The firing of coaches is not a common practice during the football season, but what catches fans off guard is when a school decides to part ways with a coach only two weeks into the season. Missouri decided to fire defensive coordinator DeMontie Cross after falling to the South Carolina Gamecocks 31-13 last Saturday.
Cross was hired to take over the defensive coordinator spot after Barry Odom was hired as head coach. One would think things would work out well for the Tigers, but that has simply not been the case on the defensive side of the ball. The Tigers finished last in total defense in the SEC last season, giving up an average of 479.7 yards per game and last in scoring defense at 37 points per game. With those numbers from last season and the loss to South Carolina over the weekend, the reasons for the dismissal are becoming clearer.
In a statement Missouri head coach Barry Odom released on Monday he stated, “I am very appreciative of all that DeMontie has done for Mizzou, and am sorry that it did not work out.” Missouri and Barry Odom each are looking to fix problems on the defensive side of the ball, so they felt a change was needed immediately. The Missouri fan base will find out this Saturday if a change in defensive coordinators will lead to an improved defense. Missouri will get a good test this weekend against Purdue, who gave Louisville all they could handle to kick off the season two weeks ago.
A move like the one Missouri made could lead to an improved defense or this could be a season Missouri will need to win shootouts. The problem Missouri will run into is when they square off against a team with a defense that can stop the Tigers’ offense. Whether the defense gets worse or not, things should get interesting in Columbia.