Missouri’s defensive slide has resulted in the firing of defensive coordinator DeMontie Cross after just 14 games as the team’s top defensive assistant.
Mizzou announced Cross’ firing Sunday afternoon, a day after the Tigers lost 31-13 to South Carolina. Missouri beat Missouri State in Week 1, but not before the Mizzou defense was shredded by its FCS opponent.
Cross joined Mizzou as the team’s defensive coordinator after Barry Odom became the team’s head coach before the 2016 season. Odom was Mizzou’s defensive coordinator in 2015 after coordinating Memphis’ defense.
The Missouri defense was one of the best in the country two years ago. The Tigers allowed just over 300 yards per game and gave up 16 points per game, the fifth-best mark in the country.
But after Odom was promoted following Gary Pinkel’s retirement the defense has been abysmal. Mizzou allowed 31.5 points a game in 2016, including 63 to Tennessee. The Tigers were 4-8 last season and missed a bowl game for the second-straight season.
Cross came to his alma mater after serving as an assistant at TCU. He was relieved of his play-calling duties during 2016 as Odom took over calling the defensive alignments. That arrangement stayed the same in 2017, meaning Cross is far from being entirely at fault for Missouri’s defensive collapse.
The Tigers play Purdue in Week 3. The Boilermakers have looked good on offense with quarterback David Blough on the field. We’ll see if the personnel change will fix Missouri’s defensive woes.
Mizzou wasn’t the only team that made a defensive coordinator change on Sunday either. East Carolina announced coordinator Kenwick Thompson had been “reassigned” and would no longer serve as a coach.
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