Just days after coach Barry Odom hired Josh Huepel as the Missouri Tigers’ new offensive coordinator, he now has someone to run the defense.
According to a press release from Missouri, which was reported by John Taylor of NBC Sports’ College Football Talk, the university has hired TCU co-defensive coordinator DeMontie Cross to be the Tigers’ sole defensive coordinator next season. Odom further elaborated on the hire.
“DeMontie is an outstanding addition to our staff,” said Odom. “He’s really established himself as one of the top defensive minds in college football, and he’s had success at every stop he’s been at over the years. I’ve witnessed him on the road recruiting, he’s relentless and has done a great job of establishing meaningful relationships in a number of geographic areas. I know he’ll be a great mentor and leader who will relate well with our guys. I expect DeMontie to bring some great ideas and concepts defensively to us that will build on what we’ve been able to do this past year. Obviously he has great enthusiasm, excitement and passion for Mizzou, and we’re proud to have him back here.”
This is also something of a homecoming for Cross, who played at Missouri and also served as the Tigers’ outside linebackers coach for two seasons under coach Larry Smith upon his graduation.Cross also has served at Sam Houston State, Iowa State, TCU and with the NFL’s Buffalo Bills. Now, he gets to come home to Columbia and work under a former teammate in Odom.
Cross himself also commented on his new position.
“I’m so excited to have this opportunity to work with Coach Odom and contribute to a place that has given me so much,” said Cross. “Mizzou is in my blood, it’s the place that made me the man and the coach that I am today. It’s also a dream come true for me to work alongside a guy I’ve known for so long. Coach Odom and I have had a strong bond on and off the field, and I’m excited to come in and support him and his vision in every aspect imaginable. I’m honored he’s put his trust in me this way. Mizzou has already established a good reputation on defense, so all I’m looking to do is come in and put my own twist to it and try to make it even better. My players will know that a sense of urgency, attention to detail, and playing with enthusiasm and energy are the things that are most important to me. I think people enjoy watching a defense that plays that way.”
Needless to say, though there should be something of a transitionary period under Odom after 15 seasons of Gary Pinkel running the program, Odom is clearly hiring people he trusts to help steer the ship smoothly and make for the easiest changeover possible. So long as the players respond well to the new staff, Mizzou should be making noise in the SEC again in no time.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports