Brad Nessler gave big praise to two SEC coaches who produced quality finishes despite difficult circumstances.
Recently, the SEC on CBS analyst spoke to SEC Country about his time calling the conference’s biggest games this season. He was asked about the coaching jobs that impressed him the most, and he named Missouri’s Barry Odom and Ole Miss’ Matt Luke as two that stood out in a major way.
“I thought Barry Odom keeping it together in the last month and a half there – I thought that thing was a Titanic going down,” Nessler said. “So the job he did, and when he said, ‘We’re going here.’ … Whatever it was, it worked.
“That and probably Ole Miss, what Matt did. He put it together when it really wasn’t going well. And you know from the sanctions standpoint, I think that was a really smart move on their part. Not only do the players love him, he’s an Ole Miss guy. … He already has pretty good coaches around him, and just the fact that he loves that place so much, and he’s willing to deal with whatever hammer is going to come down on him, I think that was a good deal.”
At first glance, those might seem like surprising choices. After all, Georgia’s Kirby Smart and Auburn’s Gus Malzahn have led their respective teams to the SEC Championship Game on Saturday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. The winner advances to the College Football Playoff.
But Nessler makes some sense with his selections of Odom and Luke. Odom led the Tigers to six consecutive victories after a miserable 1-5 start. And Luke guided the Rebels to a 6-6 finish, with three victories in their last four games to close. That run included a 31-28 victory against rival Mississippi State on Nov. 23 in Starkville.
Both coaches showed skill to navigate through hard situations.
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