Missouri head coach Barry Odom will assume more responsibility for the team's defense because of the firing of the defensive coordinator. (File)

By Spencer Gleason

Since firing defensive coordinator and inside linebackers coach DeMontie Cross, Missouri head coach Barry Odom has added more to his plate this week.

As the Tigers prepare for their week three matchup against the Purdue Boilermakers (1-1) on Saturday in Columbia, Odom will continue calling plays from the sideline, as well as coaching the inside linebackers.

Co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach Ryan Walters, defensive line coach Brick Haley and outside linebackers coach Brian Odom will also assist the second-year head coach with those duties.

Earlier this week, Odom said Cross was fired because of “philosophical differences” and it had “absolutely zero to do with on-the-field performance or non-performance.”

Although the Tigers have allowed the most points within the SEC in the first two weeks (74), some of South Carolina’s tallies last week came at the hands offensive turnovers and special team miscues in the Tigers’ 31-13 loss.

Odom’s hiring of Cross was one of the first administrative moves he made when he took over the football program in December 2015. Saturday’s contest against Purdue will be the first time Odom will coach without Cross on the sideline.

The game will be broadcast on the SEC Network at 3 p.m.

It will be the two teams’ first matchup since they squared off in the 1980 Liberty Bowl. The Boilers won, 28-25. The Tigers are 2-6 all-time against Purdue, with their last win in 1953.

“(It’s a) huge game with Purdue coming in,” Odom said. “They’re playing really, really well.”

Purdue defeated Ohio 44-21 last week and the offense has been clicking, especially in the red zone. They are a perfect 9-for-9 inside the 20-yard line, with six touchdowns and three field goals in the first two games.

Quarterback David Blough is 29-for-39 with five touchdowns and just two interceptions. He has a string of 14 games with at least one touchdown, which is the fourth longest active streak among FBS quarterbacks. Drew Brees was the last Purdue quarterback to accomplish the feat, when he had an 18-game streak between 1998 and 1999.

The Tigers hope to build off their defense output last week, when they held South Carolina to 359 total yards. It is their fewest yards allowed against an FBS team since limiting Arkansas to 310 total yards in November 2015.

Although the Tigers’ offense could only muster 13 points against South Carolina, Purdue head coach Jeff Brohm noted that Missouri quarterback Drew Lock’s ability to distribute the ball successfully and his eight touchdowns in two games.

“It’ll be a test for our guys on defense,” he said earlier this week. “Anytime you face a good passer, your secondary is going to have to step up to the challenge. We’re going to have to find a way to get a good pass rush. We haven’t produced as many sacks as I would like, but our secondary is going to be tested this week.”

As for Odom, defense will be the name of this game. Saturday begins a new chapter.

“For me, I’m in a good spot,” he said. “I know I’ve got to do a better job coaching this team. We failed (last) Saturday night, but we also have to look at it that we’re 1-1 and have a lot of football to play.”