Republished from the Jefferson City News Tribune
Missouri’s offensive line will see plenty of turnover next season, as five of its key contributors will be lost to graduation. Plus, for the second time in three seasons, there will be a new offensive line coach.
Glen Elarbee will be Barry Odom’s first offensive line coach at Missouri, the athletics department announced Monday. Elarbee had spent the past two seasons as Arkansas State’s offensive line coach and co-offensive coordinator.
“I’ve had a chance to coach against Glen in three of the last four seasons, and after every game we played I came away with a lot of respect for how his group played,” said Odom, who was hired as Gary Pinkel’s successor in November. “He’s been around a lot of very successful offenses that, from my first-hand experience, play with great toughness and attention to detail.
“Glen also has strong recruiting relationships in areas that are important to us. He grew up in Georgia and has recruited there and in the southeast region heavily, as well as in Texas, and that will bring value to our staff.”
Elarbee replaces A.J. Ricker, a former Missouri lineman who spent the past two seasons coaching Missouri’s offensive line.
Before coaching at Arkansas State, Elarbee coached Houston’s offensive line in 2013, when current Missouri director of athletics Mack Rhoades was the director of athletics at Houston. Elarbee was the offensive line coach in 2012 at Middle Tennesee and from 2010-11 at West Georgia, where he was also the offensive coordinator in 2011.
Elarbee faced Missouri with Arkansas State in 2015, losing 27-20 at home. With Houston in 2013, he faced Memphis, where Odom was a defensive coordinator, and the Cougars won 25-15. A year earlier, Elarbee faced Odom’s Tigers while he was still at Middle Tennessee, beating Memphis 48-30.
“I’m really grateful for this opportunity,” Elarbee said. “I’ve seen Mizzou firsthand several times at various stops and have always been impressed with the support they have and the environment their fans create.
“Obviously, I had a chance to go up against coach Odom several times recently, and I have the utmost respect for what he’s done defensively. I thought each time he was always one of the biggest challenges we faced schematically. Personally, I’ve gotten to know him on the road recruiting and am really impressed with the kind of person he is. Having a chance to work with a guy like him is a no-brainer, and I’m excited to get up there and get to work with this staff.”
The Red Wolves went 9-4 in 2015, winning eight straight games before falling to Louisiana Tech in the New Orleans Bowl. Arkansas State averaged 40 points per game, 12th-best in the country, and 438.5 yards per game, 37th nationally.
Elarbee’s offense allowed 1.92 sacks per game in 2015 (57th in the nation) and 6.69 tackles for loss (90th).
Elarbee was an offensive graduate assistant at Oklahoma State in 2008-09, at LSU in 2007 and at Middle Tennessee, his alma mater, from 2003-04. He was an offensive line coach and recruiting coordinator at East Central Community College in 2006 and coached tight ends at Middle Tennessee in 2005.
In three games against Odom’s defenses, Elarbee’s offenses gained 217, 247 and 439 yards.
In college, Elarbee played in 35 games as an offensive lineman at Middle Tennessee. He started his final 23 games, earning all-Sun Belt Conference honors as a junior and senior.
In Ricker’s two seasons at Missouri, the Tigers averaged 327.27 yards per game on offense — including an average of 280.9 yards per game in 2015 that was fourth-worst in the country.
The Tigers’ offense was expected to lean on its offensive line last season with the Tigers coming into the season with questionable experience at receiver and limited depth at tailback. But the senior-laden group struggled, especially early in the year. Missouri allowed 2.5 sacks per game last season, tied for 93rd in the nation and third-worst in the Southeastern Conference. The Tigers’ were 114th nationally with 7.33 tackles for loss allowed per game.
Some of the struggles could be chalked up to a lack of a true left tackle and some could have been a result of center Evan Boehm spraining his ankle on the first drive of the season. Either way, with Pinkel’s departure leading to heavy staff turnover, Ricker’s future at Missouri was uncertain to say the least.
Ricker had been an offensive line coach at Illinois before coming to Missouri, and he took over that position once again in December. Before Ricker’s hiring at Missouri, former Tigers offensive coordinator Josh Henson served as Missouri’s co-offensive line coach alongside Bruce Walker, who retired in 2014.
Missouri defensive linemen Terry Beckner Jr. and Walter Brady earned Freshman All-America honors from the Football Writers Association of America on Monday.
Beckner was one of 19 true freshmen honored, and Brady was one of the 10 redshirt freshmen to make the list. They previously were named Freshman All-Americans by Sporting News and USA Today.
Beckner, one of eight true freshmen to play for Missouri last season, had three sacks, 27 tackles — 13 solo — and eight tackles for loss before suffering season-ending injuries against BYU on Nov. 14.
Brady had seven sacks to tie Charles Harris for the team high and lead all freshmen nationally. He also had 12.5 tackles for loss — best among SEC freshmen — to go with seven quarterback hurries, an interception and a fumble recovery.
Alabama, Clemson and Texas were the only other schools with multiple honorees.