By Kavin Mistry
The Oregon State to San Jose State pipeline has officially opened as new head coach Brent Brennan has named his defensive coordinator this week.
Derrick Odum, who has coached the past two seasons as the defensive backs coach for the Beavers has a good relationship with Brennan, which they developed at Oregon State.
“I’m extremely excited to have coach Odum join the Spartans,” Brennan said in a statement this week. “Working with him at Oregon State the last two years, I’ve seen his incredible ability to relate to his players. His players loved him and they played their hearts out for him.”
With the same expectations as former defensive coordinator Ron English a season ago, Odum will be expected to be a difference maker for SJSU defense that has struggled in recent years.
He has been handed a defense that was abysmal against the run and had trouble getting out of its own way constantly this season, putting the offense behind early.
However, Odum will inherit an experienced secondary core led by Andre Chachere and Maurice McKnight on the back end. His main focus should be improving the run defense.
“He is an expert secondary (defensive backs) coach,” Brennan said. “He brings a lot of knowledge about the kind of defensive football we want to play and the kind of effort and energy we want to bring to the coaching staff.”
The theme through this hiring process has been finding energy. SJSU athletic director Gene Bleymaier said, after hiring Brennan, the university is looking for guys to inject a high level of energy into the program.
“This is a career goal of mine going way back,” Odum said in a statement this week. “Coach Brennan’s given me the opportunity to achieve this goal. I’m real excited to be a part of San Jose and get us moving in the right direction.”
Odum brings an extensive resume to SJSU, having coached for nine teams over 21 total seasons. He has coached at Utah State, Montana, Utah, Houston, SMU and Oregon State.
A graduate from the University of Utah in 1993, Odum played both football and baseball in his time as Ute, then began his coaching career in 1996.
“We’re going to see what our personnel can do, who we have on the scene, and evaluate everyone we have in the program,” Odum said. “We’ll be real multiple with a lot pressures, mixing and matching. It will depend on whom we are playing and their style of offense as well.”
Odum will be tasked with turning around a defense that gave up 34.7 points, 246.7 yards rushing and 188.6 pass yards per game this season.
“Our front has to be real solid in the run game,” Odum said. “We have to shore that up before any of that other stuff happens. I’m looking forward to the challenge. It’s going to be a lot of fun for our guys.”