After an awful effort to start the year, Mark Stoops made the decision to take over the Kentucky defense. Though he’ll tell you otherwise, his impact alone has completely revamped a unit many considered among the worst in college football.
When he was hired at Kentucky, Mark Stoops was viewed as a defensive mastermind who managed to turn an atrocious Florida State defense (116th overall in 2009) into a top-three unit in the nation in back-to-back years (2011 and 2012). Up until this point, his defenses at UK have been subpar, with Vines (RIP) mocking their atrocious tackling ability and more “Come on, man!” moments than we care to count.
In Stoops’ own words, he had to spend way too much time working with the offense, where most believe he had to micromanage the unit due to lack of trust in Neal Brown and Shannon Dawson. After finding his “guy” in offensive coordinator Eddie Gran, he has now shifted his focus to the defense and has gotten hands-on with the unit. And it’s worked.
After giving up nearly 600 yards of offense last week against Middle Tennessee State, Missouri head coach Barry Odom plans to follow a similar route to Stoops, saying he will shift his focus to defense, his specialty.
Here are his quotes from the Associated Press:
“I’ve got an opportunity to go help that side out and I’m going to do it,” Odom said. “I’ve been trying to balance both sides along with some of the other things and I need to spend my focus there.”
Odom was Missouri’s defensive coordinator last season, and discussed the fine line between aiding and interfering.
“If there’s a call I really don’t like, or I don’t think it’s the right tine or fit for it, I’ll say something,” Odom said. “But also, as a head coach, I recall being a coordinator not that long ago and I want those guys to feel comfortable doing their work too, not overlooking all the time, ‘What’s the head coach thinking?'”
Missouri was a force on defense the past few years, where they ranked among the best in the SEC in the hands of Odom, who was the defensive coordinator at the time. After consecutive pathetic performances with “his” unit, he’s officially put his foot down.
Let’s hope Odom and the Missouri defense fails to find similar success to Mark Stoops tomorrow afternoon.