When offensive coordinator Josh Heupel left Missouri to become the head coach at University of Central Florida, coach Barry Odom went to consult quarterback Drew Lock.
And why not?
Lock, one of the top signal-callers in the SEC, seems destined to be a first-round pick in next year’s NFL Draft. He has the gaudy stats, the prototypical stature and the charisma to shine at the next level. And in the present he is vitally important to Missouri’s season.
“Obviously I wasn’t the one who decided who was getting the job,” Lock said Wednesday at SEC Media Days at the College Football Hall of Fame, “but I was very appreciative of coach Odom letting me in on some of the conversations as well.”
The brain trust settled on Derek Dooley, the former head coach at Tennessee and most recently wide receivers coach for the Dallas Cowboys.
That NFL experience, Lock said, is a tremendous added bonus for his development on and off the field.
“I wanted to be able to speak to NFL teams on a higher level than I thought I’d be able to speak to them at the time,” Lock said. “And I think, ‘What better to be able to do that than a guy that sat in on those meetings and had decisions and helped decide who they thought they should draft in coach Dooley.
“That was huge in me coming back (to college).”
With Missouri’s offense there’s a degree of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” After all, the Tigers finished eight nationally in total offense. But Lock and Odom agree that Dooley brings a new element — and an exciting one — to a team aiming to compete in the SEC East.
“When we hired Derek, I wanted to make sure that we're able to maintain some of the things we've done with success the last couple of years,” Odom said, “but also as head coach there were things I wanted to move to offensively that gave us a chance in either third downs or red zone or second and short, the different situations you get in football on some different ways to play.”
Between his pedigree in college and experience in the professional game, both Odom and Lock agree Dooley was a slam-dunk hire.
“Derek really hit every check mark for me on what I wanted in that position,” Odom said.
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