By Elizabeth Aber
Missouri football opens up Southeastern Conference play against South Carolina this Saturday after it blowout win over Southeast Missouri State. The Tigers are looking for their first win over the Gamecocks since Barry Odom took over the program in 2015.
Last year, South Carolina kicker Parker White nailed a 33-yard field goal with two seconds left to secure a 37-35 win for the Gamecocks.
“You better be really good at special teams,” Odom said. “So I think the quicker the guys can get that mindset, that it’s another phase of the game, just like offense and defense, it makes us a lot better in that area.”
WATCH: Odom press conference highlights: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ijQGShsyAzU
Odom praised South Carolina’s backup quarterback Ryan Hilinski, “Hilinski’s a super talented kid,” Odom said. “He doesn’t look rattled.”
Hilinski took over for starting quarterback Jake Bentley, who will undergo surgery and miss the rest of the regular season after he fractured his left foot in South Carolina’s 24-20 loss to North Carolina two weeks ago.
Defensively, Odom’s focus is on stopping what has been a productive Gamecock rushing attack. USC has 756 yards on the ground, 251 of those belonging to senior tailback Rico Dowdle.
“We’ve got to be great tacklers. They run so physical, not just Rico but all of them,” Odom said.
The weather forecast for this week’s game looks to be the same as last year’s, with a high chance of rain. Odom mentioned that the team will be doing wet ball drills in practice to prepare for any unfortunate weather.
Odom said he knows that after the win over SEMO, his guys were excited and he wanted to let them celebrate but also let them know that it was on to the next one. He applauded the Missouri fans for their intensity saying, “you could feel the energy.”
The biggest piece of injury news is that defensive linemen Trajan Jeffcoat will “get another look” at his injured elbow this week. Missouri(2-1) and South Carolina (1-2) sqare off at 3 p.m. CST on Saturday. You can hear the call on KCOU 88.1 FM, and kcou.fm.
Edited by Garrett Jones- firstname.lastname@example.org