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Barry Odom Matches Description of What OU Has Hired Previously

The usual names will be floated as candidates, but Arkansas' defensive coordinator fits the Sooners' historically successful profile

Arkansas might want to keep an eye on what's going on the past few days over in Oklahoma.

If you go by what's happened over the course of history, Razorbacks defensive coordinator Barry Odom fits the profile of what kicked the Sooners into a national powerhouse in 1947.

Then-president George Cross didn't raise any objections when Jim Tatum left Norman for Maryland after one season because he'd wanted to make the assistant coach the head coach anyway.

Bud Wilkinson, who had never been a head coach, got the job and won 82.6% of the games he coached over 17 years with OU.

In case you're wondering, that's not quite the 88% winning clip Nick Saban has going right now at Alabama since 2007, but Wilkinson did have two 40+-game winning streaks. 

Odom is a native of Oklahoma, from Maysville, which is a short drive south of Norman. He's also the defensive coordinator for the Razorbacks.

Sam Pittman-Barry Odom

Sam Pittman with Barry Odom (right) at Arkansas' spring football game in April.

OU hired Jim Mackenzie off Frank Broyles' undefeated national championship team to straighten up the mess Gomer Jones had let things slide into after Wilkinson retired to go into politics (but he couldn't get elected).

Mackenzie took Barry Switzer and changed the Sooners' uniforms to what the Razorbacks had then and got the program back on track in his one season before passing away from a heart attack.

Unless Oklahoma has a dramatic break with the past forget about the usual big names. That's never worked out well for the Sooners. Howard Schnellenberger was the only one and that barely lasted a season.

After Arkansas' 34-17 season-ending win over Missouri last Friday, Hogs coach Sam Pittman praised Odom and had seniors Grant Morgan and Joe Foucha award him a game ball.

It was an emotional birthday and presentation for the defensive coordinator that has been a key player in the Hogs' turnaround from winning seven games over three seasons to an 8-4 record.

Pittman said several times how happy he was for Odom and beating Missouri. They had fired Odom at the end of the 2019 season and replaced him with a Gus Malzahn starter kit with a name like a menu item at a sandwich shop.

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All of that sounded a little interesting at the time.

"I don't really want to talk about the situation but I'm very, very happy for him," Pittman said later.

The assumption is he was not wanting to talk about Odom's departure from Missouri, but you have to wonder if word had already started leaking out.

We've heard now Sonny Dykes, who was at SMU before committing to TCU, had been approached by Oklahoma officials and kept his word to the Horned Frogs.

But now you have to wonder what talks have been and with whom ... and how long.

For whatever reason, Lincoln Riley wanted out of Norman and Oklahoma officials didn't seem too worried about it.

Something was wrong because the Sooners sorta fell on their face this year with a 10-2 record and a loss to Oklahoma State. That last part is often enough to cause sleepless nights for some fans.

But was there something else going on?

"There have been whispers around the program all season that the team and Riley seemed distracted or somehow disconnected," John Hoover wrote at AllSooners.com after Sunday's drama.

More and more this sounds like a lot of disjointed things flying all over the place and it may just be plucking random things out of the air, adding some guesses and coming up with a wild theory.

But then again, would you really want to guarantee anything with all that's going on the last few days in college football?


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