Missouri football axes defensive coordinator DeMontie Cross

Head coach Barry Odom took over Cross’ play-calling duties on defense last season after defensive struggles.

Maneater File Photo

Missouri football announced the firing of defensive coordinator DeMontie Cross on Sunday evening, ending a disappointing tenure for the coach who lasted less than three years with the program.

Cross was hired by head coach Barry Odom to be the team’s defensive coordinator when Odom took over as head coach in 2015. But Cross failed to get production out of his defense, which has historically been the strong suit of Missouri football teams. As a result, Odom took over Cross’ play-calling duties in 2016 and scrapped some schematic changes Cross had orchestrated.

Odom said in a statement that he was proud of Cross’ contributions to the program but that it was time to make a change.

“I am very appreciative of all that DeMontie has done for Mizzou, and am sorry that this did not work out; however, after careful evaluation, I believe it is important to make this change now,” Odom said in the statement.

Through two games in 2017, Missouri has allowed a Southeastern Conference-high 37 points per game. Against South Carolina on Saturday, the Tigers did not force a turnover and sacked the quarterback just once.

Cross also coached inside linebackers. It remains to be seen whether or not Missouri will hire another defensive coordinator from outside of the program, promote from within the coaching staff or keep Odom in charge of the defense for the remainder of the season.

Edited by Eli Lederman | elederman@themaneater.com

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