Mizzou fires defensive line coach Jethro Franklin after blowout loss to Tennessee

Chris Kwiecinski Eric Blum
Columbia Daily Tribune
Missouri defensive line coach Jethro Franklin talks to players during a game at Kentucky on Sept. 11.

A day after its historically bad defensive performance against Tennessee, Missouri football made a change to its coaching staff.

Missouri has fired defensive line coach Jethro Franklin, sources confirmed to the Tribune on Sunday afternoon.

Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz announced Sunday that defensive analyst Al Davis will coach the defensive line for the rest of the season.

"After careful review, I believe a change in direction at the defensive line coach was needed," Drinkwitz said in a statement Sunday. "Jethro is a professional and man of high character, and we wish him all the best moving forward."

Franklin was hired when defensive coordinator Steve Wilks arrived at MU in January. Franklin's time in Columbia is over after just eight months and five games.

Missouri gave up 677 yards of total offense Saturday. That number was just 73 yards shy of the program's all-time worst, which came against Oklahoma in 1986.

More:Blum: Immediate change should be on the horizon for Mizzou football's defense

The Tigers fell to 2-3 after their 62-24 loss to Tennessee.

Franklin replaced Brick Haley, who coached the Tigers' defensive line from 2017-20. Franklin came to Columbia with three decades of experience coaching defensive fronts.

Franklin has 16 years of experience coaching college football and 13 in the NFL, including recent stops with the Raiders from 2015-17 and Seahawks from 2018-19.

“Jethro Franklin will be a valuable addition to our football program,” Drinkwitz said in a statement announcing Franklin's hiring in January. “His expertise at both the NFL and collegiate levels will be invaluable on the recruiting trail and in the development of our defensive line.”

At the college level, Franklin coached defensive lines at USC, UCLA, Temple and Fresno State.

Missouri players previously lauded Franklin's ability to push the defensive linemen when it came to the technical aspects in the trenches.

"He pushes us to get better every day," defensive lineman Akial Byers said in July. "He teaches us something new every day."

Through five games, Missouri's defense allowed 78 rushing first downs, 1,654 rushing yards and 306.8 rushing yards per game. Tennessee running back Tiyon Evans rushed for over 100 yards and three touchdowns in the first quarter alone of Saturday's game.

Davis takes after being hired earlier this year as a defensive analyst. He coached the defensive line at Iliinois in 2020, and was the defensive line coach at Hutchinson Community cCollege from 2018-2020. 

Missouri is scheduled to host North Texas for homecoming next Saturday.

Chris Kwiecinski is the sports editor for the Columbia Daily Tribune, and Eric is the Mizzou athletics beat reporter. Follow Eric on Twitter @ByEricBlum and contact him at sports@columbiatribune.com.