Notebook: Odom content with team’s performance after fall camp
The fourth-year coach was pleased with his quarterback and the line play as camp wrapped up.
Aug. 24, 2019
After his team jogged off Faurot Field following its final preseason fall practice, Missouri coach Barry Odom felt there were plenty of reasons for optimism, but none to ease off the gas as the team’s season opener against Wyoming rapidly approaches.
“Now the focus [is] on getting to mentally prepare this week the way we need to,” Odom said. “And get guys that haven’t played in position that we feel like can help us to keep pushing them along, and then see how they react when the lights come on.”
Odom was also pleased with the progress of graduate transfer quarterback Kelly Bryant. Bryant commented earlier in camp on his gain in trust and chemistry with his receiving corps, while Odom noted the signal-caller’s holistic improvement throughout the nearly three week camp.
“He got better every day,” Odom said. “I was impressed again with some of the things I saw during the spring. He works, and he likes ball and he likes to practice. [There are] a number of guys we’re excited to see in the first action, and he’d be one of them.”
Okwuegbunam back on the field
After spending much of the previous week wearing a red injury jersey, redshirt junior tight end Albert Okwuegbunam was back on the field to finish camp with no restrictions. Okwuegbunam caught 43 passes for 466 yards and six touchdowns in 2018 despite missing the last four games of the season. He figures to be a major cog in the Tiger offense again this year.
“I have a different feeling about our offense when all the pieces are there on the field together,” fellow tight end Daniel Parker Jr. said. “It’s just everything comes together at one time.”
Parker also raved about his teammate’s unique combination of size and speed, one that allows him to muscle smaller defensive backs on jump balls, but also be too quick for linebackers to consistently guard in space.
“He’s 6 [feet], 5 [inches], 260 [pounds] and probably runs a four-five [40 yard dash],” Parker said. “There’s not a lot of people in America who can do that, so it’s pretty easy for him… On top of that, he has great routes, so I feel bad for corners, just having to guard him man-to-man.”
Newcomers on offensive line make case for playing time
In his final full season for Clemson, Bryant rushed for 665 yards. His scrambling style is not something freshman offensive lineman Thalen Robinson is accustomed to.
“I played with a quarterback in high school that was like 6-[foot]-7 and [a] completely different type of quarterback than [Bryant], so it’s a little bit of an adjustment, but nothing character-wise,” Robinson said.
Despite the adjustment, Robinson is one of several members of the O-line Odom mentioned who performed well during camp. Redshirt sophomores Larry Borom and Hyrin White have both seen action with the first team over the last three weeks.
“Both have had moments that have done really good things, but also until we get into the season and the consistency of doing it, they have a lot to learn when the lights are on, but they’ve done a nice job,” Odom said. “They’re both athletic and understand the scheme with what we’re trying to get done.”
Having ended preseason camp, the Tigers now begin a week of preparation before their season opener at Wyoming on Aug. 31.
Edited by Emily Leiker | email@example.com