Missouri coach Barry Odom formally introduced himself to the Southeastern Conference when he took to the podium for his first turn at SEC Media Days.
Odom served as defensive coordinator for the Tigers in 2015 and was promoted to the head position after former coach Gary Pinkel announced his resignation near the end of last season.
“I look at all of the many things with having the chance to lead a program. And if you look at life in general, it’s about opportunity. It’s about making an opportunity for yourself,” Odom said. “It’s about making opportunities for student-athletes, creating opportunities, and then what are you going do with those opportunities.”
It wasn’t long before Odom got to the microphone that news became public that Missouri’s athletic director, Mack Rhoades, would be leaving to take the same position at Baylor. Odom said he learned of Rhoades’ decision in a conversation he had Tuesday evening with the man who gave him the shot to coach his Alma mater.
“[Rhoades] and I talked a lot last night just about opportunities in life and in general,” Odom said. “I look forward to representing and leading our football program and our athletic department, and we’re going to go find a great [athletic director]. I look forward to being involved with that and helping if they want my help.”
Last season, the two-time defending SEC East champions stumbled their way to a 5-7 finish and won just one game in conference play. However, despite a disappointing result on the field, the Tigers made national headlines when they staged a boycott of football games and practices in support of Missouri student Jonathan Butler, who went on a hunger strike demanding improved treatment of minorities on campus in Columbia, Missouri.
“We definitely had a lot of adversity the last year. I think it does nothing but give you the opportunity to become a better team and to come closer,” said tight end Sean Culkin. “When last year was going on, obviously my teammates are brothers to me it’s a family so when they stand up for something like that we all have each other’s backs.”
The Tigers are losing leaders on both sides of the ball from last season including Kentrell Brothers, who led the nation in tackles, and leading rusher Russell Hansbrough. Defensive end Charles Harris will be tasked with filling in the void in production left by Brothers.
Harris led the Tigers in sacks as well as tackles for loss last season and although his name gets lost in a conference loaded with talented pass rushers, Harris certainly has no lack of. confidence in himself, especially when it comes to his prospects for next year’s NFL Draft.
“I feel like I’m the best,” Harris said. “I feel like I’m going to be one of the best to ever do it so why not go first?”
Harris isn’t the only one who believes in his abilities. Odom has the same level of confidence in his star pass rusher’s talent and his work ethic.
“If you come and watch us practice on Tuesday afternoon, it looks like it’s game day and it’s fourth and one,” Odom said. “I think that sets him apart. He’s got an inner drive and demeanor that he wants to be the best.”
Source:: The Crimson White Sports