A good under the radar candidate to land the Texas football defensive coordinator vacancy could be former Mizzou head coach Barry Odom.
The Texas football program needs to pull out all the stops to nab a quality candidate to be their next defensive coordinator. While the offensive coordinator spot is going to be important, head Texas football coach Tom Herman and junior quarterback Sam Ehlinger will play the biggest roles in the success on that side of the ball.
A solid offensive coordinator selection for the Texas Longhorns football program will go a long way to helping Herman salvage a lot of his reputation that was downed during the 2019 regular season. But most Longhorns fans know that the control of the offense comes down to their head coach and starting quarterback.
The most crucial of the decisions that Herman and the Longhorns have ahead to fill coaching vacancies will be for defensive coordinator. Herman elected to part ways with former defensive coordinator Todd Orlando entirely post-Week 14. Although the Texas defense played pretty well in the Week 14 win over the Texas Tech Red Raiders, Orlando seemed to already be out the door.
Moreover, there isn’t really one defensive coordinator candidate that sticks out above the rest. While Texas seems to have their sights set on landing either LSU Tigers passing game coordinator Joe Brady or USC Trojans offensive coordinator Graham Harrell to fill their vacancy on that side of the ball, nothing has real traction for the defensive coordinator position.
According to a Horns247 defensive coordinator big board, Texas could go after a plethora of former FBS head coaches who were let go at the conclusion of college football’s 2019 regular season. That big board includes the likes of former Rutgers Scarlet Knights head coach Chris Ash and former Mizzou Tigers head coach Barry Odom, to possibly be the next Texas defensive coordinator.
Other popular candidates that could emerge include Utah Utes defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley and Wisconsin Badgers defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard. Both Scalley and Leonhard sit in the midst of the 15 Broyles Award Semifinalists this year.
Yet, out of those four aforementioned names that could be candidates to land the Longhorns defensive coordinator job, there’s one that does stick out in terms of overall significance. Odom found himself in a bad situation with Mizzou this season with all the sanctions that hit a lot of their athletic programs.
Mizzou isn’t postseason eligible this season, and they had quite the collapse down the stretch in SEC play. The Tigers didn’t get the type of performances they were expecting out of former Clemson Tigers quarterback Kelly Bryant after a nice start through five games.
A 6-6 (3-5 SEC) finish to the regular season wasn’t enough to save Odom’s job, despite the tough circumstances he found his program in this year. He could be a solid Group of Five head coaching candidate, or land a big time Power Five job as a defensive coordinator.
Odom was Mizzou’s defensive coordinator before former head coach Gary Pinkel retired and left him with the duties to head up the program. Mizzou kept solid defenses throughout Odom’s tenure as head coach, and they even finished at No. 20 among FBS programs in points allowed per game this season (19.4).
The idea of landing a former head coach to be the next Texas defensive coordinator is an interesting one. Ash and Odom would be two of the safer hires to replace Orlando, and the high floor they could bring to the table in terms of defensive stability could appeal to Herman.