If there was any doubt that we’re entering a new age of Missouri football, Wednesday erased that.
First, the pre-spring football depth chart was unremarkable save for one thing:
Kelly Bryant is the starter at quarterback.
Was Bryant not expected to be the starter? Of course not, He wouldn’t be here unless he was assured the starting spot. But saying that privately — no matter how obvious — is one thing. Putting Bryant at QB1 on the first depth chart of what will be his brief Missouri career is another.
Odom doesn’t have time to answer questions about who his starter is going to be. Odom doesn’t have time to do a song and dance routine to make it seem like it’s an open battle at quarterback and the best man, whoever that may be, will win out in the end.
Past iterations of Missouri teams may have done this differently. Gary Pinkel would have almost certainly kept this as open competition, at least through the spring.
Why waste time and breath discussing the inevitable?
Odom could have simply named Bryant the starter and then gone back to status quo for the spring — hiding his new starting quarterback and players behind closed practices and limited media availability.
The Barry Odom on this current timeline, though, has no time for BS.
Here's what #Mizzou coach Barry Odom had to say about allowing the media to view entire spring practices and making all players available for interviews after every practice: pic.twitter.com/mDhTC4zWqu— Daniel Jones (@daniel_m_jones) February 27, 2019
Sure, there’s that altruistic backbone to this decision. Let reporters in, let the players get comfortable with the media and let the following positive PR flow. Spring football, outside of arrests and injuries, is almost entirely good news. There are no disappointing losses or bad games to break down. Outside of roster updates and position battles, spring football is the breeding ground for uplifting features on players.
This accomplishes that. But it also does something else:
It lays everything out in the open. With the on-going appeal against the NCAA sanctions, this is a figurative message:
Odom has nothing to hide. He has nothing to keep from the public about his program.
There’s also the little matter of those vultures circling Missouri players in the wake of the sanctions, as teams are still trying to poach Bryant and other teammates to transfer. Odom has made those overtures public, calling out programs like Tennessee — going after his players like it’s last call at a bar.
Now, those players aren’t off limits to the media. Assuredly, they’re going to get questions about those schools. They’re going to get asked about their final decisions, stay or go. So now the players will also have a decision to make in how emphatically they say they’re staying, or how they dance around the questions if they aren’t sure.
Odom said he doesn’t expect any player to transfer. Maybe that’s the truth. But, with this move, he doesn’t have to keep answering the same question.
After all, he’s got no time for BS.