Missouri quarterback Drew Lock set school records with seven touchdown passes and 521 passing yards in the win over Missouri State last Saturday.

By Spencer Gleason


Before the Missouri Tigers began preparing for Saturday’s SEC opener against South Carolina, coach Barry Odom took some time to show his team the video of the win over Missouri State.

The video revealed what had also been evident as the 72-43 win occurred on the field – while the offense had a record-setting day, there were some serious concerns about the defense.

That has been the focus for Odom heading into the 6 p.m. game against South Carolina. The game in Columbia will be broadcast on ESPN2.

Missouri allowed 492 yards of total offense against the Bears, an FCS school, and 35 points in the first half, when Missouri State gained 380 of its yards.

“(It starts) with me and the play calling,” Odom said. “I’ve got to be better. Then we’ve got to be better at the point of attack on making the tackle. We’ve got to be better getting our eyes in the right spot. A couple times the other day we were too aggressive.

“We’ve had a number of meetings with both (coaching) staff and team and had very productive practices.”

It has been during those meetings and practices that Odom and the Tigers think they have made strides correcting their defensive mistakes.

“It’s a lot of correctable things,” Odom said. “Nobody wants to hear that and I understand that. But I feel pretty good going into week two realizing what the issues were, making the correct changes and pushing forward on who we are and getting better.”

One area Odom feels Missouri needs to cut down on is allowing explosive plays. Missouri State had six plays where they gained at least 20 passing yards or 12 rushing yards, combining to total 315 of their 492 yards.

As they enter play against SEC teams, Odom and the Tigers know they will have to limit those big plays if they want to have more success.

“If you’re going to be an average to good defense, you have to eliminate explosive plays,” Odom said. “The opponent is going to have players, too. But we’ve got to do a great job when they make a play to get them down and be sure tacklers.”

Odom noted that South Carolina’s Deebo Samuel is one player the Tigers will have to keep an eye on. Samuel was named SEC Special Teams Player of the Week after he opened the Gamecocks’ first game last week with a 97-yard kickoff return against North Carolina State. The Gamecocks won, 35-28.

“He is one of the best guys in the country,” Odom said. “And I thought that last year after we played them.”

The Gamecocks defeated Missouri 31-21 last season and South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp thinks this week’s contest will be another tight game.

“We have our work cut out for us,” Muschamp said. “Offensively, (Missouri’s) explosive – 72 points last week and 815 yards. Drew Lock can make all of the throws – the short ones, intermediate, the long throws. He’s got great arm talent and does have escape ability and scrambles to throw.”

Lock was named SEC Player of the Week after passing for 521 yards and seven touchdowns against Missouri State, both school records.

Since joining the SEC in 2012, Missouri has gone 2-3 against South Carolina.