By Cole Tussing
Missouri football opens up its 2019 season campaign down in Laramie, Wyoming to take on the Wyoming Cowboys. Kickoff is 6:30 pm, and the Tigers are heavy favorites. The last time the Tigers won a road opener was in 1978 in a 3-0 win over Notre Dame.
This is the second all-time game against the Cowboys and the Tigers. Head coach Barry Odom said his team is prepared no matter who the opponent is week one.
“Well any opener you play, you get all the film from the previous year and do analytical studies of what they were last year,” Odom said. “Follow the reports on their spring practices. Piece all that information together, offense and defense, and plan how you’ll attack. This game is no different than our other openers that we’ve had. We understand the unknown of going into a week 1, and there’s always unknown in a game and you make in-game adjustments. We are familiar with the personnel because we played them last year, after each game of the series you adjust. Focus on them, and also focus on ourselves, to put us in the best position.”
The team is familiar with Wyoming after a 40-13 win last September, but they also have to take special consideration with the landscape and elevation. The elevation is not the same when comparing Laramie which has an elevation of 7,165 feet compared to Columbia which checks in at 758 feet.
Odom said he gave the team a lesson on what elevation is, and how it all works.
“We talk about the factors, the environment, the arena we’re stepping into, and more importantly medicine and nutrition. Did as many studies as we could on how to change our diet, 3 weeks before, and we did that.”
Finally, when a new season comes around, two things are for sure- there’s going to be new faces and personalities that need to be adjusted and into the system. For Missouri, it starts at the helm of the team- the quarterback position.
NOW ON KCOU SPORTS YOUTUBE: Odom Press Conference Highlights- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FE9Ek8vFacI
Denver Broncos rookie quarterback and former Tiger star Drew Lock threw for 398 yards and 4 touchdowns against the Cowboys last season. Odom acknowledged Bryant is dealing with immense pressure to perform in his one season of eligibility.
“He’s got a unique skillset,” Odom said. “He’s also very determined on wanting to play well. The opportunity is there for him. The expectations that he feels, that we’ve all put on him, we need 10 guys to play well, and he needs to be him, rather than something he’s not.”
On the defensive side of the ball, the coaching staff saw a shakeup. David Gibbs, the defensive back coach, was the highlight hire this past season. Vernon Hargreaves is coming into his 2nd year as the linebacker coach.
“Anytime you have changes in staff, and you always want to make sure everything’s the right listen to them talk cause they all speak the same language,” Odom said. The experience, they look like a more confident group right now, then we were at any point last year. Now we have to put it into 4 quarters at that level.”
NCAA Sanctions Update
There is still no update on the postseason ban punishment that was announced by the NCAA last year. Tiger fans are hoping to find out the news soon, wondering if this will be a special year for the program. Even so, with the season approaching, it doesn’t seem like the anticipation has distracted the team’s focus in the locker room.
“We know we will get the news, whenever that happens, whatever it’s going to be,” Odom said. “Then you look at how do you handle that, the attitude, the mindset, grit, the toughness, the love, the things you build your program on.”
South Endzone Update
The new South Endzone Project at Memorial Stadium’s construction deadline is fast approaching. The facilities are noteworthy by themselves, the university introduced a new Tiger statue outside the front entrance, the new videoboard is testing video periodically throughout the day on campus. A lot of contributors to make this project even remotely possible.
“It’s great. And really thankful to all the folks that played a part in pulling it off,” Odom said. “It takes the leadership on campus, leadership of the athletic department, vision of getting it done, the finance backing it up and making it happen. Over the last couple of weeks, there’s been over 300 employees a day, trying to get ready.”
Edited by Garrett Jones | firstname.lastname@example.org