Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Offseason spotlight: Missouri
By Chris Low
It was the year of the quarterback this past season in the SEC, and that will be a position to watch this offseason in Columbia, Mo.
Spotlight: Quarterback Maty Mauk, 6-0, 200 pounds, rising redshirt sophomore
2013 summary: Mauk played in 13 games and started four while filling in for the injured James Franklin. He completed 51.1 percent of his passes while throwing for 1,071 yards, 11 touchdowns and two interceptions. He also rushed for 229 yards and a touchdown.
The skinny: Mauk was forced into a tough situation last season when Franklin separated his shoulder, and he delivered for the Tigers. He finished the win on the road at Georgia and then started the next four games against Florida, South Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky. The only loss in that stretch was to South Carolina in double overtime, and while it's true Mauk didn't play particularly well in that game, he kept Missouri front and center in the Eastern Division race until Franklin was healthy enough to return. Mauk also made important contributions off the bench in wins over Ole Miss and then Oklahoma State in the bowl game. He's extremely mobile, capable of extending the play and plenty tough. Where he needs to take the next step is with his accuracy and just the overall management of the offense, which makes this spring and offseason doubly important for him. The fact he has been in pressure situations is a huge advantage for his confidence as well as his teammates' confidence in him. Now, he needs to take on even more of a leadership role and make this his offense, especially with Franklin and so many of his top playmakers (Henry Josey, L'Damian Washington and Marcus Lucas) departing. Mauk has a big arm and can make all of the throws. His challenge will center more around deciding when to take a shot and when not to. There's not much debate that he has all the tools to be a top quarterback in this league, but he still needs to prove he can get it done over the course of an entire season. It's his job to lose, but he's not going to just be handed the job. Junior Corbin Berkstresser returns after playing some in 2012 in relief of Franklin, and redshirt freshman Eddie Printz is also somebody to watch.