What I Think Makes This Defense

Of course, there is a lot and it all goes together (part of what I am getting at I guess). I read and listened to the comments of the players. It seems they trust and like each other. Each seems to believe in their team mates, and that they just have to do their job and their buddy will do his. That goes all the way down the depth chart as we have seen.

Certainly, this comes from the coaches teaching and believing in these guys. If my coach and my team mates believe I can play defense in the SEC, then I can.

They have been amazing in a lot of ways. In reality, they for the most part are not individually good enough for the SEC; **HOWEVER; as a group, they are proving to be a nice SEC defense. That is excellent coaching.


From listening and reading the various players and coaches quotes, several thoughts come to mind:

  1. Superlative job of quickly breaking down the opponent’s offensive tendencies and keys.
  2. Devising a great game plan and making it easy for the players to quickly recognize the keys and play fast.
  3. DC Barry Odom’s SEC experience. He knows the SEC coaches and players tendencies and weaknesses.
  4. Establishing the blueprint for others to emulate on how to throttle down the previously explosive offenses. MSU has yet to recover and Auburn got soundly beat after playing the Hogs. I expect OM to suffer the same fate.
  5. Defensive staff has done a truly magnificent job of coaching up the players. Physically, emotionally and mentally. Walk-ons are playing like four stars and scholarship players are playing like five stars.
  6. Defensive line is controlling the LOS playing mostly with only three down linemen allowing the LBs to make tackles and the back end to make interceptions. The DL are doing a superb job of protecting the LBs from the OL.


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More talented than people are giving them credit. Last year you could replay plays and see guys who pulled up to not hit the other teams when they had the ball. Sam is right we are getting hurt because we need to and will get stronger and bigger. But they will blast you over and over. You can see the difference when we hit their stud WR early that matters. If you played the game you know that makes an impact. Heart desire and absolute wanting to bring the wood is the big difference this year. IMO people who talk about lack of talent are basing that off the worst DC I have ever seen coaching them. Morris also. Catalon is way underrated! He’s like a coach on the field. Morgan and Clark were awesome but Catalon is doing the same.


While I agree that SEC experience is important, the best two performances by Odom’s defense have come against two of the new coaches in the conference. Of course, both have a long history and their tendencies have been apparent.

I figure the odds of us keeping Odom are small, but we ought to sign him to a long term contract with as much money as possible. I know that wouldn’t keep him from leaving to be a head coach, but might keep us from losing him to another team as DC.

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Just make sure Odom is one of the highest paid DC’s in college football.


I agree. Make sure Odom only leaves for a head coaching gig. And he will leave for a head coaching gig. But maybe we keep him one more season? Of course, the better our defense plays…the more opportunities will come his way.

That’s just the way it goes with great assistants. It’s the Broyles formula actually.

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I sure hope we can keep Coach Odom for another year.
If he has a strong desire to again be a head coach, then we will be lucky
to keep him another year. If he loves Fayetteville and working with the other
high caliber coaches on our defense, maybe we keep him longer. It appears
there is a real friendship between him and CSP.

Catalon is not under rated. He was one of the best players in Texas for 2-3 years. He was offered by the entire Big 12 as a sophomore. He was a 4 star. Highly regarded. He was still getting over knee injury last year but I think most expected him to be a great player. I sure did. I’ve written 3-4 times about him, including on signing day.

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Catalon is not a big safety, but he is a ball hawk. He has great instincts and will hit you even though he probably doesn’t weigh 200 lbs. He doesn’t look real fast either, but he is a player.

I posted this earlier a week or so ago. Chad Morris said he was one of the 5 best prospects he ever recruited. He is playing like an all-SEC safety, in my view.

This defense is playing great as a group. I cannot really believe how well they are playing. I am impressed with how much pressure we put on the quarterback rushing only 3.

Pittman and Odom seem to have very strong chemistry together. Odom’s “dream job” would likely have been his alma mater. Except they just fired him as HC. So, I don’t look for Odom to leave for just anywhere. His relationship with Pittman will be a factor, I think.

What both seem to believe in (and helps make them a good fit) - fundamentals lead to technique which leads to strategy which leads to execution. Odom knows how to connect the different position rooms together without a hitch. That has to be a challenge to begin with, let alone via Zoom videos. The players know how to tackle, how to read the offense pre-snap, and how to orient their eyes and hips to the play. I don’t recall a single snap this season where I felt we were scrambling to get into position, pre-snap. I don’t recall a single snap where a player arrived late to their spot because they were set up wrong.

I had the misfortunate of my usual lower bowl seats being reassigned to the upper deck. But, I moved from a lower yard line to near the 50! And, it allowed me to see the DB positioning. After the opening two drives, the DBs cheated inside the WRs at least one step, if not 2-3. It allowed for quicker crashes to the corner of the LOS for run support. Everything funnels to the LBs and nickel safety. They counted on the CBs being able to read the play to not let the WR catch the ball and turn outside/up the sideline. Obviously, Corral’s good arm is not good enough to go over the top or hit a seam (like the Mallet pass to Cobi to end the first half of the LSU game in LR that one glorious year).

Wasn’t saying you underrated Catalon. I’m saying he’s better than I have seen at safety in a loooong time at Arkansas. He’s in every picture where the ball is he’s a great safety. That early int where he broke on that ball was awesome. He is a natural safety who is the QB of the defense. If he stays healthy he’s an all SEC Safety IMO. Should have said he’s being over shadowed a little.

Morgan played an epic game just is what a Razorback has always stood for.

While I think we need to develop ways to ensure Coach Odom knows his value to the team, we have thrown money at other coaches and it did not always work out. I think some contract with both an attractive salary level with nice incentives to satisfy the contract terms would be a smart option, because there will always be the LSUs, A&Ms and so on who are drunk with money and willing to go nuts, Look at both with Chavis and we even got our piece of that.

Odom is making $1.3 million now, plus he got a $2.4 million buyout when Misery let him go. So he has plenty of cash and can afford to be choosy. But I’m sure he wants to be a head coach again.

I’m by no means saying he’s not head coach material, but some guys are not cut out for the job. He was obviously a better head coach than we’ve been sending away with a ton of cash lately. Hope to see him on the Razorbacks sideline for years to come and hope the powers to be figured out away to make it happen as he has earned every penny he’s getting and more in his short time in Fayetteville. WPS

There were times in the game that the wind was at 40. Horrible for a passer. It was always at least 25. There were some passes you better not try. But Corral liked them all. Franks did a better job of staying away from some throws you could not make in that wind. If you were not there, hard to understand my point.

Aloha Clay,

Thanks for the insight. Viewing a game on TV is nice but has its drawbacks. Another appreciated insight you gave about the OM game was when Coach Briles dropped to his knees when Boyd dropped the screen pass.


Alabama kept Kirby Smart for what 5 years before he moved on? So it can happen. GHG! And I’ve heard more than a few times by Odom himself and Pittman himself that they’re both good friends. Now would be a good time to SHOW each other how deep that friendship is.Odom knows how much the Razorback fans love and need him to stay with this coaching staff.

Catalon has been a Big time player since his days in Texas HS Football! He is doing exactly what coaches and players thought he would be doing! His senior year in HS in a playoff game he played every skill position on the field and could not be stopped…

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