After five weeks of the college football season, the Missouri football team will leave Columbia for the first time Saturday night to play Kentucky in Lexington.
“I think guys are excited because it’s a little bit strange for us,” Mizzou head coach Barry Odom said on today’s SEC teleconference. “We’re sitting in October and it’ll be our first away game, so we’re excited about that opportunity.”
For the first time all season, the Tigers’ uptempo offense will have an opposing crowd interfere with their ability to make calls. Creating explosive plays will be much more difficult, but it can’t get much worse.
“It may be good for us because neither side of the ball has played that well at home,” Odom said. “We’re excited about getting on the road in a great environment I know (there) will be Saturday night. For us, we’ve got to focus playing one play at a time and one snap at a time and get involved in the game. If you’ve prepared the right way, you let it happen and go make plays. Don’t try to stress to do too much.”
After scoring 72 in their opener against FCS Missouri State, over the next three games the Tigers could not score more than 14 points in a single game and surrendered 117 total points. The good news for Odom: his team had a bye week to get their ish together.
Mark Stoops said on his teleconference appearance, “I’m sure just like any of us on a Bye Week, you have an opportunity to sit back and reflect on some of the good things you’ve done and some of the things you need to improve on. I’m sure they’ll be rested and playing fast like they always do. So it’s going to be a real challenge and I’m looking forward to the opportunity this Saturday.”
One person Odom’s team must contain to have a chance on the road is UK quarterback Stephen Johnson. From an opponent’s perspective, Johnson does all of the right things.
“He’s playing like a really veteran guy. He’s able if you do have an opportunity to play well on coverage, specifically on third down, he always knows where the sticks are and he’s able to get the yardage and do what he needs to do in the run game with the quarterback run game. He’s so savvy with that.”
Odom added: “He’s just doing things right. He orchestrates what Eddie has them do offensively. It doesn’t look like he’s ever in a strained situation. He’s able to deliver the ball on really any position on the field. He’s got a nice release….He’s a natural. He looks like a savvy veteran guy.”