds have Missouri as a 25 point favorite over Troy. The Tigers are healthy and the momentum is in their favor. Odom’s struggles after the bye week could be the only cause for concern this Saturday. But he’s changed his usual process and made a concerted effort to end the losing streak. Now, Tiger fans will have to wait and see if Odom and team can decisively turn the page.