Now that the regular season is over, let’s take a look at Mizzou’s final defensive numbers under Barry Odom.
The Tigers are second nationally in tackles for loss at 8.83 per game.
They are seventh in scoring defense, allowing 16.2 points per game.
They are seventh in pass defense, allowing 169.3 yards per game.
They are ninth in total defense, allowing 302.0 yards per game.
That’s a top-10 finish in every important statistical category except for turnovers.
By the way, Missouri finished 117th in time of possession this season. That means that only 11 defenses were on the field longer than the Tigers.
Here’s what those numbers looked like for Mizzou in 2014 under Dave Steckel.
The Tigers were ninth in tackles for loss, with 7.43 per game.
They were tied for 19th in scoring defense, allowing 21.1 points per game.
They were 40th in pass defense, allowing 212.7 yards per game.
They were 23rd in total defense, allowing 345.9 yards per game.
The 2015 Mizzou defense was better than the 2014 unit in just about every statistical category except for turnovers; the ’14 Tigers caused 22 and the ’15 caused 16.
What makes these improvements even more remarkable? Last season’s defense was led by Shane Ray, the SEC defensive player of the year and a first-round pick of the Denver Broncos. Markus Golden was drafted in the second round by the Arizona Cardinals. Braylon Webb, who was a three-year starter and arguably Missouri’s best safety since William Moore, was lost to graduation. And Harold Brantley, who is one of the most athletic defensive tackles in the country, didn’t play this because of an offseason car accident.
I’m not kidding about Brantley being a freak athlete. Watch this. How many defensive tackles in the country can run like that? I imagine Brantley and Terry Beckner Jr. are going to be the best defensive tackle tandem in the country next season. Add Charles Harris to that group and you’re looking at another dominant 2016 Mizzou defense.
I’ve mentioned this before, but when Odom took over as defensive coordinator, he also took over the linebackers. During that time, he took Kentrell Brothers from relative obscurity and turned him into arguably the best linebacker in the country.
For the people concerned about things staying “too much the same,” you need to realize that if Odom is given the opportunity, there are going to be a lot of changes. It might make a lot of people upset because they don’t necessarily understand what’s happening behind the scenes, but there certainly would be changes.
Every thing Odom touches turns to gold. Do the right thing, Mizzou: Make Odom your coach.
(You can follow T.J. Moe on Twitter @TJMoe28)
(Feature photo PHOTO COURTESY OF UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI)
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