The big rumor on Sunday is that Barry Odom, who currently holds the same job at Memphis, is going to replace Chris Ash as the Razorbacks' defensive coordinator.
It was widely reported late last week that Odom was sticking with the Tigers, but Razorback message boards and Twitter blew up Sunday morning with apparent "reports" Odom will in fact take the Arkansas job.
Folks familiar with the Twitter have indicated Odom recently followed Bret Bielema as well as some in the Arkansas media (BUT NOT ME WAITING FOR MY FOLLOW COACH ODOM @DOC_HARPER THANK YOU MUCH) which could be an indication that he's preparing for a move to Fayetteville. Yes, Twitter follows are the new flight tracker.
Then it started on Sunday morning:
Bret Bielema will hire Memphis Defensive Coordinator Barry Odom as Arkansas' Defensive Coordinator.— The Arkansas Logo (@Arkansas_Logo) January 19, 2014
If reports are true former #Mizzou LB and assistant coach Barry Odom will be the next Arkansas defensive coordinator— Gabe DeArmond (@GabeDeArmond) January 19, 2014
But the Memphis 24/7 writer isn't backing away from his original report:
I'm still maintaining that Barry Odom will be back at #Memphis next season.— Grant Milner (@GrantMilner) January 20, 2014
Hopefully we'll know the answer in the coming days.
He might not be a well known name to many Razorback fans but Odom's resume and accolades are quite impressive. He took over the defense in Memphis, widely regarded as one of the worst programs in college football at the time, before the 2012 season and has quickly made their defense respectable. The highlight of the Tigers' 2013 season was holding Sun Belt champion Arkansas State to just 7 points, tied for their lowest output of the year.
And Odom got little help from the Memphis' offense, which finished ranked in the 100s in several categories.
Frankly, at least in the short term, Arkansas needs someone who can take a defense without the best players and create a respectable unit out of it. We all know Arkansas doesn't have the best talent on that side of the ball, so getting someone who can turn in decent performances from it could be a nice boost for the Hogs instead of devolving back to "we just have to get better players" year after year. Of course, we all hope Arkansas gets better players in the future - and that's certainly the plan - but if we want to improve immediately from that 3-9 disaster, the team needs a coordinator who can do exactly what Odom did at Memphis.
This from the Memphis 24/7 site three days ago when it was believed Odom would return to the Tigers:
Odom was the highest paid assistant on the Tigers' staff in 2013.
In his first two years as defensive coordinator, Odom's unit improved drastically. In 2012, Memphis moved up 67 spots to 50th in the nation in total defense by allowing a mere 383.6 yards per game.
In 2013, the Tigers were ranked inside the top-25 nationally for a lot of the season before giving up 86 points in the final two games of the year to finish 40th overall.
Odom returning to Memphis is huge.
Huge. He's good RT @footballscoop: Heard some noise about Memphis DC Barry Odom being a hot target from other BCS programs. He’s staying— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) January 16, 2014
And Bill Connelly, SB Nation's college football Study Hall guru, wrote before last season that he became a Barry Odom homer during his time at Missouri, where Odom was a longtime coach, staff member and player. He was the safeties coach before leaving for the coordinator position at Memphis, and spent two years as Missouri's recruiting coordinator.
In theory at least, this seems like it would be a good fit.
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