Barry Odom will close out a challenging first season as the Tigers' head coach with Friday's game against Arkansas. (Bill Greenblatt/UPI)

COLUMBIA – Coach Barry Odom knows exactly what he wants to see in Missouri’s season-finale on Friday against Arkansas.

Even though this has been a challenging season for Odom in his first year as a head coach, topped with having to suspend his top running back earlier this week, Odom has seen signs of progress – which is how he wants to conclude the season.

Kickoff is at 1:30 p.m. and the game will be televised by CBS.

On Monday, Odom suspended freshman running back Damarea Crockett for Friday’s game following his arrest on suspicion of possession of marijuana.

The arrest on Sunday came just hours after Crockett rushed for 225 yards in the Tigers’ loss at Tennessee, the most by a freshman in school history, and moved him past 1,000 yards for the season – also setting a school record.

Crockett will miss the chance to play against his home-state school, which declined to offer him a scholarship coming out of high school.

His absence will shift the bulk of the Tigers’ running game to junior Ish Witter, who also is coming off a career-high 163 rushing yards last week as Missouri gained 420 yards on the ground.

“I’m proud of what Ish has done this year,” Odom said. “He’s fought through some injuries. He runs with more energy, with a little more purpose than he has. He’s done a good job.”

Witter has averaged 4.7 yards a carry this year in rushing for 738 yards and six touchdowns.

Odom believes part of the credit for the success of both Crockett and Witter has to be attributed to the offensive line. The five starting lineman each played all 110 snaps on offense against Tennessee, which was a school record, as the Tigers’ put up 740 yards of offense.

The problems against the Volunteers came on defense, where a 28-point fourth quarter turned what had been a one-point game at the half into a 63-37 win for Tennessee. The loss dropped the Tigers to 3-8 on the season and 1-6 in the SEC.

“It was a little unique for me,” said Odom, a former defensive coordinator. “I haven’t been in a situation where I couldn’t get a stop. As a play-caller, I couldn’t come up with one there when I needed it in the second half. That’s hard to say out loud but it’s the truth.”

The Tigers also announced on Wednesday that defensive line coach Jackie Shipp was no longer part of the staff, but did not elaborate on the reasons for his dismissal.
Missouri will honor 16 seniors before Friday’s game.